Insulating Our Minds

Few things are as relentless as what you are holding in your hand – your smart phone, smart pad, or whatever other device you are wedded to.


Text messages, pop-ups, robo-calls – there is no shortage of claims on our attention. Is it any wonder we struggle to reclaim our inner lives?


In The World Beyond Your Head, the writer starts with a straightforward premise: “We are afflicted by a cultural crisis of attention—imperiling not only our mental health but also our ability to function as responsible citizens in a democracy. It’s hard to open a newspaper or magazine these days without reading a complaint about our fractured mental lives, diminished attention spans, and a widespread sense of distraction. More ominously, our interior mental lives are laid bare as a resource to be harvested by others.”

Today, the book’s author insists, “human flourishing” can best be achieved by mastering not abstract information but the ability to work with one’s hands—real work requiring mental agility and physical dexterity that pulls “us out of ourselves” under the guidance of mentors, parents and other authoritative figures. Reminiscent of “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” The book excels in its vivid depiction of a handful of gifted individuals immersed in their trades, from hockey players to glass blowers.

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