Work to live, don't live to work

Okay, I love my work. Not just my current job, which is pretty great. But my work: the process of living and learning, and turning it into writing that will enlighten, inspire, and inform people. Finding the right words that will trigger an epiphany -- that light bulb that goes off in readers' heads and makes them say, "Oh yeah ... "

But there is also a lot more to my life. I'm not just talking about hobbies. I'm talking about the art of living -- enjoying the moment without any real purpose except to just enjoy it. It's hard to do for anyone who wants to achieve something -- when I was little, my dad used to always tell me, "Spend your time doing productive things." But to me, a relaxed, happy person is better off than an extremely productive, miserable one.

I wrote something on this sentiment recently: The concept that life is more than work, and that our decisions should keep that in mind. It's best if we can find work that melds the two: that allows us to enjoy the moment as we are working, or allows us to follow our passion. Creative work lends easily to this, but it could be anything that allows us to experience, as Salman Rushdie wrote, "an eff of the ineffable."

It always heartens me to find other writers who have tapped into this sentiment, and lately it seems to be in the zeitgeist. Here are some excerpts to possibly inspire you; click the links for more, and feel free to add your own excerpts in the comments below.

For a few years now, I've always turned to a commencement speech made by Anna Quindlen to remember what's important:

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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