The Age of Happy Problems

The Age of Happy Problems

The Age of Happy Problems

The Age of Happy Problems

Excerpt

This is a report about where one man stands on some matters of teaching, learning, writing, love, marriage, work, and the prospect of death, and how he came to this stand in the dries of America.

Setting out a few final, summary pages, I wish to try to call up what I have discovered in the pleasure of writing these interim communiqués, twelve years of voyages around part of the world and up certain of its dilemmas. Most of the sections of this book are aimed at specific and nonparallel subjects--Americans abroad, the hipsters, divorce, Miami Beach, Sherwood Anderson, the craft of fiction, the vocation of a teacher--and yet each seems to mark out part of the map, a place on a roadway. The map takes shape as I trace my way from one gathering of thoughts to the next. How can I total it up? What is the map of the map?

Well, to begin with, Plato was wrong. The life of contemplation is not sufficient. Neither is virtue enough. And for another thing, Plato was right. He knew that men must learn to come together in the practice of intelligence and moral privilege.

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