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You write, “It’s like I keep figuring this shit out, and then forgetting it immediately.” That’s not your strange little personal problem. That’s not what makes you uniquely fucked. That’s a universal truth, a fundamental dimension of the human condition. You know who feels that way? You, me and everyone we know. Fucking OPRAH feels that way, or she’d have fallen asleep while interviewing Deepak Chopra a long, long time ago.
So: We can all continue to be controlled by the ILLUSION that this is not how it is for everybody else. We can decide that we hate our jobs because we are SINGULARLY stubborn and lazy and bored. We can decide that we quit things because we are UNUSUALLY unable to deal. We can get angry at ourselves, over and over again, because we are uncertain and full of longing. Or we can wake up and notice that this is a common thread of human existence, easily traceable through history (although perhaps less true of people who had to, say, wake at dawn and plow the fields, which is why Viktor Frankl always advocated structuring a depressed person’s day with lots of hard labor and very little time to reflect).
Did I mention that we’re in conflict with ourselves? We’re in conflict with ourselves because we want A MEANING WE CAN MEMORIZE, but we also DISTRUST ALL MEANINGS, memorizable or otherwise.
[…] What I’m trying to tell you is that life is fucking hard and messy for everyone, and there is no quick way to memorize a little motto or jingle that will see you through the messiness and the melancholy. No one will save you. No one will make you feel whole.
[…] You must stop trying to fix things, and start trying to love what’s not completely fixed. You must be flawed and scattered, in as active a way as possible. Your work is to find some place for flaws and maudlin scatteredness. Find your own craft, and maybe even find your own messy fucking catchphrase, too.
In fact, maybe snappy messages and catchphrases aren’t so bad after all. Maybe we hate them because most of them feel so willfully blind to how it feels to be a person in the world. But maybe you can cobble together a message that you really believe in. Maybe you can look at what you fear the most in yourself, and love that part of you instead. You may not feel love, but you will be resolved to show yourself love anyway. You will stop using harsh terms to summarize your glory — your unique, off-kilter glory. Or maybe you’ll still use harsh terms but you’ll imbue them with glory, somehow. You’ll appropriate the most soul-sucking messages that were ever used against you: YOU WILL COME ON THEIR HAMPTON BLOUSE AND MOVE ON.
Let yourself ramble. Let out the full scope of who you are. Find your own meaning, and memorize it. Let your meaning be scrappy and misshapen enough that you can feel love for it. Get up in the morning and open the window and say:
I AM MAUDLIN AND BRUTAL AND BRAVE.
Say it like you mean it, until you mean it. Suspend your disbelief. Then get to work.
By the way, in case you didn’t know, Ask Polly is absolutely the most important thing on the internet that isn’t baby animals, .gifs of Harry Styles giving/receiving hugs, or decent and affectionate pornography.
I still want to know how everyone agreed on “to hide Anakin Skywalker’s son, let’s take him to Anakin’s home planet, leave him with Anakin’s family, and not change his last name from ‘Skywalker’”
Vader double-checks the intel sent his way. scoffs. “it’s totally a trap. no way in hell am I gonna let those assholes think I’d fall for that one.” deletes the file. they neglected to so much as change the damned name—
AND IT IS SO MISERABLE IN HINDSIGHT
Jack: “well I wanna catch [the Ripper] now, and when I do, you’re not gonna get a chance to shoot him, ‘cause I’m gonna do that.”
Will: “you can’t just jack up the law and get underneath it.”
Jack: “can’t I?”
The mistake people make when they talk about not being able to trust Wikipedia is in the implicit assumption that we could trust encyclopedias as infallible sources before Wikipedia.
I like Wikipedia because I know it could be wrong. Regular encyclopedias can be wrong, too, but my guard was never up in the same way with them as it is with Wikipedia. I like Internet media specifically for the reason that Aaron Sorkin doesn’t like it: because it makes it that much more difficult for me to have any illusions about the fact that the burden of critical thought is on me.
I don’t automatically trust bloggers because a group of people I’ve never met decided to give them a badge that says “reporter” on it. I don’t turn off my critical thinking because they’ve gotten to be some sort of “professional”. I have to judge them on the merits of their writing and history of thoughtfulness or thoughtlessness alone. That is a feature, not a bug, because we should never trust any news media outlet implicitly."
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