The Modesty Manifesto: David Brooks Goes to Aspen

Please forgive the David Brooks idol worship, but this is just too good to pass […]

Todd Brewer / 8.17.11

Please forgive the David Brooks idol worship, but this is just too good to pass up. Here are a few quotes from his highly entertaining and informative talk at the “Aspen Ideas Festival”. Broadly speaking, Brooks advocates a return to an “Augustinian Worldview” and its view of the self which stresses doing nothing, low self-esteem and humility. The full video is below. If you want a typed-out transcript, click here.

We’re really not aware of most of what we do…the human mind can take in 12 million pieces of information of which it can be consciously aware of 40. And so a lot of the stuff that we’re doing, we’re not in charge of, it’s happening.

via digioreo @flickr

…We do not have one self. Each of us has multiple selves. Inside the brain, there are dozens of different systems competing for primacy at any given time. There is the fat-loving self and the dieting self; the angry self, the happy self; the short-term self, the long-term self. We have many different personalities.

…Ayn Rand was wrong; we are not masters of our own ship, captains masterfully steering our boat through life. We have control, but it’s bounded. We have abilities, but we’re really not responsible for them. We’re deeply interconnected and we shouldn’t be so pleased with our ability to control things.

…Most of us are egotistical most of the time, concerned about ourselves most of the time. But it’s nonetheless true that life only comes to a point when this self dissolves into some larger task and the purpose of life is not to find yourself; it’s to lose yourself.

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3 responses to “The Modesty Manifesto: David Brooks Goes to Aspen”

  1. Blair says:

    Potential MB book: “The Gospel of David Brooks: The Unlikely Champion of Reformed Theology”

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