Stacked odds

It’s quite tiring living in such a complex world.

I try to be informed, and I try to pick balanced sources. I know everything is biased, I know everything has an agenda, and we have to be careful with that. I know I’m inclined to radical ideas and radical responses, and I have to be careful with that.

The shitstorm we’ve been living through lately really made me want to act more to help clean it up. But the more I get into it, the less clear it seems to me what cleaning up would be, rather than just smearing it around the floor a bit more. It’s difficult not to concede that I am too insignificant a player to even find a viable route, when everything is a tightly convoluted interwoven buzz wire game. I was happy to follow the leader, but all of the leaders have been letting me down.

When you know you don’t have a clue, really, it becomes difficult to make a move, for fear of doing damage. I went into relative stasis, unwilling to become an inadvertant pawn in a game of chess I didn’t even know was being played. I think, in this interim I staked out for myself, I have started to identify the boundaries of what looks to me like soundly ethical behaviour. But its range is fucking small. I still don’t have a clue about the rest of it.

Our brains weren’t meant to cope with shitstorms of this magnitude. Maybe we can’t be saved until Elon Musk’s neural implants or whatever come to usher in a new technological phase of our evolution. Or maybe that’s what he wants us to think…

Accidental wisdom

I didn’t spend today doing the thing I had intended to do. The thing that was really set in stone as necessary to do today, I did very little of. I didn’t achieve my goal of completing it.

Instead, I got sidetracked catching up on the things I had been neglecting in the week. Mostly the intellectual self-care I require to maintain a sense of sanity. I got myself informed on the pressing topics that have been smashing up against my face but I haven’t had time to address. I expanded my understanding and made connections my brain had been clamouring to find. I gave myself space to think. Before I knew it, it was 8pm.

I don’t know how I should feel about the fact I veered off course today. Because I veered into something I needed, but I did it without a sense of control over it.

Because of my poor self-control, I nourished myself in a way I was theoretically willing to forgo, for the sake of my goal, but practically speaking would have probably hindered me in multiple ways.

Falling short of my schedule also forced me to re-evaluate my position, and realise that today’s deadline wasn’t as necessary as I thought, if I allowed my standards to drop a little. That may condemn me to the slope of a downward spiral, if not for the fact that my re-evaluation also flagged up the fact that I’d set my standards unnecessarily high. I’d been willing to sacrifice myself, frankly, without good enough reason.

I was not the master of myself today. But I’m still in conflict with myself over how much I should be. Sometimes I have bad ideas.

Red pill

Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to not see complexity in everything.

Some people have a clear-cut way of seeing, and it leads them to conclusions they are fully capable of grasping.

I have a meandering way of seeing, and it leads me down various rabbit holes, where I find murky and paradoxical possibilities that thrill and terrify me in their impossible vastness.

While I like to think that allows me to see the world closer to its true form than if I just picked a reality and stuck to it, I’m not sure of its utility in the end.

I

Sometimes I get concerned by how much I type ‘I’ on this blog.

But I very deliberately opted to focus on my own experience primarily, because I didn’t want this to become some accidental attempt at a life coaching blog, which, given my preoccupation with self-development, it easily could. I wanted to try talking about me in a way that might offer you something.

So I will have to sit with the discomfort that, in making that choice, I have centred myself very firmly and ostentatiously.

I entered this endeavour in a kind of suspension. My mind, and life, a nebula. Stuff had blown up, not particularly recently, the dust had settled, gravity was starting to pull, but nothing had yet taken form. From that space, I didn’t want to be professing much of anything. I wanted to be observing. Documenting. Exploring.

I had nothing, in particular, to say.

I am still in that nebula, though shapes are forming. And I am still making the choice to keep talking, mostly, about myself.

More and more, I am realising; it’s really the only thing that I know anything about.

The price of bad tools

A couple of weeks ago, after years of thinking about it, I finally got a good microphone. I’d ordered it weeks before, when I realised I have both the surplus money and enough uses for it to call it an investment, and was waiting for it to come into stock.

By the time it arrived, I was busy with other things. It sat in its unopened package, and each time I passed it, I felt guilty for buying it and wondered if I should just send it back.

At long last, this weekend, I tested it out a little, and was deeply, viscerally satisfied by the fidelity. I’ve been using shit mics for a long time. I welcomed it into the family.

With some trepidation, I recorded myself singing a song. I was expecting to listen back with a mild cringe as it picked up all the flaws in my unconditioned voice, but instead I listened with a look of consternation.

I sounded good. And it was dawning on me that, if I’d bought this mic years ago, when I’d started thinking about it, I would have spent a lot more of that time singing. Because, if that’s what my neighbours hear, I don’t feel bad about it. Because that voice could do justice to the songs I’ve written. Because the recording sounded like what I hear when I sing, so I’m not delusional.

I have suffered from a supreme lack of confidence in my singing ability, which has hampered me in a multitude of ways since childhood. I finally thought I had reconciled myself by coming to the understanding that I’m an okay singer, and that’s good enough. Turns out, though, I could have had a better story.

I should have called that microphone an investment from the start. But I didn’t know better.