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Minnows, tidal pools

Tuesday 12/19/23

Many people have no idea that the word "than" exists. It's "then" and then always.

I find it difficult--but not impossible--to believe that an intelligent person has ever posted a gif or meme.

A summarizing example of how something like Twitter works, which is also a summarizing example of how society and the world now work: Say something intelligent, and that will produce no engagement and will be deemed by those who see it as off-putting for whatever reason (that it's intelligent, that they couldn't think of it, that it's correct, etc.). The more intelligent, the more off-putting. It can be funny, clever, accessible--these qualities will only make it more off-putting still. But: Do that thing where you go, "Me watching Eagles try and cover someone" and then post in that same meme that you just saw 5000 other people use means engagement, followers, and not being off-putting to anyone. That is now life.

All anyone wants to do is see someone like them.

The only way anyone wants to be able to react is, "I can do that."

All anyone wants to think is, "I think that."

All anyone wants to say is, "I say that."

If it's in the exact same language, all the better. Ditto if the same memes and gifts are used.

These thoughts aren't so much consciously articulated--internally, that is--as they are felt. They're felt-thoughts. They are internalized reactions.

I know someone whose first reaction always takes them in the direction of an excuse. It's who they are: a maker of excuses. There is nothing inside of them on which to draw such that they could ever be a person of purpose and accountability. They require external stimuli for everything they do. It never comes from within themselves. I've known them most of my life and they have always been this way. I would not say that they instinctually make an excuse because humans do not have instincts. But let's say they said, "Every night at eight o'clock, I'm going to do this important thing," and then they never did it. No nights at eight o'clock. Because they had to remember to do this thing--look within and live up to their word and commitment, without someone reminding them, or leading them by the hand to do the thing, or nagging them into it. And every night you observed that they didn't do that thing. Or were negatively impacted by it.

If you said, "You never do this thing at eight o'clock and I was counting on you," and they had an excuse for that one night prior, they would take it immediately like it was the excuse for all of the other nights when they never did this thing. "We were at a football game last night." Never mind that the issue was the issue and football game or no, it went the same way every night. Which would be the point. They would go as fast as they could to the excuse, as if that was the most fundamental part of who they were, their wiring, which wouldn't even be germane, because that wasn't why they never did the thing at eight o'clock on any nights.

Then you are left to wonder: Is this person that stupid that they don't understand what they're doing, what the issue is, in which case, why do I know them? Is it simply because everyone sucks and you can't expect anything positive from anyone so this is what you deal with if you want to know anyone? Or you think, "Are they really this sneaky and snaky? Are they gaslighting me?"

How do you respect someone like that?

I look at it this way: Have you ever observed a minnow in a tidal pool? The minnow can be out in the middle of the thing, but when it sees your shadow overhead, it immediately darts to the side. They're so fast, right? If you look carefully--or the tidal pool is small enough--you can see the minnow trying to hide itself behind some rock. That's what people do--they dart to the rock and the rock is an excuse. Or they dart away as fast as possible when they so much as see the shadow of the truth.

We have a post-entertainment society. A post-interest society. A post-enjoyment society. No one partakes of what they partake of, follows the lives, activities, comments, and creations of the people they do so with, because they find any of it entertaining, interesting, or enjoyable, to say nothing of useful. Those concepts are now outweighed by being able to think one is similar, or could do something similar, or say something similar, to whatever that thing is or whomever that person is.

A person thinks, "I post that same meme a lot, they're like me, I'll follow them." I'm using this term of following both literally and metaphorically. There is the Twitter account, yes, but this is also how we now go through life. It's how people decide who and what they will "like," how they decide what they'll support, what they'll buy. Which is one of the many reasons most of us are barely alive at all. Every so-called expert and talking head on television or whatever outlet makes people think, "I could do that." They don't want to think, "Wow, that's amazing, I never knew that," or "That's brilliant, I never looked at it that way," or, heaven forbid, "Damn, I was wrong." Again, feel-think; they need not articulate the thought in their heads, but that is their felt reaction and what is really their personal form of governance now. Any notion of guiding principles has been replaced by what this is.

It is parallelism that determines nearly everything at this point in our world and in society and culture. People must be able to feel like everything is to the side of them--a parallel move for them--and never above. They don't care that they don't get anything from parallelism and its ways. That there is nothing on offer. That they don't have anything to like. This state of things and people being parallel to them is the total and desired end. People want that state as a kind of stasis-result and a status-result; the state of being--of being parallel--is the goal. What is offered by that state--which is absolutely nothing at all--isn't a factor, concern, or realized concession.

What you end up with is a post-entertainment, post-enjoyment, post-enriching, post-value, post-interest, post-passion, post-quality, post-merit, post-humor, post-intelligent, post-human society, culture, world.

This is what a person of greatness, doing work of greatness, must overcome. By dint of being great, by dint of creating work of greatness, they are not only entirely at odds with the accepted model of how everything and nearly everyone in the world now is, they are unsettling, a threat, a terrifying proposition. Even those who admire them--and admire them more than they admire anyone else--will act as if paralyzed by their preferred state of parallelism, which has all but cut out their tongue and rendered them incapable of saying anything different because they lack what once would have been a very small amount of courage to do so and because that is not how the world works or how people act. The person of greatness would need to be spoken of as such by millions, in order for a person to speak to what is clear and undeniable "on their own."


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