0108 – future as escapism

12 sept

Feel the urge to tidy up, to have a landing page. But life is messy! It’ll never be possible to tidy up years of mess! Well- what if I simply delete the non-essential? I believe that I’ve downloaded a backup of my blogs.

There’s a constant fear of losing what I’ve got. But why not lose it, really? How much is essential? How much can I afford to simply carve away? Most of it, surely! If I were forced to start from scratch I probably could. So why not do that? It feels a little dramatic and a little traumatic. Surely such extreme measures are not necessary! But what if these are simply ways for me to cling on to my self worth?

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The future is a source of escapism from the present. Romanticized. Avoid doing what needs to be done just paint rosy picture. I’ve wanted to do a summary of everything Elon Musk has said but that’s a bit of a daunting project and not at all a priority. It strikes me as something that doesn’t get done- by me or anybody else, to a standard that I believe would actually be worth reading- because it requires a time commitment that doesn’t make sense. The process of assimilating Elon’s thoughts in a way that is genuinely useful will peehaps direct a person to action rather than contemplation. You’d be too busy building something that matters.

I have too much nonsense on my plate and I spend too much stuff rearranging everything instead of taking the bites that I need to take. Okay so if I’m going to take a bite of anything, what should I bite? I need to figure out how to activate my credits. So let’s try doing that now.

Busy. Do it when I get home. Why do I want to write the things I want to write? Because I want to be perceived as smart, witty, intelligent. That’s the main thing. Secondly I want to help make a difference. More often than not the stuff I want to say has already been said, and it’s easier to simply point to What’s been said than it is to start from scratch. Up till now I’ve convinced myself that the pursuit of articulating something is a worthy end in itself- you develop your mind. While this remains true, I think it makes a lot more sense to focus on creating value for my employers and colleagues, who’re actually paying me and counting on my help. I owe them my fullest attention.

I have too many to-do lists and apps and whatnot. I convince myself that sorting stuff out will make it easier for me to act. But really all I need is to draw out a urgent/important matrix and just follow that. I have been doing non-urgent and unimportant things because it’s easier. I’ve been optimizing for short term comfort instead of long term sustainability. Story of my life. I’m only writing this now because there aren’t very many better things I can do with my commute. Otherwise I shouldn’t spend any time on it. I shouldn’t be on Quora, it’s not worth my time at the moment. It feels good sure, but not as good as crushing it at work. Which is what I ought to be doing, which is where I ought to be getting my personal fulfillment from. When I get home I’m going to sit my wife down and explain my situation to her so I can get her input and advice.

Decluttering needs to be done. Focus.

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Cigarettes are horrible. You don’t realize it when you’re a smoker but they really fuck you up. It gets in the skin of your face. It burns your lips. It chars your throat. It coagulates your mucus and makes it dank and gooey, viscous. You start to get body aches. You subconsciously squint a lot to keep the smoke out of your eyes, and it stains them. Your teeth get stained yellow. You get calculus deposits. Your entire nervous system gets duller. You don’t really feel the wind on your skin anymore. You forget how food smells, tastes. Your skin gets dry. It cracks. You get ulcers and sores in your mouth. You forget the pleasure of your partner’s scent as she sits next to you. You forget the pleasure of a deep breath of fresh air.

When you stop smoking your mouth feels likr it’s moulting- shedding a layer of toxic death to reveal one that’s fresh, alive.

Your field of vision expands and everything looks more colorful. This can be a little overwhelming at first and it might make you feel like smoking again for the comfort of focus. It seems like you can’t focus on anything. It’s normal. Your brain’s finally getting some oxygen. Everything starts to look brighter and more colorful. It looks like a different world. My guess is that this has to do with nicotine being a depressant- it makes everything dull.

Nicotine is a psychoactive chemical.

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So tired. I was talking about how I think that there are similarities between social media addiction, cigarette addiction and procrastination.

Procrastination is the general state. I imagine this state can be explored in many ways- playing games, online shopping, scrolling through tumblr/reddit/9gag. The details here are irrelevant. The point is that we have some things that we intellectually know or believe that we ought to do, but we avoid doing them and do other things instead. To some degree it helps to eliminate the distractions- you can’t smoke cigarettes you don’t have. That said, no amount of not-smoking will take you on a run and put healthy food down your throat. (Smoking is a bit of a unique and possibly tedious example because it’s literally damaging to your health…)

Let’s use homework and Tumblr. No amount of not-tumblring will get your homework done. Assuming you want to do well in school, it makes more sense to spend your resources optimizing for homework done rather than tumblr-not-scrolled.

Two thoughts- what is it that makes procrastination more alluring than the work of responsibilities, and can we somehow reverse that? Homework is generally lame, and I’m willing to write it off as incurably painful/boring… but I also procrastinate when it comes to things like writing or practicing guitar. Why do I do that? Things like not getting up, not going for a run…

What’s the reason? If we did absolutely nothing, there’s no complication- tiredness or inertia explains it. Can’t do anything. But why are we able to surf tumblr instead of work?

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