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The Death of Patience And How To Resuscitate It

This article is more than 9 years old.

Technology has made us smarter. That's a good thing. It's also made us faster and more impatient. And that, maybe, isn't so good. When all of life becomes quick, immediate, and focused on instant results, something intangible is lost.

Consider the scene from "Stars Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back" when Luke Skywalker begins his training at the Dagobah system. The great Jedi master Yoda quickly discovers something about Luke that gives him great pause: "I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience," Yoda laments.

"He will learn patience," replies Obi-Wan Kenobi.

But how? Can patience be taught? And, if so — considering what a demanding, fast-paced world we live in — how do we encourage ourselves and others to slow down?

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with a Harvard professor who has an answer to that.


Jennifer L. Roberts, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz professor of the humanities at Harvard University and author of the recent Harvard Magazine piece The Power of Patience: Teaching Students the Value of Deceleration and Immersive Attention


This segment aired on January 8, 2014.

Sacha Pfeiffer Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.



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