The Church of Deep Work

I have uncovered a mythical place, a place rumored of and nearly forgotten by the throws of modern life. It is a somber house, full of reverent heads bowed with devout focus over their written works, towards which their hearts turn. I walked in, uncertain of whether to speak. "May I help you?" the lady behind the booth asked. Slanting the volume of my voice downward, I reply, "The three last issues of Wired magazine, please."

The 42nd Street New York Public Library has the reverent quiet of the singularly purposed

The 42nd Street New York Public Library has the reverent quiet of the singularly purposed

Yes, it was the New York Public Library. The silence hits you like a wall when you enter an archive or a reading room. There is a shared agreement and understanding: all come to work, to thrive upon the focus in the air, which each new devotee adds to.

I can almost imagine benefactor Samuel Tilden standing upon the steps of the 5th Avenue entrance, declaring in the lantern light: "Give us your addled, your burdened, your distracted masses who yearn to focus freely!"

Patience the lion greets and guards the 5th Avenue entrance to the New York Public Library

Patience the lion greets and guards the 5th Avenue entrance to the New York Public Library

The entrance to the Church of Deep Work is narrow - because of the bag check security - and it's followers may be few, but I see a revolution coming! Robopocaplyse? No, it's the fleet of knowledge workers striding singularly, together, on their independent, intertwining journeys.

Hats off to Patience and Fortitude for guarding the way for newspaper-readers, writers, and researchers alike to find their place in the stacks.