Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Antitheist? Moi?


My personal organization & productivity streak is still rolling. I worship zealously at the altar of GTD, and I'm working hard to internalize the dogmas of Tim Ferriss & Merlin Mann. Feeling confident in my knowledge of modern productivity theory, I recently decided to pick up a slightly older (1989) but still immensely popular advice book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey.

My favorite points so far:

  • True communication comes from a commitment to listening to others and understanding what they are saying.
  • There has been a shift in the focus of American writings on the pursuit of success.  Whereas success literature of our country's first 150 years focused on character - integrity, humility, temperance, etc. - the last 50 years' worth has been more self-centered, usually containing quick-fix tips on how to influence or intimidate others to get what you want.
  • In order to understand ourselves, we must understand the lens through which we perceive the world.

So I'm reading this book and things are going well, when all of a sudden I hit a passage in which Covey warns against "succumb[ing] to growing secularism and cynicism," then professes his belief in natural laws that he believes have their source in God.  I start to slide to the defensive: Whoa, I don't want this Mormon rewiring my brain!  Maybe 7 Habits is to Mormonism what Dianetics is to Scientology!

Then I catch myself and think, What was that all about?

I've been a member of the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State for a few years now, so I'm always getting updates on the bullshit that the Religious Right tries to pull.  Since none of my friends are very religious, I probably get more exposure in general to the bad/crazy parts of organized religion than the good/sane parts.


Now, I share some of Christopher Hitchens's beliefs about religion's adverse effects on society, but I don't believe that "all religious belief is sinister and infantile" (as Hitchens once said), I don't want to ignore good advice just because it comes from a man of faith, and I certainly don't want to start thinking that all forms of worship are evil.

After all, I'm now a devout follower of GTD.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Move, Part Two

Lucy & I are now two weeks into our cohabitation.  We've reconciled our inventories, and a few more items are going to go on the eBay/Craig's List/Freecycle chopping block.  Purging is my newfound love, but it has not replaced my lifelong passion: organization.  Luckily, the two complement each other nicely, and our ménage à trois has produced a sweet little living space.  Of course, it didn't hurt to have a girlfriend with excellent taste.


The other night, The Lady & I watched Fight Club and I was reminded of one of the great Tyler Durden lines: The things you own end up owning you.  This is never more apparent than when you move; even trying to get rid of your stuff becomes a burden (as I complained about in my last post).


At the end of the day, I'm glad to have an incentive to lighten the load.  I'm mentally streamlined - my psyche is now a dolphin.  Let's hope that this new dolphinness isn't countered by cable TV, which I'm enjoying for at home for the first time in 5 years, and which is more likely to turn one's psyche into algae.


Huge thanks to everyone who helped with the move!  The Honor Roll:

  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Erika
  • Lucy's mom
  • Elliot
  • Kevin
  • Pam
  • Jason
  • Dan
  • Sean

Also, check out this comic Lucy did about the move, in which she selflessly pretends that she's been the grouchy one over the course of the last few weeks.