The age of envy: how to be happy when everyone else’s life looks perfect | Life and style | The Guardian

The competition is in the mirror. Gratitude for the opportunity of being alive is proper to our condition. Envy is nothing new, indeed it is an error as old as the world, though it is true that people are now seeking the wrong axis through self-scrutiny and in social media, nor is the answer generally to be found in the vapourings of the lifestyle articles of the Guardian. The confessions of the first paragraph are ugly revelations, better dissembled, since they are of limited objective interest. Seek wisdom, not status. Study for the joy of discovery, learn a few languages, take some exercise and don’t look for rewards. Delight in the success of others and help them to achieve it; often, their progress will bring burdens of responsibility you would prefer not to shoulder anyway. That is their affair. The author of this article, who feels she is doing something important, could have learnt the rudimentary grammar of a language in the time it took to write this commentary on our times. Envy has always been the enemy; my father, who possessed little that he hadn’t forged by his own effort, by-passed it altogether by taking pleasure in birdsong, gardening and playing the flute. The implicit message of this article is that the author has been aspiring to be her own axis; this is a cardinal error, known as that of the “moi désaxé”, or the misplaced axis of the self. If there is no longer a being external to us in whom to invest our faith, there is still the business of studying the accumulated knowledge of our forebears in science and in the arts, an endeavour that will free us from solipsism. This is an endless cure for envy. LJ

Social media has created a world in which everyone seems ecstatic – apart from us. Is there any way for people to curb their resentment?
— Read on www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/09/age-envy-be-happy-everyone-else-perfect-social-media

Behemoth, bully, thief: how the English language is taking over the planet | News | The Guardian

The international hegemony of English is indeed troubling, as is the tentacular presence of American culture. Vive la différence! That said, mastery of the lingua franca within a nation, English in England, French in France and so on, would seem to me to be a fitting intellectual project, if not a requirement (but let us be compassionate here) for those aspiring to citizenship.

Let us not forget Goethe’s aphoristic injunction:

“Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.”

(He who cannot speak languages other than his own, knows nothing of his own. Goethe: Maxim 91)

Personally, I have no time for the zealous indignation of the lawyer who arrogantly sought to upbraid those speaking Spanish (thug and fool), but perhaps still less for the angry herd that subsequently persecuted him (thugs, fools and creatures of the crowd). America seems unwell. 

Some very interesting points are raised in the article below, admittedly not for the first time, but the timing of their exposition nevertheless seems appropriate, in this troubled world, with its conflicting bogus certitudes and their crassly indignant advocates.

LJ

The long read: No language in history has dominated the world quite like English does today. Is there any point in resisting?
— Read on www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/27/english-language-global-dominance