I wrote to the great Oliver Burkeman and the great Oliver Burkeman wrote me back!!!
I wrote this.
I feel like there is a contradiction underlying Four Thousand Weeks. One thread is basically this:
- Nobody cares what you do with your life
- You can’t get anything ‘out’ of life – nothing fits through the exit door
- Hope you don’t tune me out for quoting classic rock, but “All you touch & all you see, is all your life will ever be”
And OTOH, you are constantly repeating some variation of the following: all of this should feel liberating and exhilarating, because now you can finally be freed up to focus on what matters.
But isn’t the first thread trying to convince me that, actually, nothing “matters”?
I do find the first thread liberating and exhilarating. But when you keep telling me, “Well! Now, time to get on with it! You know, that thing that REALLY MATTERS?” I’m like, what, what, what? I’m supposed to have a mattering-thing?
“Thanks, Chris! Fascinating point.”
And he wrote more. But I don’t think it’s right to publicly publish his words without his permission. Except for that “Fascinating point” bit, no way I’m not mentioning that.
Basically he argues that the first thread is meant to clear away illusions so what matters for you can bubble up to the surface.