Most of the podcasts I listen to and most of the videos I watch on youtube consist entirely of talking. I watch a number of people play video games and talk over them, much of the time not even about the game. I can’t tell if this is my substitute for socialization, or an avoidance of the emotional involvement that film, television, and music invoke in me. After all, it can be very difficult to code PHP or write email or plan calendars when I’m sobbing over Spiderman 3. Yes, even that one gets me. Sam Raimi, whatever else might be said, makes damn good films, even when limited by contractual necessity.
Why do I judge myself for my podcast choices, then? It’s not as though I am not accomplishing my tasks alongside them. I choose fairly lofty versions of this entertainment. For every Game Grumps, I subscribe to a Physics Girl or a School of Life. Leonardo da Vinci taught himself to write with both hands at once, but in the time it took him to do that, could he have simply written more with one hand? This matter of efficiency used to drive me sleepless. I absolutely had to have my computer processing overnight, and would keep myself on high alert for any “dings” that meant that a process was done and another could begin. I would play games while listening to music, AND watching films sometimes. Not because I wanted to, necessarily, but because I felt like life needed to be filled to bursting in every moment.
I meditate now, and I glimpse the value of silence. Primarily, though, I use meditation to strengthen my mind, and my resistance to ennui and disappointment in people. There must always be progress, learning. My body has deteriorated much in the past few months (because cortisol is powerful), but I shudder to think what my life will mean when I eventually suffer from dementia. We secretly chide and condescend to our suicides, but any thinking person knows that death is inevitable, and assuring quality of life is all that really matters. So, if the profoundly sad Robin Williams saw no future for himself, and the world could do without him, why prolong his own ever-deepening suffering? Was there somehow a better life waiting for him in his 80s? Doubtful. We mourn our own losses.
Then, is epicureanism correct, or should it simply be hedonism? Better to burn out than fade away? No one, to my knowledge, chides Patrick Stewart for having a wife half his age; rather, they celebrate his care-free attitude. Yet, I imagine that if my friends date someone half their age that we would be glad to tear down his happiness in the misguided spirit of maturity, propriety, and feminism. If morality and truth slide on a scale, then what sense is there in having any code at all? Every situation seems to demand its own context.
Then why shouldn’t I drink and fuck and fight, night after night? Why shouldn’t I use my superior size and skill to intimidate, my superior intelligence to manipulate and mistreat? The law of the jungle did not disappear when money became our only source of personal value, so why not make merry while the making is good? To feel secure in my good deeds? To help maintain a population that will not save itself? To save the lives or happiness of thousands, millions of useless people whose existence only plagues the planet?
I do not know. I don’t act on these impulses, obviously, but I genuinely can not see a single reason why not.