End of Year Links

As a follow-up to my piece about warding off nihilism with gratitude, I’ve found this image, by Scott Sonnon. If you can’t see it well enough here, try this link for a bigger version.

Which in turn goes well with my piece about getting past irony, and in turn with this difficult piece called “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person” by David Wong. The writing is not great, but get past the first half’s neo-con aggressivity and get to his over-arching point: do shit, don’t talk about it or spend your time criticizing what others are doing, and remember that you are valued for what you do, not what you think about doing, and not, in some abstract way, about who you “are”. His Top 3 are especially worth reading: (3) you hate yourself because you don’t do anything, and (2) what you are inside only matters because of what it makes you do, and of course (1) everything inside you will fight improvement.

#2 especially. Being a good person doesn’t count for shit unless you engage it and can actually do things that people need done. There’s a lot of bad stuff out in the world, from the mundane and catty to the outright cynical and oppressive.

I have a lot more to write about; the past few years have been an almost crippling struggle for me, but I feel – finally! – like I’m coming out the other side, in some ways more deeply cynical but also absolutely re-committed to the work I want to do. Or, what Iggy Pop said yesterday here on my blog: I have less patience, and yet everything good and beautiful has 80 million times as much meaning.

Tomorrow I’m going to write a little bit about the company you keep. And maybe about the five cynical things I’ve learned the hard way which are invaluable lessons.

It is going to be a beautiful thing to let 2012 fade into history, and I didn’t lose my house or my stuff to Sandy, and I didn’t know those beautiful teachers and children who were massacred. But I do know that the world is getting harder – gun sales went up 300% after the Newtown massacre, not down – and that we are all probably going to need to be made of sterner stuff.


2 Replies to “End of Year Links”

  1. Ya know, I just realized that we in New Orleans suffered though Hurricane Isaac at the end of August 2012, rated the same force as Hurricane Sandy.

    Well, two things, we are probably 1/25th the density of population as the Jersey and NYC areas, and we are accustomed to hurricanes (perhaps better built to survive them.) But I personally suffered through five days without electricity in super heat and humidity – conditions that ruined all the leather shoes in my closet and set up mildewing spots everywhere in the apartment. We also lost a refrigerator full of food (about $400 worth) and most outdoor ornamental plants

    We were out of work and out of luck for all those days, about a week, but no one seems to have even remembered us. I guess victory goes to those with the media connections.

    ALSO – I was terribly incapacitated for three months with some of the most chronic, if not the worst pain, I can remember – plus three more months affected with partial mobility problems, because of my SRS surgery. I forget about that – half a year of recovery!

    Dang – 2012 – you were HARD on me! And I certainly didn’t expect the grief and anger of having to deal with the murder, slaughter actually, of those beautiful children and their teachers. Your lessons are sometimes too cruel.

    But – 2012 is history in a few days. HEY 2013? Know I am working on principals of a better lifestyle, better attitudes, better and happier living. The body is remodeled, and so it’s time to get the mind in order, grin!

    So thank you for the chart. Maybe I can report about this time next year that all went just like the it suggested – the good side I mean.


  2. I see both of those charts in myself, though I am a far more abundance-oriented person than scarcity oriented.

    The chickens are coming home to roost on this one because the Iggy quote dovetails nicely into this; if I engage with scarcity-based people I become like them, and have a weird need for them to approve of me, and then I feel miserable all over.

    Toxic people can be celebrated for doing “good works” or wonderful things, but ultimately one must ask; to what end? I’ve relaized this week that I’ve wasted a great deal of energy worrying about how I will deal with a doddering, childish, toxic asshole in my local who also happens to be a legendary Cinematographer.

    I’ve decided to stop playing his game. Every time he whines and cries we try and placate him, and it’s insulting to those of us whom he simply ignores when we speak, even when what we say could be helpful to him.

    I’m done; let the baby cry it out.

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