2023 in Review: Postscript

I’m writing the last post of this series immediately after the first because:

a) I’m a Gen-Xer who unapologetically loves postmodern shit like nonlinear stories and blog post series posted out of order

b) This word crossed my desk this morning and it sums up the ethos of this whole thing:

Respair

As a noun, respair means “the return of hope after a period of despair.” As a verb, respair means “to have hope again.” Although both forms are rare and obsolete, they seem ripe for reviving.

A Way With Words: Respair

From The Cabinet of Calm by Paul Anthony Jones, which I just reserved at my local library.


It’s only January 3rd, but I’m calling this for the best thing written on the Internet in 2024:

Hey, Go Easy on Yourself in 2024

One of the downsides of my interest in note-taking programs and language learning and productivity (I’m just looking for pen recommendations!) is that it’s all very Hustle Culture adjacent. Which note-taking program will MAXIMIZE YOUR STUDY TIME?! One of the weirdest aspects of this is the Philosophy Bro culture, particularly on YouTube, with videos like “STOICISM to BECOME UNDEFEATABLE”. That is not what philosophy is for, my intense vlogging buddy.

There’s this pernicious belief, this little brainworm, that there’s some perfect habit, or set of habits, out there to bring success. There is a System, the right System for a Right Life. Living in a world where the threat of artificial scarcity is used as a cudgel to force you to buy into the system that profits off artificial scarcity doesn’t help, of course. But so many of us internalize that voice. Some of us internalized it years ago, from parents or teachers, or culture at large, craving at least approval if success itself becomes elusive. Sometimes if we lack a clear example of that voice, we assume the role ourselves. Constantly disappointing that other version of ourselves riding shotgun in our brain. Why aren’t we writing more, doing more? Jesus, that kid on YouTube who builds databases in Notion is both a doctor and a life coach and he wrote a book!

We obliterate our individuality in service to a system we believe will maximize it.