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Is modern society's prescription for status and a successful life, even by TED standards, valid?

Recently, after geeking out on Michael Sandel and Alain de Botton's online courses and documentaries on philosophies of life, I realized that I had none of my own! (I mean really of my own). And maybe we don't have philosophy in our lives at all really, to think of such things.

I recognize that today's western values (which are spreading) of business success, fame, recognition, professional and intellectual validation (like on TED here), even with the coatings of social and ecological awareness, are as random as the ones in the past of child-bearing hips, warrior skills and noble birth. We can see looking back, that if you didn't follow those prescriptions, you lived a relatively "wasted" life. And while we may shun obtuse caricatures like the "success" of Reality TV "stars" as if in denial of what is truly valued these days, for many of us, if we don't make VP by 34, have an IPO before 30, don't get a standing ovation at TED or aren't doing something with "reach", we are Losers. Yikes!

I want to strive to be philosophically secure enough to know that my life's definition of crafts and vegan recipes* is worthy (*hypothesis). Or am I just wasting oxygen by not participating in the latest world order, even if it seems relatively nicer? The buy-in is always compelling at every age...and then we all die.

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  • Apr 4 2012: More philosophical debate is not only beneficial, but necessary.

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