Boutros-Boutros golly!

I'm a big fan of New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani, primarily on the basis of her mellifluous name. Pleasant to the ear as well as the eye, it's the kind of monicker that should've been saved for a U.N. secretary general or intergalatic battle destroyer instead of being given to a tweedy recluse with an obsession with the words limn and bildungsroman.

An item on Eschaton may have uncovered an even better one: Csikszentmihalyi.

After being struck dumb by such a violent collision of consonants, I googled the name and was surprised to find 23,000 results and a relatively well-known owner, a professor named Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who wrote Flow, a book about "the psychology of optimal experience."

He's one of those carpe diem types who thinks people should strive to be unique, according to a page of his quotes:

Problems are solved only when we devote a great deal of attention to them and in a creative way...to have a good life, it is not enough to remove what is wrong with it. We also need a positive goal, otherwise why keep going? Creativity is one answer to that question: It provides one of the most exciting models for living.

Another writer, in spite of a belief that the last name has magical powers, is skeptical of Csikszentmihalyi's ability to deliver "optimal experience:"

The flow experience is special because nowhere does so much bad psychology come together to make a rather simple observation so impossibly complex and gaseously profound. Like a buffet meal, the flow experience has something for anyone’s psychic palate, and includes consciousness raising and ordering, holistic experiences, psychic energy, and self-growth, not to mention that it feels good too! Indeed, it offers every kind of psychic goodness except afterlife experiences and a good roll in the hay.

Csikszentmihalyi is pronounced "chick-sent-mih-high," according to a review on Amazon. I now have the optimal name for my next dog.

Comments

Actually, its Hungarian. I think.

aj marr

(aka dr mezmer)

Excellent laugher for late Friday night. I wonder what the ethnicity of that name is.

Marvellous piece! Sunday morning cheering for me ;-)

I can't stop googling the name. The full pronunciation of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is "ME-high CHICK-sent-me-high-ee," according to this bio. If you say it assertively while holding a stick, it sounds like Harry Potter casting some kind of sinister snake incantation.

Just to let you know, there's another Csikszentmihalyi stirring up shit.

Found on the daily rotten a coupla days ago: Chris Csikszentmihalyi is an MIT prof and one of the people behind the GIT (Government Information Awareness) project http://opengov.media.mit.edu/ a high-time parallel to the TIA (Total Information Awareness scam by the US gov't).

M.Csikszentmihalyi is Hungarian.

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