Culture > Q&A

Excellent, not elite

"Excellent, not elite" Continued...

Issue: "Libyan exodus," March 26, 2011

How should others decide how to invest their time? The 10,000 hours is a great index, because you will not make it to mastery unless you love something. So, the first question: What do you love enough to make it to those 10,000 hours? For me, writing and music are two things. For other people it's chemistry or philosophy.

Journalists tend to prefer specific detail rather than abstract philosophy. I went back to philosophy over and over in college because it was the thing I did least well. I could never do philosophy for 10,000 hours. I'd die. Whereas I have friends who do that-they wake up and think about Hegel every morning.

Should Christians think differently about vocation than non-Christians? For Christians it can't just be a self-discovery process of "What are my deepest desires and how do I fulfill those?" Not instead of that, but in addition to that, we should ask, "Does this vocation take me to a place where the world is in pain?" Christian vocation takes us to a place where our work intersects with the brokenness of the world. That contrasts with the Kantian idea that your vocation is what you least like to do because God secretly hates you and is going to send you to do the thing you most dislike. I don't think that's right. God does call us to place our delights in the context of the cross and to delight in living where the world hurts.

So some people wake up thinking about Hegel every morning. Please, don't ask me anything else about Hegel!

Deal. I'll ask about someone a lot more people these days wake up thinking about: Lady Gaga. Why? I have to confess, I don't get it. I suspect you get it and can tell us. No, I don't entirely get why people are fascinated with her and what she's doing. Except, for 200 years, since the French Enlightenment, a big part of the engine of Western culture has been epater le bourgeois, or shock the bourgeois. Some artists in every generation trade in shock. Some of them do it in high art, Lady Gaga does it in pop art. In every generation someone comes along who represents that kind of shock and fascination.

Salvador Dali? Exactly. Dali, or Picasso in his day.
Listen to Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Andy Crouch.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Power campaigns

    The GOP is fighting to maintain control of Congress…


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…