September 2022

September 14, 2022

A cat will lick at the razor edge of a knife to get at the chicken grease.

I always joked that reading Twitter caused brain damage, loss of brain cells/IQ… but today I scrolled through a handful of feeds after not doing so for some two months and I swear I felt myself getting dumber, as though the summer of literary study was unraveling before my eyes.

It's far too easy to fall victim to social media. I wonder what psychological factors play a part in determining how susceptible to addiction one is. And calling it "addiction" is a stretch: it's no more an addiction than watching television. It's entrancing: one needs a resistance to charm to avoid falling into the embrace of a livestream or an infinite, algorithm-driven whirlpool.

For me, life has always been a battle between establishing responsible habits and extracting the maximum amount of hedonistic joy. I've tried to maintain a balance, particularly in the last few (< 47) years, but aside from the first portion of my time in Japan from 1999-2002, the balance has been more heavily weighted on the gluttonous, slothful side. I'm aware of how lucky (privileged?) I've been, but it's not something I adulate. Now, in my "mature" years, as I investigate the murky byways of philosophy and real-world politics, I start to see that temperance, once thought of as a foolish constraint on my freedom to act, is instead the product of centuries of thought and experimentation, so much so that it's genuinely foolish to dismiss it out of hand. Whether informed by dogma, reasoned discourse, or blind faith, I've come to believe that there is some kind of Truth to this life. I think that it's fluid, and it's like a powerful stream that flows from the distant past, through this present, and on into the future. Its banks are history, and in the now it's fed by an untold number of tributaries, all vying to contribute to the stream. What's really great about this is that individuals can choose to try and see it, define it for themselves what it means, or ignore it completely, though the latter is akin to ignoring the sky, or the air we breathe! Thus, it seems to me that defining for myself what this Truth is, is as worthwhile a pursuit as the one for joy.

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