On following others:
School is following others. Culture instills following others. Corporations, countries, and organizations require following others. Following others is not for the individual. It’s for the safety of the herd.
On freedom and the individual:
I need the freedom to express. I need the freedom to explore. I need the freedom to create. These are only taught by the world’s best teachers. Learn to learn from yourself or risk living someone else’s version of your life.
Tonight I begin 30 days as a carnivore. I told a bunch of friends today. Before each conversation, I requested no comments or concerns. Chelsea is excited for me. Jackson wants me to blog about it. Michael believes:
- I’m unlikely to cause significant harm
- I should take a multivitamin and get my cholesterol checked.
Classic Michael, prioritizing my health over my requests.
At Whole Foods, I purchased $38.79 of meat:
1.12lbs Pork Belly
1.08lbs Ground Beef
1.24lbs Ribeye Steak
0.37 lbs Pork Chops
Tonight, at 1am, I complete a three-day fast. Then, for at least 30 days, I shall eat:
Salt & pepper
If I want to “cheat”, I shall expand to:
My final rung of falling further:
Huh, these are all the items I tend toward anyway…
Wish me luck.
Want to hear about a specific aspect of this experiment? Send me a message or tack on a comment. It helps me know how to tailor my writing.
You drove for 7 hours. Got gas twice. Called 9 friends. 498 miles down, 34 to go.
Yes, that few. Only 38 mins.
But you’re tired. It’s 11pm. Why rush?
Pull over. Crack the windows. Listen to Neil Young. Sleep a full night.
Enjoy a final stretch. Then, tomorrow, finish it.
I asked her out, hoping she’d say no. Well, not hoping beforehand, but I was happier after her rejection than I would have been otherwise.
We were in the grocery store. She inspected a can of Campbell’s soup. She replaced the can it back and grabbed another. I asked, “Good read?”
“Not really,” she said.
I asked what she was looking for.
“Sugar,” she said. “It’s in everything.”
“I gave it up for Lent.”
“Do you always give something up for lent?”
“Yeah, it’s like a second shot at a New Year’s Resolution.”
I asked if she’d enjoy grabbing coffee. She said she has a boyfriend, “but it’s still nice to talk in the grocery store.”
Walking away, I celebrated. I hadn’t asked her out because I wanted to go on a date with her. I had asked her out because I decided to start dating again. Asking someone out is uncomfortable, so you’ve gotta hurdle it at your first opportunity.
Making the self suffer is a cornerstone of many successful philosophies:
I was prompted to consider this strategy by Conan O’Brien on his podcast with Stephen Colbert. Both Catholics, they described intentionally putting themselves through strife. “I did hairshirt behavior,” Colbert says (34:37).
Conan (36:27): “This is pain… where any normal person would tell you, any therapist would say, ‘This suffering is unnecessary. You achieved nothing with this suffering.”… I put myself through a lot of torture. And here’s the crazy thing: what happens when you do that and then magical things start to happen for you? You can’t see me because it’s a podcast, but Stephen just pointed his finger at me as if to say, ‘You nailed it.’”
Stephen, a few lines later: “It works.”
Conan: “What I hate, I hate… I hate thait it fucking works.”
Stephen: “And the magical thinking magically thinks that magical thinking worked.”
Conan: “It’s the biggest fight I’ve had over the last five years with therapists and friends.” … “Therapists have said, ‘You don’t need the suffering.’ and I 80% believe them and I’m 20% like, ‘what the fuck do you know?'”
Is making yourself suffer a strategy for improving? Does it work? Comments greatly appreciated.
1. Punctuating outside the quotation marks.
E.g.: The man told me, “You ain’t never been to Nashville ’til you been to Graceland”.
I’m still unsure about double-punctuating, e.g. She asked me, “What happened?”. I told her, “Sherol yelled, “Help!”. Open to thoughts.
2. Hyphenating -LY adverb constructions.
E.g.: “The greatly-appreciated man showed the onlookers around his gardens.”
Grammar is for clarity. this exception does not help with clarity.
More to come.
As a kid, I’d schedule a play date weeks in advance. These days, even when after confirming a reptile festival the day before, I still assume a 50-50 chance my friend bails. When he does, 8am day-of, I’m annoyed. I’m confused. How much is him and how much is changing culture?
I’m not here to tell you, “Something is lost.” It is, but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s simply that some things have changed:
- We’ve lost certainty and confidence.
- We’ve gained flexibility and opportunism.
- We’ve lost reliability and comfort.
- We’ve gained the more frequent upgrades.
- We’ve lost security in friendships.
- We’ve gained the freedom to follow our whims.
If people still lock down plans, I don’t know them. My friends might be outliers, or perhaps the Bay Area’s incessant climbing keeps everyone on the lookout for upgrades. Or maybe this experience is a worldwide phenomenon. Faster communication means more rapidly changing circumstances.
No matter the reason, I must adjust. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Negative punishment can easily become mis-associated. In this case, to self-blame:
- “What did I do that made him cancel?”
- “What’s wrong with me that made him cancel?”
I try not to see it in those ways. I try to see it as the new world order. I think that’s accurate, but I’m not sure. Are you?
Why do I consistently wait until the last minute to complete work? (I recently completed my largest project of all time. I had over a month to complete what amounted to 44 hours of work, yet I still crunched through 38 hours in the final two days, staying up until 5:30 am and evolving into a giddy, manic machine).
- Being in time-crunch is thrilling and I enjoy a good rush.
- It makes work take less time, and I don’t like work. (Since I don’t have time to lollygag or double-back, I don’t lollygag or double back).
- “That’s a problem for future-Julian, and what has that guy ever done for me?”
- I’m a lazy fuck… who does what he promises. (I would never do it, but that’s not an option so I come as close as possible.)
- The system works so I have no incentive to change it.
- You never know when the teacher will change the assignment last minute. Did I say “teacher”? I meant “customer”. They’re shockingly similar.