Just because I rely on two smartphones doesn’t mean I like them. My tween daughter doesn’t even want one, and I’m thrilled about that. So when a friend sent me the link to Louis C.K.’s appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show (see below) that’s been all over the Web since Thursday night, of course I clicked “play.”
And I got more than I bargained for.
First, I’d just like to say how refreshing it is to hear something poignant from a celebrity on a nationally televised talk show. So much of what he said resonated with me:
- I’m not raising children; I’m raising the grownups they’re going to be.
- Smartphones can allow kids to avoid learning to build empathy—or basic manners, for that matter—because texting gives them an easy excuse for avoiding human contact.
- We need to develop our ability to just be, not always have to be doing something.
But more than that, one line of his really stood out for me:
- Underneath everything in your life there’s that thing, that empty—forever empty…
And it gets better:
- The knowledge that it’s all for nothing and you’re alone. You know, it’s down there. Sometimes when things clear away, you’re in your car and you go, oh, no, here it comes that I’m alone. Like it starts to visit on you, just this sadness. Life is tremendously sad just by being in it.
And he concludes so beautifully:
- Sadness is poetic. You’re lucky to live sad moments.… happy feelings [come] because when you let yourself feel sad, your body has—like antibodies. You have happiness rushing in to meet the sadness.…The thing is, because we don’t want that first bit of sad, we push it away.…You never feel completely sad or completely happy. You just feel kind of satisfied with your product. And then you die. So that’s why I don’t want to get a phone for my kids.
So even as a busy New York mom whose job and family depend on me being reachable most of the time, I’m going to have a new attitude not just toward my smartphones or my kids, but toward my sadness.
What about you?
P.S. If you liked the Louis C.K. video above, you’ll love his rant about how hard people are to please: