it’s our smartphones.

This may seem like a semantic difference, but I contend it’s more meaningful than just that. The big problem is constant access to information, however it’s delivered. Just think of all the dead time 20 years ago: on the toilet, smoke breaks, walking anywhere, waiting for a friend to arrive, etc. That time was reserved for you and your thoughts. You still read and watched the news, yes, but these activities were necessarily limited because you had to be near a TV, computer, or a newspaper. Those limits were destroyed by the smartphone combined with unlimited, cheap cellular plans.

This is not about how we’re all lacking attention now; this is about how ever more of our attention is devoted to the news. Yes, the maximum-outrage bent of social media plays a role. Still, if the news was only delivered in prosaic terms, the problem of thinking wayyyyy too much about politics would exist so long as looking at a phone was more interesting than doing nothing. And just about anything can surpass doing nothing.

your life doesn’t revolve around Twitter. But for many of the people “capitulating” to the “Twitter mob,” their life is significantly lived on Twitter.

Now, you may say this is stupid, that they should invest in the physical world. You may be right. Your initial point, though, wasn’t a normative one. Instead, it was a claim that the millennial in question was overreacting to something that didn’t matter … except that what happens on Twitter does truly matter to them.

This dynamic is similar to most times when you downplay another’s anguish. You shouldn’t care so much about your 16-year-old boyfriend; Who cares about that stupid stuffed animal – it’s just a toy; Stop crying over something so minor. Incidents of this variety are mere projections of how you would feel if you were the person in question. But of course you aren’t that person, and you don’t have his experiences and preferences. So, if anything, you should be attempting to understand why the thing you view as trivial is far from trivial for someone else. You still may up being correct that the person should reprioritize, but rarely will you find irrationality in the suffering.

that have enabled so many elder athletes to continue excelling past their expected primes. Perhaps, instead, it’s the coddling of younger generations that’s produced a bevy of mentally weak challengers. It’s not like health improvements have made 35-year-old athletes more physically fit than their 20-year-old counterparts. And it’s not like experience was irrelevant in previous generations. Which leaves the way kids used to be mentally cultivated versus how they are today (and there is absolutely a difference – we once widely beat our kids) as the explanatory factor.

If you can sharpen your media criticism from “untrustworthy” to “untrustworthy for x,y,z reasons and on a,b,c topics,” you’ll be in a powerful position to sort the news appropriately while also enhancing your critical thinking skills.

  1. You should hear the best one-sided argument for the untrustworthy matters
  2. You should be able to spot the angles intentionally not being pursued
  3. You can think of the questions that should have been asked
  4. You can try to form on-the-fly counter-arguments
  5. You can assume information based on omission

Your truth is true but not necessarily TRUE.

Let’s accept that this one number from this one study is accurate: 6.25% of e-commerce transactions are attempted (or successful) fraud.

Now imagine we have three internet consumers:

  • Buyer #1 has completed 100 transactions and 6 of them were fraudulent.
  • Buyer #2 has completed 25 transactions and 3 of them were fraudulent.
  • Buyer #3 has never completed 500 transactions and 0 of them were fraudulent.

Each buyer has a truth about e-commerce. Each of those truths is based on real experiences and real feelings. But only Buyer #1 is likely to have his truth correctly map onto TRUTH. Buyer #2, on the other hand, is likely to have overlearned the lesson that fraud is possible due to his unlucky set of outcomes; if he transacted 1000 more times we would confidently expect his 12% fraud rate to drop by 50%. Sadly, those 1000 transactions may never occur since Buyer #2’s truth blinds him from TRUTH. We can dub him too skeptical, which protects his downside at the expense of his upside. Buyer #3 suffers the opposite fate. After a remarkable string of good luck, Buyer #3 is too trusting, which exposes him to all upside and downside.


Your truth is true but not necessarily TRUE.

If you had a particularly unlucky run of events, you “overlearned” about risk and probably hold a personal truth that limits downside at the expense of upside. Think of an online shopper who bought five straight fraudulent products and declares he’ll never shop online again.

On the other hand, if you had an extremely lucky run, you have “underleaned” about risk and probably hold a personal truth that maximizes upside by being completely exposed to downside. Think of a person who has never been ripped off or robbed and so stops locking his doors.

One should want his truth to correctly map onto TRUTH. Determining if you are remotely close to the meeting this standard is the challenge of a lifetime.

You think Bob is terrible. This is so incandescently obvious that you can’t help but view disagreers as delusional.

What is most confusing are people who agree with your reasons for hating Bob – he never shows up on time, he fails to pay off debts, he cheated on five girlfriends – and yet who still support Bob. That is, they aren’t so far gone to deny the reality of Bob’s transgressions, but rather they reach a different conclusion from the same set of facts.

The notion of a “same set of facts” can still be true when we consider the matter of Bob’s positives. Everyone – yes, everyone – has positives. The same goes for news sources, politicians, public intellectuals, corporations, etc. To be disqualified, the bad has to so outweigh the good. And in the case of Bob, you’ve run the numbers and there should be no debate. Yet there is. How?


Boredom’s Texture

Blank page so blank. Where do ideas go? Where do they come from? How can I be brimming w/ them in one moment, and then empty in the next? What do you do when you have nothing to do? Being alone with options is quite different than the state w/o options. People are always an option. Sitting with someone is something in a way that sitting alone never can be.

There’s so much time. So much. Hilariously much. How do we ever think there isn’t enough? We schedule our lives so we don’t have to confront that truth. Be alone w/ no options and you are forced to confront it.

Whenever you feel like you have no options, there’s always a lower level to reach, but the level where you are cold, without electricity, and without the ability to anywhere to change those facts is a rather low level indeed.

Suffering is infinitely more bearable when you know the expiration date. 



I want a vice, because I want something to look forward to. I know, I know: be in the moment and all that jazz. The moment can be just so damn boring. This observation may well be the inevitable byproduct of testing isolation’s limits. Answer: there is a limit, and I’ve found it.

Nope, I can’t be the man who runs a one-man mission to Mars or elsewhere one-man missions are required. I simply don’t have the right stuff. I now know this. But I also now question if that is really the right stuff. Congratulations that you’ve managed to survive all alone, thrive even, but can you ever thrive as grandly alone as in the company of others? I’m tending to think “no.”

then it seems foolish to suggest that the solution rests in expanding the bad practice and objectifying men. Maybe it can be argued that by subjecting others to suffering, they will be motivated to end the suffering, and thus this bad practice expansion is simply one step back, two steps forward. And I can appreciate that when you yourself have been subjected to a bad practice, you may just want to see the world burn. Still, the loss of moral legitimacy – calling something bad and then proceeding to cheer for more of it – is an untenable price: Americans are a forgiving bunch, but not when it comes to hypocrites.