Restlessness seems like a contemporary phenomenon but it's been the object of philosophical speculation for centuries. Restlessness seems to affect students the most. Students are full of activity yet devoid of purpose.
The problem is that we don't know how to choose. We don't know how to distinguish among the choices that are presented to us.
Restlessness is also worsened due to external forces like politics. In a capitalist society, everyone wants a little bit of our attention. But in the end, we're not left with much attention for ourselves. This makes us more restless.
French philosophy on restlessness being with Michelle De Montaigne. He wrote 3 volumes of semi-autobiographical essays. He's an acute observer of the human soul. He writes about all the particular details of his life. This capacity for close psychological self-study formed a generation of French readers. All the authors that followed Montaigne had the ability to creep inside your head and see things you didn't know were there.
Montaigne's idea is to enjoy all the good things of life without taking any of them seriously. He gardens but he doesn't care if it's imperfect. He has a family but doesn't expect too much from them. This allows us to be a little bit more sane and happier.
Montaigne argues that imagination distinguishes us from other living beings. But the human imagination constantly leads us astray and is a thing we should be wary of. Humans tend to imagine more exalted forms of life that are not capable for us to achieve. This makes us miserable because we forget about living the life that we actually have.
Pascal wants us to see that we are both greater and more miserable than what Montaigne observed. Pascal would agree with Socrates who believed that human beings are always wanting more and reaching beyond themselves and cannot constraint this desire. What we can do is direct it.
Pascal argued that we're always distracted because of our aimlessness. Our need to constantly amuse ourselves shows that even in our enjoyment we are not really content.
In contemporary life, this is why we always complain about distractions like our phones but are never able to put them down.
“All of men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”
Alexis de Tocqueville realizes that there are markers of immanent success and happiness in Western society and the pressure to seek it is all around us. There's a rat race for stuff and status. This makes us quite unhappy. Our desires for pleasure becomes like a command. And when our pursuits and hobbies that are supposed to make us happy by our society's standards don't lead to happiness it makes us puzzled and embarrassed of our emptiness.
This pursuit of happiness affects us both in our personal lives and our social and political lives.
Pascal thinks that human beings are naturally unhappy. He suggests that unhappiness is the norm. This aspect of pascal's thought could be liberating. A lot of young people are unhappy and they feel like unhappiness is a failure of normalcy. This is really constricting for their lives.
Modern restlessness is the restlessness of the soul which is constantly trying and failing to make itself happy immanently. This is where liberal education should play a role. Colleges and universities need to do a better job at teaching students how to think about their purpose.
More like this
How to use social media, according to a mental health expert
6 ways to protect your mental health from social media's dangers
Social Media and Mental Health - HelpGuide.org
Explore the World’s
Take Your Ideas
Just press play and we take care of the words.
No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.
2 Million Stashers
Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.
Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.
This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!
Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.
I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!
Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.
Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.
Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.
Read & Learn
Access to 200,000+ ideas
Access to the mobile app
Unlimited idea saving & library
Unlimited listening to ideas
Downloading & offline access
Supercharge your mind with one idea per day
Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.
I agree to receive email updates