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Thursday, August 7, 2014

David Brooks, "Introspective or Narcissistic?": Not About Obama

Yup, another self-help opinion piece from David Brooks.

After reading the title of Brooks's latest New York Times op-ed, entitled "Introspective or Narcissistic?" (, I presumed that he was providing us with insights concerning America's president, but I was entirely off the mark. The conclusion of Brooks's op-ed:

"Maturity is moving from the close-up to the landscape, focusing less on your own supposed strengths and weaknesses and more on the sea of empathy in which you swim, which is the medium necessary for understanding others, one’s self, and survival."

Sorry, David, but apparently you and I live in different universes.

I woke up this morning after four hours of sleep (a lot for me), and checked the clock. In another few minutes, the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel will end, and Hamas will almost certainly begin to fire rockets again at Israeli communities in the south of Israel. The world will of course blame Israel for bringing this sorrow upon itself.

Scanning the news reports, I see that ISIS, an ideological ally of Hamas, is threatening Iraq's Kurds and Christians with death and destruction. It might get a bit of attention from the media, but The Guardian, CNN and most other news organizations still prefer to focus our attention on those nasty Jews Zionists, who dare to defend themselves.

I checked my emails to see if I had received a reply from Andrew Rosenthal or Margaret Sullivan. You see, there was a flagrant lie in a New York Times editorial yesterday (see:, and I am still hoping that one of these two persons has the decency to acknowledge and correct it, but unfortunately, there is no message in my inbox.

A breakfast of granola, cocoa powder and cranberries? Maybe. But I need to take Arnold, our 160-pound Anatolian shepherd, for a walk, before it gets too hot this morning, and then I also have a meeting in a few hours to discuss the website of a start-up, where I serve as chairman, which is seeking to synthesize spider silk, a material that is five times stronger than steel.

I also would like to get my arms around the workings of tumor-associated macrophages, which play a significant role in suppressing the local immune system and promoting the growth of cancer cells. Another company, which I advise, is seeking to discover novel TAMs for purposes of generating potentially powerful cancer therapeutics, and I find it incumbent in my role as an advisor, to learn more. Then, too, the subject - an entire world within a world, concerning which I have virtually no knowledge whatsoever - is fascinating.

And here we go: The cease-fire expired four minutes ago, and Israel's Iron Dome system has shot down two Hamas rockets fired at the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Which brings me back to Brooks's op-ed and his definition of "maturity": I just don't have the time to move "from the close-up to the landscape, focusing less on your own supposed strengths and weaknesses and more on the sea of empathy in which you swim." Perhaps I am destined to remain juvenile until my last day on this crazy earth.

I'm not complaining.

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