Posts Tagged ‘Existentialism’

Fuck this shit.

I am going on a low information-diet or cultivating selective ignorance. Kudos to Tim Ferris for arriving at this concept.

I was reading a recent Noam Chomsky interview on How the Media Subdues the Public(which is actually a great synthesis of his common refrain over the years about the malfeasance of the media in its unwavering subservience to maintaining the status-quo) and I thought, fuck this shit -why am I even bothering reading this?

Far from offering you a unique advantage, knowing inordinate amounts of information and all shades of tat and trivia as a result of devouring multiple media sources just makes you increasingly depressed, anxious, edgy and despairing of humanity.

We really are just arapacious,violent primate and every day I see more and more depressing evidence of this.

Consuming news is akin to being administered an anaesthesia as you have to learn to inure and inoculate yourself against the depraved depths our species and society are capable of plumbing. Just when you think you have read about a new low, as inevitable as the changing of the seasons,  your senses get assaulted with yet more torrid tales of abject grimness.

Even just casually flicking through a newspaper, The Guardian or The Irish Times are just as guilty of bringing their readers on voyerstic misery tours as the salacious tabloids who cynically treat their prole audience with withering contempt, leaves you feeling empty and queasy. Everyday there is yet another unrelenting tsunami of human misery, financial disaster, environmental doom, political incompetence and a prurient interest in the private lives of inconsequential celebrities along with a morbid obsession with all shades of criminality and human suffering.

Digesting such toxicity on a daily basis can only be bad for your mental health, mood and general well being.


What do you need to know all this otherwise useless information for anyway?

Yes, useless information. News and information that is about as useful to you personally as a condom machine in the Vatican.

Unless that condom machine has extra-strength anal condoms of course.

Does what you read in the news *really* impact on your life or affect you on a day-to-day basis?

I am a recovering news junkie and media addict but I think it was all really worthless.

Was being a news junkie any more worthy or less degenerate than being say a chronic gambler, a sex addict, an alcoholic or opium addict? Not that I had any of those vices I hasten to add *cough* but they are just as detrimental to your mental health and well being as a purportedly lofty but pointless interest in the world around you.

I know pretty much every twist and turn of the seemingly intractable Middle East Peace Process but now that I think about it, I am just absorbing the suffering of other people and then despairing at the medias complete inability to report it properly.

Why should you take on board more misery in your life? I know all of this information and detail but really, what good is it?  Who benefits? What’s the point?

Even having more than a passing understanding of history still does little for me personally to bother affecting meaningful change or shaping society towards a better end. It is not as if we ever learn from our collective mistakes or can chart a more progressive, sustainable and equitable path for ourselves.

I remember reading a book called The Black Swan which in essence was about the impossibility of and our complete inabilty to, predict epoch defining events like 9-11 or the recent economic crisis. Despite the fact that any sane or sober person could have seen that the orgy of consumerism that lead to the biggest credit bubble in history was going to burst – Cassandras such as Dean Baker, Nouriel Roubini & David McWilliams aside – people still insisted on drinking the Kool-Aid and continued to deny what was happening around us.

This reminds me of an Arthur Miller quote: Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense………. so the evidence has to be internally denied.

It is an all too human coping mechanism for a brutally unfair world where most people’s live are nasty, brutish and short. (hat tip to Edmund Burke)

So what good can really come of being informed? Is being able to hold forth at a dinner party on the issues of the day so that you can wax lyrical in a pretentious fashion to your friends really that important? They would rather dull themselves to your witless witterings by drinking more and playing footsie with the person sitting beside them. No really, they would. News and current affairs are all just conversational window-dressing.

News runs in periodic, predictable and repetitive cycles anyway. Here is a prediction for some news stories over say the next 6 months:

  • Some celebrity turns out to be human by being caught having an affair by the prurient press and an ensuing scandal erupts
  • Some politician turns out to be human, is found guilty of corruption and an ensuing scandal erupts.
  • Apple launches a newer, shiner, iPhone with go faster stripes and one million geeks masturbate in unison to celebrate.
  • Steve Jobs turns out not to be human and a million more geeks masturbate in an even more frenzied fashion.
  • More miners get stuck down a mine because we have an over-reliance on fossil fuels and tragedies happen in a random, flawed, imperfect world, especially in countries with lax labour laws.
  • Countries which followed the Anglo-Saxon, neo-liberal model of economic development in particular, e.g, the USA,the UK, Ireland continue to lurch from one fiscal crisis to another because it was ever thus and it is the nature of the beast. The governments declare an end to such booms and busts until the next boom.
  • Another European country with a strong sense of social activism goes on national strike and chuck a few bottles at riot police.
  • More people die needlessly in an insane and unwinnable war on drugs. Just like in prohibition era Chicago in the war on alcohol. This doesn’t stop the tabloids from connecting the dots and going on a moral panic which is just a thinly veiled attempt to sell more papers to a frightened and stupefied public.
  • Another celebrity turns out to be human by being caught having an affair by the prurient press and an ensuing scandal erupts.
  • Another politician turns out to be human, is exposed as being comically incompetent and an ensuing scandal erupts.
  • Any alphabet soup of any terrorist/freedom fighter groups the RIRA, ETA, CIRA or any shade of the multiple Islamic varieties let off a bomb
  • A Western power,i.e the US or Israel (the UK has no money to maintain the RAF anymore), bombs Iran (as long as they are not white, it’s alright, if they are brown, there are bombs going down) to maintain an influence in an oil-rich region but under the spurious pretext of fighting a war on terror or insert any random bullshit excuse for waging illegal war here
  • Another sex scandal within the hopelessly reactionary, medieval, deeply corrupt and amusingly superstitious Catholic Church emerges.
  • The liberal intelligentsia erupt in a panic over allowing Muslims the right to engage in hopelessly reactionary, medieval, deeply corrupt and amusingly superstitious practises under the veil (boom!) of encouraging multi-culturism. A lofty debate opens up about the cultural merits of female genital mutilation. To condemn female genital mutilation it is to be guilty of Islamophobia.
  • More right-wing groups emerge, like the Tea Partiers and the English & European Defence League, hi-jacking legitimate criticism of the worst aspects of Islam as a flag of convenience for disliking people that look different to them.
  • Nick Griffin says fuck this BNP shit, converts to militant Islam and becomes a suicide bomber using his artificial eye as the detonator.The bomb fails to explode.
  • Rupert Murdoch clones himself. The clone kills Rupert Murdoch and turns News International into a radical, left-wing organisation. Without missing a beat, Glenn Beck starts quoting Marx and sets up The Coffee Party.
  • Brian Cowen announces that Ireland is broke and wonders if independence was really just an ingenious, diabolical plan that was carefully concocted by The Brits to bankrupt Ireland
  • Another celebrity turns out to be human by being caught having an affair by the prurient press and an ensuing scandal erupts

There, I have just saved you valuable time and mental energy from needlessly reading news for the next six months.

Trust me, being informed is seriously over-rated.

Aside from eliciting a few cooing “ohh, you are so smart & knowledgeable, my gina is tingling, ahh” responses, which may massage your otherwise fragile ego, you really are better off drinking from the blissful cup of ignorance.

Now use that time you have saved from consuming media to fully enjoy the full bloom of life by listening to more life enriching music, spending more time enjoying the conviviality of great friends, savouring a delicious wine or immersing yourself in more absorbing novels than you have been and crucially having a laugh.

Because in the endless reaches of cosmic time………….nothing really matters.

No really, it doesn’t so don’t worry 🙂

Nothing you do or nothing anyone around you does has any lingering consequence. It is all illusory and ephemeral. It is as fleeting as ray of sunshine shimmering on a lake on a summer’s day. It will all eventually turn to silence and dark. A hundred years from now, nobody will ever know you existed or what your hopes, dreams and fears were.In the unlikely event that they do, they won’t care. A hundred years of solitude indeed.

Those endless thought loops that preoccupy you about random, trivial nonsense are a complete waste of your time as is worrying about what other people think as they are too busy worrying about what other people think of them.

Reading newspapers, which I recently heard the excellent comedian Jeremy Hardy describe as being the equivalent of reality television for educated people, along with magazines, journals and a plethora of their online incarnations are a complete waste of your increasingly precious and diminishing time.

Life is beautiful.

Well, it can be if you choose it to be.

Miring yourself in human misery on a daily basis is masochistic.

Avoid it.

Embrace the positive aspects of humanity and eschew the rest, especially the media with their assembly line of predictable negativity.

Your psyche will thank you for it.