Why did the world go nuts over last week's clip of Louis CK bemoaning the evils of smartphones? It's not because we all secretly loathe our smartphones, writes Meghan Daum in the Los Angeles Times, although obviously many of us can relate to the "existential torpor" CK describes in the clip. It's because we're "hungry ... for people who can explain to us what we feel and why we feel it." When we find something or someone in that category, we're eager to share (Daum calls links like the CK clip "wisdom links"). Consider: TED Talks, George Saunders' Syracuse commencement speech about the importance of kindness, even David Foster Wallace's Kenyon College commencement address from eight years ago.
These are "essentially mini-sermons, affable little homilies that remind smart people how to be good people," and the way we take to them suggests they're not "ideas as much as revelations delivered by oracles with hipster cred," Daum writes. Comments typically run along the lines of, "This will change your life," "blow your mind," "open your eyes," etc. Perhaps this enthusiasm can be partially attributed to the fact that fewer people are attending religious services these days, so we're looking elsewhere for inspiration and life lessons. "The more digital life subsumes real life, the more grateful it seems we are for those who can help us make sense of its effects on the soul," Daum concludes. Click for her full column.