will eventually lose because the coolest, smartest, and most emulatable kids of any generation rebel against overbearing falseness. It can take a long time for the overturning because most will do what they are told, but the coolest, smartest, and most emulatable ultimately set society’s course, and so what they believe becomes the “answer,” even if the majority still disagree.

Get Serious

Supreme anger and motivation are not normal reactions to Don’t Look Up. The anger, sure, Adam McKay hoped you would feel that. But motivation? Inspiration? Not on some grand political level, but on a personal level? Yet, here I am deeply motivated to change my own life.

My how we have become a deeply unserious people. We spend so much of our time listening to absolute buffoons talk about absolutely irrelevant stuff. We rapturously watch vapid people live their shallow lives. And then we complain about all of it … only to turn on The Bachelor as soon as the new season commences. Twenty-six seasons!!! How? Why? This is the anger. This is the don’t blame the media since they are only what they are because that is what we will buy. This is also the smugness, the looking down on all those people who stupidly consume trash TV and who consider themselves “informed” after “reading” takes from partisan hacks who are so clearly not thinking completely that a total novice could listen to them once, with no background information, and ask them obviously important questions that any serious person who seriously was after the truth would have investigated and yet when asked such questions, tada, the hollow mind tasked with nobly carrying the “news” to the population meekly says, “Let me get back to you on that.” And so when you are the person who not only knows the questions but the answers, you get to feel all smart. You’ll ask the heavens why people don’t just drop the hacks and come roam with the real minds, but you’ll not actually want them to join you, for then you’ll lose your aura of superiority. When everyone knows what you know, how will anyone know you are smart?

But that pretension isn’t the problem per se because it’s all quite accurate. The problem is that its accuracy lets you off the hook. While you might not be watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians, are you really 100% hardcore devoted to only SERIOUS things? Like, are sports all that different from reality TV? And isn’t all wandering on the Internet equally unproductive, not just scrolling through celebrity blogs? If you browse “smart” content without ever giving over your attention, who cares if it’s smart? Checked out and passing time is checked out and passing time. You might soothe yourself with rationalizations of how there’s the chance you’ll learn something important that the celebrity-blog-checker doesn’t have, but how often has that long-shot hit?

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One Thing at Once

Distraction, like addiction, comes in many forms. And just like addiction, the fundamental texture of distraction is wanting.

This, whatever this is, isn’t good enough for my complete attention, so give me something else and surely I’ll feel better. The greater the boredom, the greater the distraction temptation.

Increasingly, though, the temptation seems untethered to anything that can plausibly be called “boredom.” It’s more of a twitch to split my attention just ’cause, and to do so across tiny time horizons. This is not about having music on in the background for an extended study session; this is about craving to turn on the TV – to an absolutely irrelevant sporting event – while I walk to the kitchen to put dishes in the dishwasher. That chore is so minute, so quick, so easy: there can’t be true boredom in it. What it is, rather, is my mind increasingly rejecting doing one thing at once. I must listen to a podcast while changing clothes. I must open a second tab while the first one loads. I must read AND listen to music while I eat.

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2021: Things

Movies

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • James Bond: No Time to Die
  • Inside
  • The Dawn Wall
  • Happiest Season
  • The Sound of Metal
  • Driveways
  • In and of Itself
  • Our Friend

Books

  • Will // Will Smith
  • The Three-Body Problem // Liu Cixin
  • Woke Racism // John McWhorter

New Music

  • Inside // Bo Burnham
  • Saosin // Saosin
  • Chuck // Sum 41
  • Duality // Duke Dumont
  • POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR // Bring Me the Horizon
  • Constellations // August Burns Red
  • Greatest Hits // Waterparks
  • Donda // Kanye West

(more…)

Do you actually know it’s wrong, a lie, another bit of misinformation?

Or do you just hate the people associated with the thing?

Making sure the last question isn’t “yes” is an easy way to increase your attachment to what is real.

 

Excel in Uncertainty

There you are waiting. Maybe it’s seven years from now. Maybe it’s seventeen. But I see you clearly struggling with the lack of clarity. Your parents will have taught you well, loved you well, supported you well: that won’t be the issue.

No, the procrastination is the natural result of unavoidable uncertainty inherent to the human experience. Path A will look preferable on certain days … only to be supplanted – in your mind – by Path B on different days. Around and around your mind will spin with such relentless force you’ll sometimes wish someone else would just decide for you – a free man pleading for less freedom.

I implore you to pause in moments like this and consider your parents. Just look at this house! Their jobs! Their vast networks of friends! Everything is so idyllic! Sure, absorbing those outcomes may lead to the conclusion that your parents followed a simple blueprint devoid of the endless machinations currently racking your mind. Yet it is the wrong conclusion, for your parents were extended stay tenants in the land of uncertainty. Most people make a decision and are awarded a long period of tranquil certainty; your parents, on the other hand, earned their “extended stay” status because their decisions were so often abruptly followed by ever more uncertainty. Which could turn someone cold, or paralyze him, or make him feel justified to constantly complain, could fill him with rage and jealousy. Not your parents. No way.

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Having something to check

is a great way to avoid the emptiness of truly being in the moment. You say you want the moment, but you really don’t. You want to have something to look forward to. You want to have something to take your mind off the boredom inherent to the moment.

So go ahead and check the weather (even as you are one foot from stepping outside), or the scores (even as it’s still the first quarter and you checked, what, two minutes ago), or your texts (even as your dings are turned on and you haven’t heard any). Just do it. It feels so good. And that goodness never expires – you can just check again in the next moment because it’s always possible that something has changed.

Is This Problem Solveable?

While the emotional lull may feel quite similar, there is a crucial difference between confidently possessing potential actions that may feasibly solve a problem  (PPA) and having exhausted all conceivable actions (ECA).
I posit that this difference is deeply understood and helps to explain procrastination. There is hope in PPA. When you start to spiral negatively, you can rescue yourself with thoughts of all things left to try: I’ll email Bob on Monday; I’ll call the doctor this week; I’ll read those studies soon. This rescue mission often works well. So well, in fact, that part of you will decide to not take those stated actions, because if they don’t work, you’ll be stranded without the ability to save oneself from darkness.
This logic misses a key point that the list of potential actions is not fixed, that the process of exhausting some of them indeed births new potential actions (e.g., you e-mail Bob and he says, “No, but I think I have a better person for you to contact”).
Unfortunately, the list of potential actions is also not infinite; at some point, the births cease and you truly can run out of ideas to dreadfully arrive in ECA. Of course, it’s hard to know for sure if you are in ECA. Perhaps you are simply looking to excuse yourself from making an effort. Simple test: can a stranger instantly come up with ideas to try? If “yes,” then you ain’t in ECA. (Being laughably far from ECA is why it’s hard for me to be too sympathetic toward people with “health issues” who haven’t perfected exercise, sleep, nutrition, and screens.)
When you are truly in ECA, I don’t really have an answer. This is maybe where acceptance enters, though I don’t really get how non-Jedi’s do that to a considerable enough degree to truly reverse darkness if the ECA state is truly bad. Something like actively fighting against your wants/vision of yourself? xxxxxxxxx told me how whenever someone would ask him to play basketball the desire would emerge to play. Yes, I love basketball. But he, through years of “mourning,” disabused himself of the thought that he’s the type of person who plays basketball (because his injury prevented him from playing). That, while it wasn’t what he would have planned or wanted, it’s what is, and what is is totally fine, glorious even, in a different way. Nothing is so unbearable that you can’t bear it because you are, in fact, bearing it in this moment. And this moment. And this moment.
Ughhhh. I really don’t know.

Dear “Cancel Culture,”

There’s a certain type of self-important buffoon clogging up airports from sea to shining sea who needs to be placed squarely in your crosshairs. The boarding process begins with priority, then the disabled, then the parents of small children before turning to a numerical countdown from small to large. Even if you had never before flown, the numerical part is so easy to comprehend that ignorance isn’t a viable defense. 

Yet, there’s the target – proud owner of a group #7 ticket – stalking so close to the line of people with lower boarding numbers you’d think he’s actually in line. Now, if he was deciding to circumvent the boarding order entirely and was truly in line, boarding group be damned, we’d call him unethical and leave it at that. After all, his gross action has minimal consequences. 

What we cannot tolerate, nay what we MUST not tolerate, is the person who thinks he can hold himself in high moral esteem by not actually getting in line, but by being so close to the line that when #7 beams out over the loudspeaker he’ll be the first #7 to board. For this action has ripple effects that materially taint the boarding process: people with lower boarding numbers will accumulate behind him incorrectly believing they are in the real line. With fake disbelief, our target will eventually address the duped fliers incorrectly accumulating behind him by claiming complete innocence and attempting to redirect blame onto us. We are not fooled. You know what you have done. We know what you have done. 

Sic ‘em. Woof, woof, woof!