Pathological Impatience: Maria Popova on On Being with Krista Tippett
I listen to Krista Tippet's podcast, On Being whenever I have a chance and she happened to recently have Maria Popova as a guest.
Ever since I read about Maria Popova in the NYT I've been a big fan of her blog. She prepares well thought out digests of the best quotes and helpful advice from history's great thinkers: artists, writers, scientists and more and puts it on her blog so the rest of us can get inspired without having to know all of the works of Maya Angelou or Susan Sontag. I find it very inspiring and have spent many hours on her site reading her posts and feeling super enriched after leaving.
The quote that got me in particular "We've been infected with pathological impatience... that makes us want to have the knowledge but not to have to do the work of claiming it. The true material of knowledge is meaning. Time is necessary for learning meaning."
While it may seem that what her blog does is deliver sound byte size quotes and advice, I like to think that she's just pointing the way, the way a super smart friend might do, to good writing and general wisdom and that we ought to get inspired by bit of exposure, an appetizer, to that work will make us check it out at the library or buy the book on Amazon.
But really, the notion of pathological impatience, caught my attention because I notice it in myself and in others. Technology has made things so immediately available. From the moment a desire or need pops in my head, it can be delivered to me in a day or two from my phone. Who could have fathomed such ease in buying things? If we have a question about the difference between Quakers and Shakers or when the Nazi's rose to power with a smart phone and wifi we can have the answer in moments.
This results in a training of our expectations. We want what we want and we want it right now, as Veruca Salt might say in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
However, I also see that the past few years I can't stop checking my phone. When I am with other people, supposedly connecting and having fun, I find myself reaching for my phone to check email or weather or texts. I've tried various methods to break this habit and I know how it develops but I have to say it's pretty tough to kick it and remain vigilant about the whether I want to control my device or let it control me. The impatience with boredom and the fear of missing out make a pretty potent poison that kills mind fullness and being in the moment.
And if I'm going to reach for my device, shouldn't it be just to capture what looks amazing to me when I walk out into the world?