On happiness, character and living a robust life…

I stumbled across this terrific essay that questions a lot of societal norms, including the pursuit of happiness, the idealized life, and the “dysfunction” of the creative mind. Here’s a tidbit:

Many of the people who have made the biggest contributions to our collective history—intellectuals, researchers, composers, writers, artists, and so on—have lived lives that, from the outside, seem fairly pathological. They have often been deeply solitary, have had trouble forming enduring relationships, have been consumed by their projects to the point of obsession, have plunged into the depths of despair, have doubted and disparaged themselves, and have had to endure the coldness and sharpness of the world\’s judgment. Yet who is to say that these lives are somehow less poignant than those that seem more wholesome?

The whole essay is worth a read and some thoughtful consideration:  Happiness and Its Discontents – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Another way for writers to make a living…

Here’s an interesting first-person account in  The Chronicle of Higher Education from a writer who makes his living writing papers for college and university students. Not just undergraduate essays but graduate school theses and semester-long projects; he’s even completed online courses for students and participated in class discussions.

I live well on the desperation, misery, and incompetence that your educational system has created. Granted, as a writer, I could earn more; certainly there are ways to earn less. But I never struggle to find work.

This essay really brings home how much of a game it all is. Stack up the extracurriculars and pump up the SATs in high school to get into a good college. Fake your way through the coursework to win the appropriate degree. Get a job in which that degree will have absolutely no bearing but for which it is required. Work until you die.

The writer almost makes a case for becoming a freelance cheater instead. Except it sounds like so much work.