By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The writer of stream demonstrates how, with a systematic base to morality, we will go beyond cultural and evolutionary programming and turn into extra advanced, built-in contributors, operating for the typical stable. 50,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. journey.
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Extra info for The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium
Y e t few people would willingly work m o r e and have less free, leisure time. " Generally unnoticed is the fact that the work we want to avoid is actually m o r e satisfying than the free time we try to get m o r e of. T h e r e is a reasonable evolutionary explanation for this condition, too. If we could be contented just sitting by ourselves and thinking pleasant thoughts, w h o would be out chasing the saber-toothed tiger? Or driving t w o hours on the congested expressway to work? It is probably better that we need ordered external input to keep the 34 T H E E V O L V I N G SELF mind in order; this way we ensure some congruence between objective and subjective reality.
Monkeys addicted to heroin will work till they die of exhaustion to get another fix. Similar behavior on the streets of our cities shows h o w easily the brain succumbs to pleasure. Pleasure, according to current understandings of evolution, is an experience felt when one does something that in the past had been 44 T H E E V O L V I N G SELF useful for survival. It is the result of a chemical stimulation of the appropriate neural receptors, usually by substances that the organism has needed for optimal functioning.
A somewhat similar vision of the human condition underlies the story of Goethe's Faust. Getting along in years, the scholar Faust is disillusioned with what he has accomplished in his life. He is tired of philosophy, he is disgusted at the weakness of the body, he snarls at the pursuit of fame, at money, at sex, leisure, wine, and song—he even despises hope and faith. Y e t he admits that he feels "the pain of life, earth's narrow way. " At this point the devil himself appears in the form of Mephistopheles and offers his services to Faust.