January 21, 2013

Anonymous said: I feel like I’ve worked well paid, no-effort entry level office jobs for so long I’ve forgotten how to work hard. If I even knew to start with. My 20’s are ending and I’m trying to push myself into some kind of field that I can picture myself making a career in, but the picture is always the same slacker piece of shit going nowhere - just in a different field. What happens to people like me

When you were a kid you had a kind of inebriation for work, which everyone else called play.

But that evaporates sooner or later. Sooner or later you find yourself getting bored a lot.

You’ll be doing something that you know is good for you, or even something you want to do, and all of a sudden you’ll be yawning through clenched teeth. The floor of your mouth strains painfully and your teeth chatter as your jaws struggle to open.

This is what it feels like to have your energy evaporate. Suddenly to find yourself awake in name only. Just blunt consciousness, and resentful of having even that much. Cousin of sleep, 2nd cousin of death.

This is what it feels like to have possibility narrow for you. When the child was a child it didn’t know it was a child. And so could work at anything. You might not be an adult, but you’re certainly no longer a child. As your awareness opens out, the possibilities of play shrink. The more sophisticated your interactions with the world become, the less worthwhile doing anything for its own sake begins to seem. Until play ceases to be the point of being awake and becomes instead the anesthetic that makes awareness bearable.

Cast around and find the thing that makes this true for you:


 Do something that makes you feel stupid:

  • Don’t eat anything for four days and then break the fast with bite of something you hate. I promise it will taste different. 
  • Drink a pot of coffee and watch a Kurosawa movie you’ve never seen with the subtitles and sound both turned off. See if you can get the point from just the camerawork. 
  • Tell people you have a corneal abrasion as an excuse to wear an eyepatch for a week, and see how you’ve taken stereoscopy for granted. 
  • Build a pseudoscope. 
  • Or none of these.

The point is that you’re beginning to see just how much of an unnecessary duplicate your life could become. One tooth in an enormous comb of utterly parallel lives, each being lived in the same niche, wearing the same track in the same tax bracket. Crumbling toward the same irrelevance.

But you already know what happens to people like you. Kids who have this problem have parents who are this problem.


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