With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on a Wednesday this year, it gave many of us an extended holiday, or at the very least, an extended period of working without all of the usual stresses and pace of a normal work week. Contemplative thought and reflective conversation seem to be out of vogue in our fast-paced, mediated, and technology-enabled lives. As we think about New Year’s resolutions on the heels of our extended holiday, perhaps we should take more seriously the often thrown-away resolve to work “smarter” this year and spend more time thinking and communicating.
Think of the timelessness of the comments on conversation and English coffee houses from Joseph Addison in 1711:
“When men are thus knit together, by a Love of Society, not a Spirit of Faction, but to enjoy one another: When they are thus combined for their own improvement, or for the Good of others, or at least to relax themselves from the Business of the Day, by an innocent and cheerful conversation, there may be something very useful in these little Institutions and Establishments [English coffee houses].”
Cheers and good health in 2014!