In Two Thousand and Eight, I wondered what I was doing with my life, struggling to find a point in having founded a design firm in New York City, and simultaneously feeling overwhelmingly stimulated by the rewards of my so-called success, a situation difficult for an immigrated French boy not to get excited about. But I realized I was asking the wrong questions, instead of wondering what I was doing, I should have been pondering who I was, a much more interesting journey to undertake. And so I started writing, on the subjects that matter to me most, whether death or movies, love or travel, digging deep inside myself to try and unearth the layers of small truths that had accumulated in forty years of existence during which I had followed four career paths, traveled through a few countries, endured one eclectic education and had gotten an auspicious beginning in Paris. My hope was that in the process I'd get to know myself.
The result was much more fruitful than I expected.
That is because in addition to what I dug up, which would only be valuable to me, I discovered something much more useful: a process to question everything equally, which I have called The Considered Life. We make over five thousand decisions every day. There are the big decisions we are all familiar with: the job, the mate, the real estate. But there are also small choices, choices conscious and unconscious, choices driven by cultural context, choices made with no sense of where we belong, choices made for us by other people, our parents, friends or colleagues... You get the picture. We usually think that pondering our choices long and hard are inarguable signs that a good decision is in progress, but what do we base that opinion on? Have duration and strain alone ever brought about true meaning? How can we be sure that our final choice is not idealism that has been pushed on you, like so many bags of glue on suburban white kids, by benevolent parents who never saw boredom coming as the real danger, wrapping the values and opinions in a gift box called love one would be mad to question, let alone refuse. We believe in their god, we trust that their vision of good and evil is irrefutable and we do not put your elbows on the table, right? It all seems to me a big bucket of who gives a shit because we had no part in shaping that convenient set of pre-existing beliefs. The Considered Life is about examining the choices we make on a moment-to-moment basis and analyzing the causes and consequences of those decisions so that we may be certain they are ours and ours alone.
The Considered Life is also a unique proposition in a time of overbearing advice-giving. Today’s gurus of self-help each claim a truth that will free you from the shackles of the world in 5 easy steps, or in 4 short weeks, or by following 12 simple rules. The Considered Life: Save Yourself! does not contend with such books. Without dogma, this book encourages the reader to look upon the minutes, weeks or years he or she has left and live them as they alone wish, with knowledge, understanding and purpose. This book is meant to be torn apart to fit in with today’s culture who sees text merely as a jumping off point, to be commented on with as much verve and value as the originator of the argument. Today’s self-help aisles have been begging for a non-didactic generation of writers who see themselves as examples, not dispensers of truth, and The Considered Life fits right in with this movement.