Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Proactive Procrastination

You'll notice that there hasn't been a post for quite a while.  Entirely intentional.

It is a simple fact of life that all things become irrelevant with time.  Rome fell, and at the time is was a big deal, Romans likely bewailed their fates and cursed their leaders for making the mistakes leading up to this catastrophe.  But how do we treat it now?  We are mildly interested.  We try to take lessons and learn about people and empires.  And the Romans?  Dead.  Dead like they would have been, anyway.  By now, there is a snowball's chance in hell that any one of them would have survived.

What can we learn from the Romans?  What meant so much to them is merely a footnote in human history.  Only a dozen or so centuries later, and we barely care.  In a universe that is about 14 billion years old, it is no more than a blip, something that didn't even appreciably affect the orbits of comets and asteroids, much less the motion of stars.

What if one person could have made the choice to put some effort into something?  Who knows what... public works, government, whatever.  And what if that choice would have changed everything, given the Roman Empire four more centuries of ruling the world?

Would we really care?  We'd read history as disinterestedly as we do now.

Let's try something closer to home... the Cuban Missile Crisis.  What if we'd blown up the world?  Just given up and hucked the nukes back and forth until there were no more human beings?
Frankly, there'd be no one to care!

So what are you so worried about all day long?  What you do will not matter in the future.  Time heals all wounds, and time justifies all procrastination.

It is sometimes hard to put things off.  When you have trouble, ask yourself the following questions:
-In 1000 years, will anyone care whether I finished my work today?
-Will it matter to me in 50 years (if I'm even alive!) whether I give it my all today?
-How many people out of the billions in the world will even notice that I slacked off today, much less care?

Like it says in the Bible, (LOOK UP QUOTATION LATER).  Birds and lilies don't file their taxes on time, and you don't have to, either.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Can't" is a Contraction and a Five-Character Word

There are those who want to tell you that "can't" is a four-letter word, in other words, a naughty curse-word.  Apparently, this is an attempt at motivation to be optimistic by pointing out that pessimism causes swearing.  Evidently, pessimism is not obviously bad, but swearing is.  Who can tell what the hell these people are trying to say?

The truth is, "can't" is a five-character word, the same number of characters in the word "bacon."  If you're not sold on that alone, it must be noted that "can't" is a contraction for "cannot."  This has six letters, the same number as in "better," "pizzas,"  and "sexual."  If you were dumb enough to believe the four-letter word argument about "can't," you must now change your opinion based on this new unrelated and irrelevant information.

"Can't" is one of the finest words in the English language.  Nothing so simple ever got so many people out of so many undesirable situations.  Where people are offended at "I don't want to," they are sympathetic at "I can't."
When you don't want to go to work, you still have to go.  When you can't, however, there's nothing that can be done!

In addition, without the marvelous word "can't," there is an abundance of sage advice that would be more difficult to give.  "You can't bring African bullfrogs into the country," "you can't drink Clorox and live," and of course, "religious wing-nuts with degrees from uncredited Christian universities can't intelligently comment on well-established sciences like evolution."

Remember, if you always tell yourself "I can,"  or even "I think I can," you are if for a lot of unnecessary work and trouble.  The little engine that could may have gotten lucky that one time, but next time he hits ad even higher hill, what's going to happen?  His false confidence inspired by his brainwashed mantra "I think I can" will cause him to try to conquer hills out of his league.  Two-thirds of the way up one of these hills, the mechanical stress will finally tear apart his little moving parts, and he will uncontrollably roll back down at great acceleration, slamming into the freight train 10 minutes behind him on the track at over 100 miles per hour.  His broken metal husk will be scrapped, melted down, and made into cheap folding chairs that will be sold to the Church of Scientology.
See what optimism gets you?  Nothing but Scientologist butts for the rest of your existence.

We need "can't."  We can't do without "can't."  Someday, you'll look up a metaphorical mountain, assess your situation realistically, and then tell yourself "I think I can't."

So every day, with each task you try to take on, take just a moment to think: "what if I can't?"

Monday, February 7, 2011

If You Believe in Yourself, You Still Can't Do That Much

One of the prevalent myths perpetuated by modern literature, music, and McDonald's commercials is that "if you only believe in yourself, anything is possible."  This, unfortunately, is not true.  And what's more, you know it isn't true.  If your cousin comes up and tells you she believes she can fly, do you excitedly go watch her hurl herself off of a cliff?  No!  You never let her near any drop longer than four feet again!

The truth is, so called "belief" in yourself is nothing more than delusion.  True, when athletes "believe" they can, they can jump a quarter-inch higher than otherwise.  But is that really significant?  Athletes think so, but these are the same people who buy "balance bracelets" and think that it is actually healthy to spend all of your time being steamrolled into the AstroTurf by 300-pound linemen.

The real way to accomplish your goals in life is to be realistic.  Set lower goals!  What does it matter, in the end, what you accomplish in this life?  The reality is that trying harder will do very little for you, and having faith in yourself will do even less.

Why save a world beyond saving when you could go buy some cheetos?
Why try to be perfect, an impossible goal, when the Simpsons is on?

The point is, your time is limited.  There is more pointless entertainment to indulge in than you can ever get through in your lifetime, so why would you spend time fooling yourself into thinking you can actually do anything significant in that time?

So make every moment count.  Get rid of the goals that you know you'll never really get around to, anyway.  Each new year, resolve to care a little less.  Take charge of every day the moment you wake up (as late as possible of course), and tell yourself carpe doritos!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You Are Not Special

Self-esteem has become difficult in a densely-populated world where corporate advertising largely controls the public sense of value.  Wal-Mart tells you to be frugal, Tifanny's tells you to be classy, and the Westboro Baptist Church tells you that you'll suck no matter what.  In response to this, schools, authors, and artists everywhere have launched a campaign celebrating the value of the individual.  They proclaim to each of us, "You are special."

This is a lie.
Take all of your best qualities and list them.  Take your worst.  Make as complete a profile of yourself as possible.  Do you think you could find someone who is equivalent in every category, except that he or she is distinctly better in one area?  If you answer "no," then you are delusional, which is just one more negative thing about you.
Granted, you are a cynic.  That means you have at least a basic awareness of the world around you and have put actual thought into your picture of reality.  This places you at above-average, probably.  But even if you were in the 70th percentile, that's still 30% of the world that is above you.  That, my friend, is roughly 2 billion people.  You are not special.

However, all in not lost.  Do you know what happens to special people?
Special People are Murdered!
Those who stand out in society are automatic targets for the attention-seeking wackos that are ubiquitous in our society.  Not only that, if they happen to be smart special people, they become the targets of Fox News.
So the key to living is to embrace mediocrity.  Know that no one would bother breaking into your house, because you're not rich or privy to any big secrets!  It's comforting!
In addition, if you are mediocre, basically nothing is your fault.  Most of the bad in the world can probably be divided among the particularly evil, the particularly stupid, and the particular person known as Glenn Beck.  The little that is left over is so small that, divided among you and all of the other people making up the big hump of the bell curve, you need not take on any meaningful blame!

Remember, when you say something you regret to a friend, that you are not special, and neither is your friend.  Why bother worrying about it?

It's time to put your personal fable on the shelf, grab life by the crap you consider your most valuable possessions, and stop worrying about contributing meaningfully to society!
Even if a butterfly flapping it's wings in China could create a tornado in Nashville (which would be the best thing ever to happen), most of the butterflies in China will flap their wings and have no significant effect on world weather patterns.  And then be eaten by bats.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Power of Negative Thinking

We all have days where we just can't get along with people.  Whether they be creationists, Trekkies, gym teachers, or CEOs of Apple Inc., there always seems to be someone around to bug the everloving shit out of you.  But there are a few things you can tell yourself each day to relieve yourself the weariness of listening to these individuals.  Tell yourself: "Today, I choose to think bigger than that.  Today, I choose to be a fatalist."

Fatalism and even abject nihilism can help you through each day by putting things into perspective.  For example:

-Your boss chews you out for doing what he himself told you to do.  Don't get mad, just put things into perspective!  Your boss will most certainly die one day.  The chances of him slowly wasting away, alone and friendless, are not bad.  Why even fantasize about revenge when reality has already agreed to do the job?

-Idiots control the government, and schools are forced to teach your children ludicrous idiocy by religious nut jobs.  But remember, there is hope.  Things can't be bad forever.  Someday western society will collapse, and the very boobs who once used their incessant shouting to get the country to do what they wanted will then have to eat each other.  Gone will be the politics of idiots.

-Human beings insist on being greedy, shallow, credulous, and violent.  But remember, even for the whole human race there is hope.  Extinctions of large land animals are all but inevitable, and humanity is even doing us the favor of ensuring the world will be a hostile place for them to live in a century or less!  Even if humanity does somehow survive its own stupidity, the sun will eventually go out.  And the universe will eventually succumb to entropy, and there won't be enough available energy to support life anywhere!  Sick of humans?  Once again, nature saves the day with the beautiful promise of unavoidable doom.

So today, ask yourself:
Do I look at the big picture?
How much does this really matter in the grand scale?
And most importantly, am I negative enough?