Tuesday, September 8, 2009


In psychiatry's never ending quest for recognizing, classifying, naming, and documenting every possible human deviation from the norm, they've come upon a conundrum of which they have no means of gathering information. It goes this way: (I love this) The noble---if not chaotic---field of psychiatry has lately found that there is a massive amount of people who "suffer" from apathy. These people don't give a shit about...well, practically everything. This "find" is setting the whole psychological world in a buzz. The good scientists would like to study this "condition" with great intensity, but(this is the part I like) they can't get these people to take part in research studies because they just don't care enough to be part of it. You got to love it. These people are too apathetic to be a part of a study on apathy.

This leads me into the book I just painfully finished. It's OUTLIERS, by Malcolm Gladwell. It concerns success and what factors led some people to reach this success. It cleverly uncovers other circumstances behind a successful person than is usually thought of in the accepted description of success. These could be, family, birth date, country, and so on. A lot of the book is fill---stories and biographies of supposedly successful people, and not successful people. He takes one theme or idea he is trying to clarify and hits you with it several times on each page. I think that this book could easily have been an essay. Blame the publisher.

Now this is where I will hook up to my first paragraph---clever, eh? I have a problem with the word "success". Does success mean wealth? Power? Proficiency? And does anyone really care? I don't think success can be measured on a yardstick. If you strive to succeed by other people's standards, you will probably sacrifice yorself in the process.

The author tells us about Oppenheimer's success in leading the delegation of mad scientists in building the BOMB. This man is responsible for the destruction of hundreds of thousands of souls---now that's success(sarcasm). The author also tells us of a Chris Langan(never heard of him) who is suppose to be a genius, and who has accomplished nothing because of bad breaks along the way. Therefore, this man is unsuccessful in every one's eyes. I don't get it. I have a couple of friends whose IQ's are well above the norm, and they would rather sail on calm lakes all day then rise to prominence in any field. They are extremely smart, and extremely apathetic, and extremely happy with their lives. So it goes. I wonder how many of these people are out there?

Malcolm Gladwell hit it big with a book called BLINK. This book rode the bestseller list for months and months. It's a book about thinking without thinking. On this topic, I only know that when I do something rashly without thinking, I get in a heap of trouble. I've learned a long time ago to think through things very carefully before acting. The first impulse is not always the right one to do.
About OUTLIERS, I would say that Mr. Gladwell's publisher was on him like aphids on a rose after the huge success with BLINK. The publisher wanted a book quick, quick, quick. OUTLIERS is the result, a book not properly thought through; a book finished in the blink of an eye.

I could go on but I really don't care. I hope Mr. Gladwell enjoys his success. Whatever.

Next: Well, God is waiting in the wings, as they say. He's none too pleased to be bumped these past weeks. God books are next.

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