A deeply original exploration of the power of spontaneity - and why it's essential to our wellbeing, both as individuals and as a society.
Why is it hard to fall asleep the night before an important meeting? Or be charming and relaxed on a first date? What is it about a comedian whose jokes fall flat or an athlete who chokes? In all these cases, spontaneity is elusive. In Trying Not to Try, Edward Slingerland shows us how we can harness its power and become more effective.
We've long been told that the way to achieve our goals is through careful reasoning and conscious effort, but recent research suggests that many aspects of a satisfying life are best pursued indirectly. The early Chinese philosophers knew this, and they wrote extensively about how we can achieve wu-wei (ooo-way) - an effortless, spontaneous way of being in the world.
Through stories of mythical creatures and drunken cart riders, jazz musicians and Japanese motorcycle gangs, Slingerland effortlessly blends Eastern thought and cutting-edge science to show us how we can embody a spontaneous way of being and live more fulfilling lives.
Edward Slingerland is an internationally recognized expert in both early Chinese thought and the links between cognitive science and the humanities. He is Professor of Asian Studies, Associate Member in the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology, and holds the Canada Research Chair in Chinese Thought and Embodied Cognition at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Effortless Action (2003) and What Science Offers the Humanities (2008).
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