Let’s leave aside for a moment all the mushy poetic and theological language about love. Let’s put on Ebeneezer Scrooge’s worldview and simply ask: how much money is love worth?
Well here’s a short YouTube video that explores that very question. Among the interesting findings: Hearing that someone loves you for the first time is worth the equivalent happiness of $267,000. Being married is the equivalent of receiving an extra $100,000 per year. Committed long-term love live on average 15% longer, so finding a relationship that lasts per life is the equivalent of making another $23,000 to $30,000 extra per year.
The speaker says, “Love is democratic. No matter who you are or how much money you have, people all over the world are feeling it.” Amen.
(Hat tip: The Daily Dish.)
Hoot! Working at your desk sucks. Americans should take lunches like the French do.
Orion Jones writes on Big Think:
By deciding to take a midday break, and taste the food you are going to eat anyway, you will refresh your mind and have the opportunity to mingle with co-workers. You may even get some sunshine. “By taking those few moments to breathe,” said Levy, “you come out feeling refreshed and invigorated. At work, time spent chatting with colleagues can lead to great ideas and cross-pollination between departments. And if you’ve broken bread with colleagues at lunch, it’s going to be easier to approach them in the professional sphere.” Giving yourself a half-hour lunch will increase your productivity, not decrease it.
Paying attention to our daily routine, making it more harmonious with our True Self — or at least make our ego a bit happier and more well-adjusted — is one of the surest routes to finding divinity in the ordinary.
Hoot! Want to know what Barack Obama really thinks about religion?
Religion writer Jeffrey Weiss has followed Barack Obama’s statements on religion from the beginning, and he says there’s no better statement of what he really believes than this:
On the one hand, among the oldest and most complete texts are Obama’s two memoirs. Dreams From My Father has a long account of his journey of faith — from the child and grandchild of people who were indifferent or hostile to organized religion to crying in the pew of a Chicago church. The Audacity of Hope has an entire chapter titled, simply “Faith.”
But for me, the uber-source is a remarkable interview Obama gave in 2004, when he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate and long before he was even whispered about as presidential timber.
He sat down with Cathleen Falsani, then a religion reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. She did a news story off the interview at the time. Later, when Obama became a bit more important than a mere senate candidate, Falsani posted the entire transcript of the interview on her own website. You can read it here.
Here’s how Obama explained his approach to his faith back then:
“I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I’d say, probably, intellectually I’ve drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.”
And here is how he explains his attitude toward specific doctrines:
“I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s best comes with a big dose of doubt. I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.”
And here is where he starts to explain how his understanding of his faith helps inform his ideas about governance:
“I think it’s perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about… I can give religious expression to that. I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, we are all children of God. Or I can express it in secular terms. But the basic premise remains the same.”
For the next eight years, he’s come back to the same basic themes: That he’s motivated by his understanding of the Christian social gospel as an inspiration for his personal service and as a guide for the kinds of policies that he pursues. But he rejects narrow and sure interpretations of religion. And he’s careful to say that government policy must not be narrowly tailored for any faith or none.
But what nobody seems to have done (yet) is to ask Obama about his own spiritual experiences, prayer life, and any mystical intuitions. Has he had any experiences of divinity or enlightenment, and what conclusions has he drawn about that?
Or, if no journalist wants to go on the record asking about that, why not simply ask him: What does “spirituality” mean to you?
Photo Credit: MR MARK BEK