Psst! Watch Phototropism, my new experiment.



For many months I’ve been grappling with “the yearning of the soul”, thankfully in an overall quite trivial(???) aspect of life, that I have failed to address intellectually. It sometimes feels as if I’m multiple intertwined beings and the only way to silent the voices from below is to do what they want.

I need to have creative personal projects. Otherwise I become deeply unhappy. As shallow as this understanding is, I have come to accept that as a fact. The problem is I have many things I want to do but I don’t have much time — both in the immediate term and in the “ars longa, vita brevis” sense.

I decided to approach this systematically, even made an actual spreadsheet, thinking that if I have many ideas and no time to do all of them, I should focus on the ones that are most fun, don’t take much time, make use of my strengths, advance my career, can get likes on social media, etc. And I’m working on those. But. But! All this time there are these other ideas that I just can’t stop thinking about that don’t make sense in terms of any of these metrics: they take a long time to make, the process is not that pleasant to be honest, they won’t get popular, they won’t make money (neither directly nor indirectly — won’t teach me things applicable to my current career), and so on. They cost time and money and I can’t stop thinking about them.

Is this how the memetic warfare feels like?

I sound frustrated, because I don’t want to accept the Rick Rubin-esque view that we should lean in into whatever is there, because we’re “channeling the universe” and that “it is impossible to know” why we like or want to do certain things. Well, is it impossible? Or is it that we allow ourselves to take a stance this naive because we perceive the stakes to be low, as long as the activity seems benign and doesn’t cross ethical boundaries? Notice how quickly rigor and, in some cases, certain institutions enter the picture when the yearning we experience leads to destructive actions.

I’ll try to pay close attention when I follow the longing.