Friday, April 23, 2010

Quick Takes: One Thing At A Time

I've been rather hyped-up on self-discovery and analyzation in the last two years.

So, in early 2009, I was quite excited to feel that I made some sort of breakthrough and solved a piece of my life-puzzle.

It goes like this:

A) I was feeling extremely depressed and unhappy with almost everything.
B) I wanted to find a solution to my depression.
C) The one thing I could think of that made me happy was being creative.
D) Therefore to me, being creative was akin to being happy.
E) And, therefore, I decided to do as many creative projects as possible in 2009.
F) That would solve everything and I would be happy.

Makes sense, no?

If I recall the moments in my life where I feel the most positive, it would be those moments where I am working on new music (generally for myself).

So, with that theory in mind, I set out to incorporate as many new forms of creative self-expression into my life.

I began writing more, working on humorous t-shirt ideas, coming up with web comic ideas (which have not come to light yet since lo-ku beat me to the punch!) and starting a series of new musical side projects.

Yeah! That will keep me busy. And more importantly, it will help to alleviate my crippling depression.



Wrong? Why?

A month or so ago, I figured out another key element to that puzzle that was out of place.

Through the process of overloading myself with as many projects as possible, I began to notice that I got less done. In fact, a lot less. My mind was scattered across multiple ideas, and had trouble focusing. I was intimidated and had trouble starting any of them.

Also, at my day job, I took on some new tasks for a while that soon proved something that I had not known about myself:

I am not a multitasker.


After several life examples of my non-multitasking (or shite) abilities, I saw that I am at my best when I have a single goal to focus my mind on, otherwise, I get overwhelmed with options and possibilities, and then nothing gets done.

So my goal of doing as many creative projects as possible as a solution to my depression was a good one; but it left out one important discovery about the kind of person I am.

A uni-tasker.

So, are YOU really a multitasker?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Quick Takes: Stupid People

I bumped into an old acquaintance, and began, against my will, a dull small-talk conversation.

This situation was bad for two reasons:
1) I'm irritated by small-talk
2) I thought this girl was an idiot

Regardless of my feelings for this person (or lack thereof) I played nice, and kept up the conversation. But for my own amusement, I tried to see what interesting psychological observations I could pull out from her.

As we awkwardly chatted about what we've been up to, the topic steered into her work, and her frustrations of dealing with her co-workers:

"It's just like everybody else just doesn't get it, you know? I have all these ideas, but no one else can understand them. It's just so irritating!"

I feigned understanding, and nodded as if in agreement. She continued.

"I just hate working with stupid people, you know?"

I stared at her for a moment with my eyes wide and one eyebrow raised, before I caught myself and returned to a look of understanding (while holding back a laugh).

Did she really say she hates stupid people?

Is she aware that she, in my opinion, is an idiot?

Which got me thinking.

I bet everyone, if asked, would say they hate stupid people. Even those that you and I would find impossibly stupid, would say they hate stupid people. No matter how stupid you may appear to be to others, there are always those that are stupider than that. And even THOSE people hate stupid people!

What a funny example of our flawed self-perceptions. We generally like to think of ourselves as smart, or deep, or interesting, but are we?

If this little fictitious hierarchy of the ever-stupider has any merit, then to someone, somewhere, you, yourself, are a complete idiot too.

Yes, think about that. Regardless of your personal convictions, to someone, you are a fucking moron.

I guess we're all stupid then, or no one is.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Quick Takes: What Does It Mean?

It was one of the coldest nights of the whole winter; somewhere below zero.

I finished work that evening, headed out to my car in the parking lot, opened the door and turned the key.


Nothing at all.

I paused for a second, eyes slowly widening, and tried it again.

"C'mon damnit! You started fine today!"

Again, not a sound, not a click, not a rev.

After some phone calls made in vain, I grabbed the shipment of books that I had picked up earlier from the post office, zipped up my not-made-for-real-winter leather jacket and started on my walk home.

As I walked through the the frigid arctic weather that instantly froze my eyebrows, I began to wonder about the situation.

"What an awful time for my car to die on me," I thought out loud.

And it was, no doubt about that.

Pushing on through the bitter cold, the analyst in me kept pushing for a reason behind my current circumstances.

"I wonder why this happened now? Is this something bigger than I think it is? Is this, perhaps, a sign of some sort? Whoa... maybe it is. What could I have done to bring this on?"

I glanced down at the parcel I was carrying. It contained several books on atheism, critical thinking, logic and science. I laughed.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" I asked myself as I realized the error in my thinking.

Sure, my car did not start up that night, and on quite and inopportune one to boot. But what about the other thousand times it started up fine? Were those a sign of something too? If not, why not?

Cars are mechanical devices which will eventually be prone to break down. It just happens. No cosmic significance, no fate, no supernatural intervention.

We are all prone to errors in thinking. No exceptions. Just because we WANT there to be purposeful reasons behind our world, especially when we do not understand them, does not mean that there are.

It's a wonderful lesson in humility to understand that not every minute detail of the universe is aimed at teaching me, an insignificant sarcastic elitist, about some trivial aspect of my life.

So what does it all mean?

Absolutely nothing. Now finish walking home, and go fix your car.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Quick Takes: Think Positive!

I had been beset by two abdominal hernias within a few months of each other, almost went completely broke, was still reeling from an emotional relationship breakup, and was becoming so depressed and bitter about life I had recently contemplated suicide.

Needless to say, good times.

Even with all of the shit I've experienced in the last two years, I really hate emotional pandering.

Recently, someone asked me a very traditional and unassuming thing:

"Hey, Niko. How are you."

I stared at them with a subtly changing expression that conveyed my conflicting emotional state.

"Ehhhh..." I said, shrugging.

They looked concerned. (Why I don't know, as I usually respond it such a manner).

"Why is that?" She asked.

I touched lightly over the idea that I was completely unhappy with my life in general.

She seemed to sympathize with me, but added, "Yeah, but you gotta think positive, you know?"

.....Wait, what did you just say?

Think positive?!


What are people really saying when they tell you to "think positive"?

To me, this idea of thinking positive, just for the sake of thinking positive, is in error.

Telling me to think positive about something, is, in a way, like telling me to be in denial about all of the facts of the given situation.

"Be in denial!"

Hmmm, you know what? No thanks.

Sure, I probably skew things too far in favor of the negative, and that's not mentally healthy either. Both perspectives are equally biased.

Thinking positively about something that is unlikely to turn out positively will potentially lead to your disappointment. (Disappointment is bad, remember?)

My goal is to learn how to think realistically and clearly, with as little emotional bias as possible.

Sure we always WANT things to turn out for the best, but that does not mean that they always do.

Life is full of both positive and negative experiences, and many colors in between. To only look at it from one perspective gives you blinders, effectively keeping out most of the real content of life.

I know she meant well by telling me to "think positive," but all I hear is, "Niko, ignore reality. That's what I do."


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Sunday, February 14, 2010

REPOST: Valentines Day Musings

I originally wrote the following essay two years ago.

I had just been broken up with after a fun and odd rollercoaster relationship, and felt compelled to say something about this day of chocolates and paper hearts.

I resubmit the following for your... amusement? No. Enjoyment? No. Bitter cynicism? Maybe.

I've also written a new contribution to the essay in italics below, dealing with my one good Valentines day, which I did not feel like talking about when I wrote this originally.


I was going back and forth debating whether or not to post anything in regards to Valentines Day. I know it's an easy topic to criticize, and I'm betting that there will be a significant number of blogs posted today with more or less the same sentiment, nevertheless, I have observations that I wanted to get collected as well.

I've only had one good Valentines Day. One in. . . .well. . . .a good handful anyway.

It was valentines day 2007.

Myself, and a friend of mine decided to attend a local goth/industrial club for two reasons:

A) We knew most of the staff, and DJs, and...

B) We were likely looking for an easy way to not be at home, yet again, on a Valentines day. (Which I had done for almost every one I can remember).

As we pulled up to park, a bartender in the scene, and mutual friend of ours, pulled up beside us. We chatted lightly about what she was up to,  and she mentioned coming from a concert where her recent dating-person (he wasn't really a boyfriend... is there a better name?) had performed.

She seemed disappointed, as after the show, this gentleman seemed much more interested in talking with fawning young girls, than paying any attention to her.

So, wisely, she left, and came to the club.

Inside, my friend and I drank (as one does) and walked the rooms chatting with acquaintances, and occasionally dancing to the random odd song.

When I glanced over at the bar, I saw my bartender friend, sitting down and drinking, looking very forlorn.

Her whole body language said that she was more hurt by the situation than she wanted to let on.

"Maybe I should say something?" I thought to myself.

Once I finally decided to talk to her, the music changed from up-tempo electro dance-whatever, to a slow ballad. Specifically, Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You".

Perfect, I thought.

Nervously, I approached her, and somehow, managed to pull her away from her depressed drinking, and onto the floor with me (though it did take some convincing).

Suddenly the two of us were there, in the dark, slow dancing to Mazzy Star, and the feelings were wonderfully exciting.

We would glance into each other's eyes with a sort of knowing, and confusion; both of us smiling, unable to hide the fact that we had each come to a new realization about each other.

As if out of nowhere.

In that one beautiful moment, we had seen each other in a new light, and connected in an emotional way, that up until then, had never existed. 

Jumping to the conclusion: a few weeks later we started dating.

That was my only good Valentines day so far, but I still can look back with rose-colored glasses.


I miss that feeling.

Ever since I was old enough to have the concept of love mean something to me, I began to place a small bit of importance to February 14th. I was inundated with commercials, movies, music and books that pushed idealized love, and for that matter, a particular day to show that love.

At the beginning, this was all taken for granted. But as many of you find when growing up and dealing with reality, and people, you begin to lose your glossy outlook on life, and unfortunately, love.

The easiest thing to say here (and coincidentally, the most obvious) is that Valentines Day is just that. A Day. Just another day in which many companies desperately plot to sell their wares to you, and even more clever, make you feel guilty for not purchasing their wares. Similar to the many other yearly staple of obligatory holidays like Christmas, father's/mother's day, birthdays, halloween, and the biggest offender of all, Canada Day!

Knowing full well that most of these holidays are now entirely driven by companies and their "must have" goods, does not change the fact that this day is built around the fallacy of idealized love.

You've probably noticed, but most people's relationships are not like the movies.

Many couples get together as a mistake, or as a result of too much alcohol.

Most couples won't last, and the ones that do often stay together, not because of true love, or even regular love.

Comfortability is a common bond. Staying together because it's easy. Or staying together out of fear of the unknown.

Sometimes it's worse.

Sometimes they stay together for only physical attraction when they fight, scream, hurt, abuse and cheat on one another regularly.

Good times.

Why don't they show that couple on commercials? That's at least real.

I can tell you personally that having the notion of idealized, perfect love has not helped me in my strange journey through life. Trust me, it's a beautiful concept and when displayed in stories, songs and film, it is everything you ever hoped for. But the side effects are that we get these ideals in our subconscious, and forever distort our more healthy, grounded understanding of two people interacting, into something that can never be obtained, leaving us forever unsatisfied and unfulfilled.

But wait - there's more!

The result of all this Valentines Day hulabaloo, is actually often the opposite of the original intention, by only causing those without a relationship to feel lonely and unworthy, just in its inherent nature.

This feeling can also make us question ourselves, and put in a need for finding a significant other. What this is basically telling me in so many words, is that I am no good on my own, and if 'everyone else' is in a relationship, therefore so must I be.

Not really the best affirmation for self-empowerment is it?

What about those of us in a relationship during the obligatory "you better do something nice for me" day? Does it really offer the great romantic potential that we see plastered all over our TV screens? I'm going to go ahead and just say 'no' here.

I think that many a "V-day" has the chance to be pleasant and nice, but I'm going to wager that the truth of the matter is that it's really more stress and disappointment then anything else.

How romantic can it be to receive a gift or gesture of affection when it is subliminally required?

Hell, it's not even subliminal, it's direct and shoved down your throat!

Back to the matter, yes, it's always nice to be thought of. But it's not quite as thoughtful when you realize that they were supposed to think of you; in a way, required to think of you.

Isn't what in part makes something romantic the fact that it is not fully expected? Getting a gift from someone on a random day to show they were just thinking of you seems to me a greater sign of that person's interest in you. That, or they are cheating and feeling guilty.

I'm trying to stay with the former here.

Many of these holidays have far too much expectation built around them.

Once there is the requirement to do something or buy something for someone, expectations set in and forever skew your enjoyment of said gestures. Either it was not good enough, or it was the same as last year, or the same as an ex-lover who you are not on good terms with, or you just end up feeling guilty because your lover made more effort than you, and made you feel that your mindless contribution to the monetary obligation machine was less then.

And yet, with all of this very heady talk of analyzing this and that, and fully realizing that this day has no power or real meaning, my emotions still get the best of me and for whatever reason, make me wish I still had someone to feel obligated to buy something for.

You might also be interested in:

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Link Between Sports And Religion

First time reading The King Of Deprecation? You might also want to check out the 10 "best" essays of 2009 to get your feet/genitals wet.

Sometimes inspiration for an observation about how we think and believe, comes from seemingly trivial sources. In this case, Facebook.

A fun, and unexpected series of connect the dots led me to answer the following question:

"What could possibly be similar between sports and religion?"

You'll have to read on to find out...


Quickly glancing through Facebook posts during any sports season, I see a million pro-Broncos posts (yes, very good, I'm in Denver) and many other anti-Raiders and Vikings (fill in the rest) posts, or, depending on the time of year, pro Rockies, Nuggets and Avalanche.

"We're going to kick [rival team's] ass!!"

"I bet I can find 1,000,000 people who hate [random rival team]!!!"

The same is expressed in person.

...Well not TO me, but around me.

I see and overhear, quite often, people getting very worked up about their team, while talking negatively about "hating" a rival team, and wanting terrible violent things to happen to them. (very sportsman like).

Most everyone knows I don't give a shit about sports by now. But what does interest me, is why people are drawn to the team they like. (It's the colors right? Hey! Now I get why people like sports so much! Look at those awesome colors go!!!)

What became quite obvious, was the fact that most of the time, people do not actually choose the team they want to like. It is already chosen for them.


Seriously. Did they spend days and weeks, combing through player stats, backgrounds, personalities, watching highlight reels (or reading Highlights magazine), and deducing which team really was the best, BEFORE choosing to cheer for that team?

Is there really a best team?

Well, one team will win the super bowl each year, but over time that team will change.

People seem to be unaware of the idea that they have not consciously chosen the team they become so passionate about, even when they cover their walls in Fathead posters of groin-bulging players and carnivore-logo'ed helmets (carnivores, you know, because they are aggressive predators, which makes them, you know, cool. I'd like to make a new team someday, with the logo being a smiling non-threatening grandmother next to a few blades of grass with motion lines. INTENSE!!!).

Sorry. Digression.

With so much passion and interest rooting for your team, it may come as a surprise that liking that team was not a choice at all. In fact, it may be completely subconscious and, in a sort of orwellian-sounding-way, programmed into you.


As I thought about people's excitement for particular teams and passionate "hatred" of other teams, not being a fan of any of them, it seemed rather odd. And silly. (Mostly that).

Again, was one team objectively more "hatable" than another?

Some teams do not play as well as others, sure, but over time that can, and often does turn around with the addition of new teammates and coaches.

So why one team over another?

How do we "choose"?

I smiled when I saw the correlation between how one is raised, and what one tended to think, feel, and want.

Our upbringing plays a hugely significant role in shaping us as individuals.

In fact, a lot of what can make a romantic relationship work between two people can be a similarity in the way they were both raised, cared for, and encouraged as children. (Interesting eh?)

So, if your parents were big Broncos fans, what is the likelihood that you will become a Broncos fan?

Fairly high, my friend.

Such is the power of influence, especially at an early age.

Everything your parents do, say and think is right. They know everything.

If they tell you that "the president is an idiot," well, not knowing anything about politics, and not knowing how to research facts on your own to come up with a unique opinion, you might take your parent's statement to grade school, and tell all of the children that, "the president is an idiot!" with strong conviction.

Do you know why?


But it does not matter to you.

After all, your parents told you that, and your parents do not lie.

DAD: "The Redwings suck! GO AVALANCHE!!!"


CHILD: My opinion, which I came to on my own, is that the Redwings suck. That's my PERSONAL opinion.


Obviously, people can make up their own minds about things, and do all the time.

As I paced around my room thinking about the influences that bring us to like one team over another, I thought it kind of funny that one of the main factors that likely influences your choice of team is simply location.

More than likely, you cheer for the team that represents your region, state, city, or college.

Though it is usually emblazened on the uniform of whatever team is playing, we have a tendency to ignore the significance of the location of the team, as being one of the primary factors in what gets us to feel part of something.

Seeing people post online about "GO THIS TEAM!!" and "THAT TEAM SUCKS!!!", I began thinking how different things would be for those same individuals if they had just been born in a different place.

If they are a Denver Broncos fan now, one would assume they live in Denver, or at least somewhere in Colorado. But what would happen if they'd simply been born, and then lived in another state, perhaps, I don't know, say, Wisconsin.

Would they still be a Broncos fan?

Probably not. There would be no reason to be. It would be like rooting for the enemy, for the outsiders. And one thing we don't do is root for is the suspicious, thieving, filthy, evil outsider.

They would be a cheesehead, a Packers fan.

Simply by changing where one is born and where one lives, changes very strong opinions about their personal passions.

We'd all like to think that we make a conscious decision to like what we like because it is the best choice. Unfortunately, we are much more subconsciously malleable than that (by the way, that means shapable, like clay. You're welcome).

All that passion and hatred for another rival team would probably be completely different if your parents had liked another team, and if you'd been born in another place.

So much for objectivity in what we feel and think, eh?

Location. Crazy.

Things suddenly don't seem so clear cut anymore.


Take that same principle about location within a geographical area affecting your personal "choice" of teams, and let's move it onto the world stage.

Now let's imagine that hypothetical person who could easily switch their deeply-ingrained passion for the Broncos, just because of being born in another state, and move them to another country. (All expenses paid!)

No... being born there.

Now a big part of that person's former identity as a football fan, would now be morphed into their identity as a... football fan... but actual, literal football this time. Or for us Americans, Soccer. (Or for those in the deep south "Gay Foot").

American football is pretty much isolated to, you guessed it, America.

However European football is a phenomenon all across the world. (Which why I should not call it European. Whoops! Too late).

By being born overseas, the Bronco fan in another life could now be a Manchester United fan, with all the same passions, feeling of "choice", and hatred for rival teams they possessed before.

The more something stupidly-simple like location is examined as an influence in who we are, what we think, what we care about, and how we behave, the more I come to question how much of myself has been intentional.

And that starts to upset me.

How much of how I see myself, my values, my morals, my interests, my humor, and more are simply products of where I live, and how I was raised? Two things I have no control over.

Humbling stuff.

And then, as I sat down for my morning porcelain meditation, thinking about how sports fervor was entirely subjective and based upon upbringing and location, it struck me...

This sounds very familiar.

What else does this sound like?

Ah, yes. Of course.


Several of my more religious friends, along with countless religious people on Youtube, will often post that Jesus Christ, and The Holy Bible is the only way to truth.

That Jehovah/Yahweh/Jesus' Dad is the one true God.

They will put up quotes and defenses, and passionately proclaim their love of their faith.

At one point in my life, I would have wanted to post offensive, yet humorous replies to them, just because I'm that needy for attention (I did some of that in high school). Now, I'm more interested in the influences that bring us to believe one thing over another thing.

Is it stronger evidence for one belief over another belief?

Is it that one faith makes more logical sense than another?

Is one simply objectively true, while all the others are false?

And if so, how would we know?


Hmmm... Deja vu...

As I thought about people's enthusiasm for their particular faith, and passionate "hatred" or "villianization" of other faiths, not being a believer of any of them, it seemed rather odd. And silly (even more so this time).

Again, was one belief objectively more "hatable" or demonstrably wrong than another?

Some beliefs are not as popular as others, sure, but over time that can, and often does turn around with the addition of new religious leaders, time and influence.

So why one faith over another?

How do we "choose"?

I smiled again when I saw the correlation between how one is raised, and what one tended to think, feel, and want. It worked here too!

Very interesting...

As I said, our upbringing plays a hugely significant role in shaping us as individuals.

Especially when we are young, our parents are infallible. They know everything, and never lie.

If your parents attend a Lutheran church, and bring you along every week, odds are you will probably be a Lutheran. (No, not always, of course).

One telling thing I noticed from browsing online dating sites, is that many women say a similar thing when given the opportunity to say something about their religion. (Sorry, I did not check the guy's profiles, but it's probably similar).

"I was raised Lutherian"


"I was brought up Catholic"

Not "I AM" this or that.

I was "RAISED" this or that.

Notice that the question they were answering was not, "What belief were you RAISED with?"

A subconscious giveaway, I think. (I love that stuff).

Most people do not choose what they believe (at least at the beginning), but I have to acknowledge, out of fairness, that many do (usually much later in life).

Not every Lutheran family will spawn Lutheran children, just as not every Broncos-rooting family will spawn Broncos fans. When people get out into the big bad world for themselves they have an opportunity to consider new points of view, new beliefs, and new ideas.

Some will change their mind, many will not.

But looking at the number one answer for why most people believe what they do, "My parents are Catholic," it seems to me that that response seems to justify it for us.

Why do you believe this?

"Because she does."

Why does she believe it?

"Because they do."

Well, that's good enough for me! Where do I sign?


Say, these headlines look awfully familiar...

Location plays a huge roll in determining what faith, belief, or religion you will adopt for yourself.

Though it may seem depressing to chock up such an important part of people's lives to a random event such as where you were born, and were you live, it does not change the impact of the location's influential power. (Its EVIL influential power!!! BWA HA HA HA HA!!!).

For instance, being born in one area of the country might find you deeply entrenched in the Southern Baptist culture, while being born in another puts you squarely into Mormon territory.

In other scenarios, where you were born and how you were raised would see to it that you were an evangelical creationist or perhaps even an orthodox Jew.

So many different variations just by location.

But all of these beliefs are supposed to be true, right?

So does that mean that Truth is relative to your geographical region?

Does being born in a different part of the country change the amount of truth your beliefs will have?

And if one belief is still more true than another, what happens if you are born into a "less true" or worse, a false faith? How would you even know? I mean, your parents believe it, and many other people believe it, how could they be wrong?

Is it all just subjective and relative?


And that's just what's common for America.

Take the oft used example that we love to hate.

We've done a good job of demonizing Islam and Muslim culture. (It's pretty easy really).

After all, it's not like our culture or our faith, so it must be bad. (Yeah! Totally!)

But pretend, for consistency, you were born Saudi Arabia, and suddenly everything flips on its head. (Why that happens is still being tested by top scientists).

Because of your location, and how you were raised, Islam is now the one truth faith, and everything western is now wrong, and evil.

You believe the Qur'an just as strongly as you would have believed The Bible.

You would now likely be militantly against Christianity, the very thing you believed so strongly before, all because of where you were born, and how you were raised. Two things, again, very much out of your control.

And that's just one variation. A few hundred miles this way or that, and you could have been a Hindu or a Buddhist. (Dear God noooooooooo!!!!!!)

(God: Yeeeeeeeeppppppp!!!)

It really starts to seem arbitrary and pointless if it's just ascribed to location.

For a silly example (the best kind), how is this any different from a fiery war based on the prevailing geographical music style?

America hating Mexico because they don't believe that Blues is the one good form of music. Mexico passionately against America for their discounting of Mariachi. Ireland angry at Germany because they have not accepted traditional Gaelic folk music as their one true style, and Russia aiming missiles at Japan for listening to their false J-pop music.

Time for a musical cleansing!


Examining the origins of our most strongly and fervently held beliefs, opinions, and passions,  makes me wonder how much of what and who we are is really of our own doing.

And that is not something I like the sound of.

Most of us, myself included, take great pride in our personal opinions and viewpoints, and to entertain the possibility that I'm not as in control of my own decision making process as I want to be, or think I am, is actually quite depressing.

How much of what we feel is really our own idea? How much is just a product of where we live, and how our parents raised us?

As a bigger question, how do we know if what we think and believe is truly our own?

And if something as profound as belief can be influenced by our upbringing and location, is there really anything that is universally true?

I'll leave that up to you.

Wait. Hold that thought... the game's on!

You might also be interested in:

Hey! If you liked reading this story, would you mind clicking on one of the social icons above or below, so others can find this too? My condescending thanks.

Visit the all new DeprecationWear online store! Sarcastic, self-deprecating and elitist merchandise. Click HERE to see my wares!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why Do Anything?

Dear god why?!

It is a simple question, but one that seems to rear its ugly head quite often these days for me, and for many of my friends.

Perhaps it may seem utterly ridiculous to you, and if so, just wait a few years until you get to enjoy one of many existential crises in which the very foundation on which you built your knowledge of who you are, and what you want, erode and crumble away beneath your size 7 Keds. (I don't wear those, in case you were wondering).

This is the real question people:

Why do anything at all?


Any and all things you want to do, or have to do, can be reduced to sub-trivial pointlessness with a series of negative and defeatist probing questions.

With myself, and so many of my friends fighting this battle of bleakness and self-sabotage, I figured it would make sense to give this concept some airing out, and maybe, just maybe, benefit some of you who may be struggling with the same jubilant thoughts.

...Well... Never mind.

After all, "What's the point?"


Over the course my recent intellectual furtherings ("furtherings" is not a word), I would often take any new philosophical idea to its logical conclusion.

Though I wish it always ended in some brilliant discovery of pure inspiration and fresh-from-the-oven genius, (and not that there isn't a moment of that along the way), it seldom does.

And what is that logical conclusion you may ask?

"So what?"

"Who cares?"

"Why bother?"

"Why even try?"

In my quest for understanding myself, and the world around me, when I peel back each layer of introspection, contemplation, revelation and totally-radical-awesomeness, I find myself at this familiar bottom layer of any idea, which seems to be the most elementary and primitive of all.

You are now on the bottom floor of the proverbial intellectual department store, with the sign reading, "Apathy, hopelessness, disillusionment, and square-tipped Italian leather douche shoes."

The depressing thing is that no matter how much I am able to convince myself of something's importance and relevance, it always ends up back at one of those self-defeating "answers".

Literally anything.

Meaning of life? "Who cares."

Relationships? "What does that matter?"

Career? "So what?"

Happiness? "Pfff... Pointless."

Let's work through some lofty goals to see how fast we get back to square zero.


My close friend Tommy suffers from the same negative mindset.

During a recent conversation, the two of us began talking about how some people become successful based off of superficial means, like their looks, or their willingness to abandon any semblance of personal, moral, or artistic integrity to make something happen.

Given that the two of us very much care about the art we create (for some reason. Pretty stupid huh?), Tommy contemplated the idea that "perhaps we should follow that path instead?"

My defense was to say that what we do requires actual skill, talent and years of work, thought and emotion to create. And in my mind, that was supposed to be positive.

His reply was simply, "Why is that valuable?"

Well, you see... because... creativity is... I mean art has a way of... well... people get affected by the... by the...

...I don't know.

I've always placed subjective value on things like music, art, creativity in general, and lately, stuffy areas like philosophy and psychology.

They feel (<---- key word) important to me.

But oh how simply they all come a-tumblin' down with the question, "why are those valuable?"

Well, why are they?

Who values them?

And why place such value on something so intangible?

Who is ever likely to experience the things we do?

And why would it matter to them?

Fuck, you're right! It's just a bunch of bullshit. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't seem that important.

It seems almost... *gulp*... valueless.


I struggle with this devaluing-mindset-castration extremely often these days.

Finding a reason to continue doing something, damn near anything, is almost a day to day fight. And I'm not a fighter.

Which is why I figured that writing about this topic would be a good idea.

Or is it?

"So why write this article?"

Well, because it's on my mind, and it's something that I, and several of my friends deal with very often these days.

"And why does that matter?"

Well, sometimes just writing about something helps to frame the problem so that it can be worked on, and perhaps this might actually be helpful to other people.

"And you care about that why?"

I enjoy writing about this kind of stuff, and I also like to be able to offer perspectives to other that may benefit their lives.


What do you mean "and?"?! "AND" I get to help people. Well, maybe. Assuming anyone reads it, and connects it back to their own lives.

"How likely is that?"

I guess not very likely. Not many people read this, and some of the ones that do don't seem to understand that the point of telling these personal stories is to bring up a point about human nature, or the world, that they can apply to themselves.

"So why write this article?"

I don't know anymore. It seemed like something that would be a good idea, but maybe none of this matters.

Maybe nothing really matters.


Fun so far, eh?

No, it's not. And I am partially sorry about the gloomy nature of this essay, but it's an important road block that keeps many of us from accomplishing what we are potentially capable of.

For example, maybe you should try to get that promotion at work.

"Well, maybe, it does mean more money, BUT....

I'd probably have to work a lot more anyway, and I already don't like my job, and why would I want to try harder at something that has nothing to do with the person I am, and the things I really care about."

All right then, stay where you are at work. Perhaps you should try to meet someone new then. You know, date a little.

"Why? So I can get into a relationship? Sure it feels good at the beginning, but sooner or later, and usually sooner, one of you is going to fall out of love with the other, or you're going to get your heart broken, or one of you will die, or you'll get into a relationship that's 50 times more awful than just being alone.

No thanks!"

That's only looking at the negative, but hey, if that's how you feel.

What if you just tried to focus on being a little happier then?

"Happiness is for idiots! Only those who are truly unaware, or ignorant are happy. That would mean becoming stupider! Is THAT what you want me to do? Plus, being happy is so substanceless. It's empty."

Damn! So do something with substance then, if that's your thing.

"What's the point? So I do some art, or music, or writing, and no one knows about them, and they never go anywhere, and never affect anyone, and then I die. Sounds real important to me."

Whoa, whoa there Mr. Joyful. Fine, don't do anything then. I was just trying to help out.

"Why were you trying to help me? What does that matter to you, eh? None of the things we do here really make a difference, and if it does, it goes away within a matter of years. When we're gone, no one will care that you tried to help me, or her, or anyone. It won't make any mark. So why even do it?"

Jesus Christ man! You're just no fun to be around. I'm going home.


And just to make sure we cover our bases (in what, I've always wondered), the biggest and most cosmically significant perspectives for apathetic indifference to one's own existence:


As I mentioned via use of a "character" above, one of the biggest ways to make anything seem quite meaningless is to throw in, "... and then we die."

Yes, I tell you, post death, no one will likely give two flaming shits about whatever it was that you cared about. And if someone else does care, they'll eventually die too, and then no one will remember you, or anything you did/created/thought/coughed up/ or dry humped.

Our brief stint with being conscious just takes the value out of things like work, entertainment and especially masturbatory pursuits like existential philosophy and psychoanalysis.

Who fucking cares!?


And if that's not enough, don't forget that even after our deaths, the Sun is going to eventually burn itself out, increase in size to engulf the whole galaxy, and then likely collapse into a black hole, sucking all matter near it into a cozy happy* singularity. (*"happy" void in Milky Way Galaxy during this time).

And if you need more global reasons for insignificance, the entire fabric of the universe itself appears to be expanding and also speeding up. Will it simply disintegrate into a fine ground powder, or will it eventually reverse and suck itself back into itself?

Who knows? Both scenarios are fairly cheery.

Either way, it kinda take the steam out of the things you care about in a given day:

"I'm going to write this book about..."

REALIZATION: You're just a blip on the universal time scale.

".... oh...." *Sadness commences*

REALIZATION: And time itself will eventually unravel.

".........." *Crushing emptiness*


And really, when you think about it, the strange concept that we humans have a need to apply almost anything in our lives with some made-up confines titled "meaning", "purpose", and "value", is completely pointless in itself.

Yes, that's exactly as far as I'm going with this: The idea that we even assign meaning to things is, in itself meaningless.

It's a subjective and arbitrary idea with no real grounding in anything, but it feels so important to us humans.

And it has no meaning.

Dear god man!

Why do anything!?!?


All right, all right.

So things can be examined with a very self-defeating razor, and many things we find important in our lives can be reduced to feeling pointless and worthless.

Nothing really has any meaning or value.

So, again, why do anything?

Because underneath it all we still care.

Even with a million points that tell us how it does not matter in the long run, somehow, it still does.

It's a tautology, but it's true.

We care because we care.

It matters to us, because it matters to us.

I bet that may seem too simple for some of you, but sometimes the answer is facepalmingly obvious.

Through over-analyzing anything with the sledgehammer of pessimistic apathy, we can quickly and easily reach what feels like the bottom of any argument: "So what?", "Who cares?", "What does it matter?".

But given some time to sit with that "conclusion", I often find myself still going back to the things I've written off as pointless and without meaning.


Somehow, I still care about them.

I do it because I want to.

It's as simple as that.

I keep writing essays, I keep making music, I strive to better myself, and even still search for something as silly as love.

Even though you can dissect any idea, motivation, goal, or priority in your life down to the level of "so what", over time you begin to see that that is no longer the bottom of the barrel. There is indeed another level below that murky, defeatist layer.

And that's the most basic core of desire, or want.

Accepting this premise, even though it takes time, may eventually be able to help you through your own bleak, self-sabotage, when you talk yourself out of doing something new and scary.

"Why is that important? What does that matter? What's the value in that? Who cares? So what?"

You care. That's what.

Deal with it.

Now do it.

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