Just quickly (because if I wrote a ‘to-do-list’ this post would not feature in the top 100 priorities), aside from working at some sort of ridiculously slow pace, I have read half of Damon Young’s (2008) Distraction. I read the first half last night. Possibly it was procrastination from marking. However, as it really did not look like ‘work’, it certainly did not draw the protests that I anticipated if I was to pull out ‘real’ work on a Sunday evening.

I have never read a self-help book, but I imagine that is the genre in which one might place this text. The back cover tells you that Young ‘suggests that he opposite of a life of distraction is one of genuine of freedom.’ As a self-help book it sort of appeals to me. Working on ‘ideas’ is described as something to pursue in free time and having free time to pursue ideas is pretty much the benchmark of freedom (according to my reading).

The book starts with Young talking about his child and then quickly tells you about his wife wanting to talk with him about his child. These personal comments are scattered through the discussion of the lives and work habits of philosophers. After a few chapters I start to feel that the image of a rather detached life, where wives look after small children and the occasional friend to engage in philosophical conversations with, was how relationships with others fit into this particular idea of freedom.

I might finish it, or I might not. If I do not finish the book it will not be because I found it useless. This partial reading offers me a justification for avoiding every relational obligation in order to sort out my ideas and work on drafts.

One person’s reason for living may just be another’s distraction?


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2 Responses to “Distraction”

  1. Damon Young Says:

    If my book gave the impression of a life where “wives look after small children”, I’ve clearly failed.

    This might clarify things a little: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/empty-pockets-and-wonky-careers-can-provide-a-richer-life-20100518-vc3c.html

    • Tracey Says:

      Probably more a combination of the life stories through which the discussion is built coming from a very particular context and my all to rare ‘cover-to-cover for fun’ reading being dominated by ethnographies.

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