Tag Archives: The Atlantic

What’s Going On When We Give Thanks

By now, most of us have shaken off the Thanksgiving food stupor (if the not the extra pound or two) that can come easily over the holiday—perhaps even to the point where we can briefly think a bit more deeply about what’s going on when we give thanks.

Most of us have been in some way conditioned to thank other people when they do something that benefits us. At the very least, it’s an acknowledgement that what they’ve done has blessed us in some way. We may even speak in terms of owing someone “a debt of gratitude.” That would seem to makes sense when we can easily trace a benefit to the actions of another human party.

But what about the larger picture? In a recent article, Emma Green frames it this way: “You can thank your grandma for making delicious pie, but who do you thank for the general circumstances of your life?”

The Value of Meaning Over Happiness

If you had to characterize it one way or another, would you say your life is more about happiness or meaning?

According to a recent piece from The Atlantic, there could be a significant difference between primarily pursuing one as opposed to the other. A handful of quotes from the article:

  • Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression. On top of that, the single-minded pursuit of happiness is ironically leaving people less happy, according to recent research. “It is the very pursuit of happiness,” Frankl knew, “that thwarts happiness.”
  • Researchers found that a meaningful life and happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different. Leading a happy life, the psychologists found, is associated with being a “taker” while leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a “giver.”

Prominent Doctor: I Want to Die at 75

“Seventy-five. That’s how long I want to live: 75 years.”

That’s how prominent medical doctor, bioethicist, and health care reformer Ezekiel Emmanuel began a recent essay for The Atlantic. And while he makes it clear that he’s opposed to taking his own life, Emmanuel does explain that, once he hits his designated age, his desire will significantly affect the choices he makes with regard to medical care.

Having participated in a few bruising political battles surrounding healthcare, Emmanuel is no stranger to controversy. Even so, I found his article to be a thoughtful reflection on the realities of aging. A good deal of what he wrote strikes me as compelling, while  parts were deeply problematic. All in all, the piece is great starting point to wrestle with several issues from a biblically informed perspective

In that spirit, I won’t claim anything like the final word on these things, but a handful of thoughts came to mind as I’ve been considering what Emmanuel’s wrote. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list of the issues at play, but it’s a start:

PepsiCo CEO Says She Doesn’t Think Women Can Have It All

In many respects, Indra K. Nooyi is an enormously successful woman. The 58 year-old CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business on the planet, often ranks highly on list of the world’s most powerful women and top executives in general. She reportedly earned a salary of over $13 million in 2013.

She is also the married mother of two daughters, and her attempts to balance this aspect of her life with her role as the leader of PespiCo led her to offer some provocative comments at the recent Aspen Ideas Festival. David Bradley, owner of The Atlantic, asked Nooyi the following question: “What’s your opinion about whether women can have it all?” The following are excerpts from her answer: