Everyone I know is brokenhearted.

All the genuinely smart, talented, funny people I know seem to be miserable these days. You feel it on Twitter more than Facebook, because Facebook is where you go to do your performance art where you pretend to be a hip, urbane person with the most awesomest friends and the best relationships and the very best lunches ever. Facebook is surface; Twitter is subtext, and judging by what I’ve seen, the subtext is aching sadness.

I’m not immune to this. I don’t remember ever feeling this miserable and depressed in my life, this sense of futility that makes you wish you’d simply go numb and not care anymore. I think a lot about killing myself these days. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do it and this isn’t a cry for help. But I wake up and think: fuck, more of this? Really? How much more? And is it really worth it?

In my case, much of it stems from my divorce and the collapse of the next relationship I had. But that’s not really the cause. I think that those relationships were bulwarks, charms against the dark I’ve felt growing in this world for a long time now. When I was in love, the world outside didn’t matter so much. But without it, there is nothing keeping the wolf from the door.

It didn’t used to be like this when I was a kid. I’m not getting nostalgic here, or pretending that my adolescence and my twenties were some kind of soft-focused Golden Age. Life sucked when I was young. I was unhappy then too. But there was always the sense that it was just a temporary thing, that if I stuck it out eventually the world was going to get better — become awesome, in fact.

But the reality is that the three generations who ended the 20th century, the Boomers, their Generation X children, and Generation Y, have architected a Western civilization that’s kind of a shit show. Being born in 1978, I fall at either the tail end of Gen X or the beginning of Gen Y, depending on how you look at it. I became an adolescent at the time Nirvana was ushering in a decade of “slacker” ideology, as the pundits liked to put it. But the reality is that I didn’t know a whole lot of actual slackers in the 1990s. I did know a lot of people who found themselves disillusioned with the materialism of the 1980s and what we saw as the failed rhetoric of the Sixties generation, who were all about peace and love right until the time they put on suits and ties and figured out how to divide up the world. I knew a lot of people who weren’t very interested in that path.

The joke, of course, is that every generation kills the thing they love. The hippies became yuppies; Gen X talked a lot about the revolution, and then went and got themselves some venture capital and started laying into place the oversaturated, paranoid world we live in now. A lot of them tried to tell themselves they were still punk as fuck, but it’s hard to morally reconcile the thing where you listen to Fugazi on the way to your job where you help find new ways to trick people into giving up their data to advertisers. Most people don’t even bother. They just compartmentalize.

And I’m not blaming them. The world came apart at the end of the 90s, when the World Trade Center did. My buddy Brent and I were talking about this one night last year — about how the end of the 90s looked like revolution. Everybody was talking about Naomi Klein and anti-consumerism and people in Seattle were rioting over the WTO. Hell, a major motion picture company put out Fight Club, which is about as unsubtle an attack on consumer corporate capitalism as you can get. We were poised on the brink of something. You could feel it.

And then the World Trade Center went down. And all of a sudden calling yourself an “anticapitalist terrorist” was no longer a cool posture to psych yourself up for protest. It became something you might go to jail for — or worse, to one of the Black Camps on some shithole island somewhere. Corporate capitalism became conflated somehow with patriotism. And the idea that the things you own end up defining you became quaint, as ridiculous spoken aloud as “tune in, turn on, drop out”. In fact, it became a positive: if you bought the right laptop, the right smartphone, the right backpack, exciting strangers would want to have sex with you!

It’s no wonder that Gen X began seeking the largely mythological stability of their forebearers; to stop fucking around and eating mushrooms at the Rage Against The Machine show, and to try and root yourself. Get a decent car — something you can pass off as utilitarian — and a solid career. Put your babies in Black Flag onesies, but make sure their stroller is more high tech than anything mankind ever took to the Moon, because that wolf is always at the door. And buy yourself a house, because property is always valuable. Even if you don’t have the credit, because there’s this thing called a “subprime mortgage” you can get now!

But the world changed again. And kept changing. So now you’ve got this degree that’s worth fuck-all, a house that’s worth more as scrap lumber than as a substantial investment, and you’re either going to lose your job or have to do the work of two people, because there’s a recession on. Except they keep saying the recession ended, so why are you still working twice as hard for the same amount of money?

We started two wars, only one of them even marginally justifiable, and thousands and thousands of people died. Some of them were Americans, most of them weren’t. The world hated us again. It’s psychically oppressive to realize you’re the bad guy.

Of course, for a lot of the world, America had always been the bad guy…but we didn’t really know that before, because we didn’t have the Internet in our pocket, to be pulled out at every lunch break and before the meal came and when the episode of Scrubs on TV dragged a little, and before bed. We were encouraged to immerse ourselves in the endless flow of information, to become better informed, because knowing more about the world made us better people.

And maybe it did, but it also made us haunted people.

Yesterday morning, when I woke up, I clicked on a video in my Twitter feed that showed mutilated children being dragged from the streets of Gaza. And I started sobbing — just sobbing, sitting there in my bed with the covers around my waist, saying “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” over and over to the empty room. Dead children, torn to bits. And then it was time for…what? Get up, eat my cereal, go about my day? Every day?

So you’re haunted, and you’re outraged, and you go on Twitter and you go on Facebook and you change your avatar or your profile picture to a slogan somebody thoughtfully made for you, so that you can show the world that you’re watching, that you care, that it matters. But if you’re at all observant, you begin to realize after a while that it doesn’t matter; that your opinion matters for very little in the world. You voted for Obama, because Obama was about hope and change; except he seems to be mostly about hope and change for rich people, and not about hope at all for the people who are killed by American drones or who are locked away without trial in American internment camps or who are prosecuted because they stand up and tell the truth about their employers. There does seem to be a lot of hope and change in Fort Meade and Langley, though, where the NSA and CIA are given more and more leeway to spy on everyone in the world, including American citizens, not for what they’ve done but what they might do.

And the rest of the world? They keep making more dead children. They slaughter each other in the streets of Baghdad and Libya and Gaza and Tel Aviv; they slaughter each other in the hills of Syria; and, increasingly, they slaughter each other in American schools and movie theaters and college campuses.

And when you speak up about that — when you write to your Congressperson to say that you believe in, say, stricter control on the purchase of assault weapons, or limiting the rights of corporations to do astonishing environmental damage, or not sending billions of dollars to the kind of people who think it’s funny to launch missiles filled with flechette rounds into the middle of schools where children huddle together — you’re told that, no, you’re the fascist: that people have the right to defend themselves and make money, and that those rights trump your right to not be killed by some fucking lunatic when you’re waiting in line at Chipotle to grab a chicken burrito, and your right to not be able to light your tapwater on fire with a Zippo because of the chemicals in it, or not to end up in a grainy YouTube video while some demented religious fanatic hacks your head off with a rusty bayonet because your country — not you, but who’s counting — is the Great Satan.

And the music sucks. Dear God, the music sucks. Witless, vapid bullshit that makes the worst airheaded wannabe profundities of the grunge era look like the collected works of Thomas Locke. Half the songs on the radio aren’t anything more than a looped 808 beat and some dude grunting and occasionally talking about how he likes to fuck bitches in the ass. The other half are grown-ass adults singing about their stunted, adolescent romantic ideals and playing a goddamn washtub while dressed like extras from The Waltons.

The music sucks. The movies suck — I mean, they didn’t suck the first time they came out, in the 1980s, but the remakes and gritty reboots and decades-past-their-sell-by-date sequels suck. Indiana Jones is awesome, but nobody needs to see a geriatric Harrison Ford, lured out of retirement by the promise of building another mansion onto his mansion, running around with fucking Shia LeBeouf in the jungle. And besides, we’re all media experts now; we can spot the merchandising nods from the trailer all the way to the final credits. There’s no magic left. It’s just another company figuring out a way to suck the very last molecules of profit out of the things we cherish, because that’s what corporations do.

Everything is branded. Even people. People are “personal brands”, despite the fact that, by and large, you can’t figure out what most of them are actually even good for. They just exist to be snarky and post selfies and demand that you buy something, anything, with their picture on it.

You actually know who Kim Kardashian is. In an ideal world, you’d be as unaware of her existence as you are of the names of the Chinese kids who made the futurephone or featherweight laptop you’re almost certainly reading this on. In an ideal world, Kim Kardashian would have spent her life getting sport-fucked anonymously by hip-hop stars in some Bel Air mansion, ran a salon, and either died of a coke overdose or Botox poisoning. There is no reason that her face and her life and her tits and her deathless thoughts needed to be foisted upon the world outside of the 90210 ZIP code. Except that somebody figured out that you could make money off showing people the car accident in slow motion, that people would watch that. Sure they will. People love to watch stupid people do stupid things. It makes them feel less stupid.

And the Internet.

We built this thing — I include myself in that because I started doing HTML in 1994 and was part of the generation who took to the new medium like water and have made the majority of our adult lives creating it, to a greater or lesser degree — because we believed it would make things better for everyone. We believed it would give voice to the voiceless, hope to the hopeless, bring us all together, help us to understand and empathize and share with one another. We believed it could tear down the walls.

And in a lot of ways it has. But in just as many ways, it has driven us all insane. There’s an old story — I have no idea if it’s true — about monkeys who had the pleasure centers of their brains wired up to a button. Push it, Mr. Monkey, and you have an orgasm. And the monkeys did. They pushed the button and they pushed the button, until they forgot about eating and they forgot about drinking and sleeping and simply fell down and died.

What do you do when you first wake up? What do you do as soon as you get into work? After work? Before bed? Hell, some of us wake up in the night and check our feeds, terrified that we’ve missed out on something.

We do it because we are given that reward, that stimulus that tells us oooh, a new shiny! It’s the fourteenth Guardians Of The Galaxy trailer, with 200% more Rocket Raccoon! Some fucking null node in Portland made a portrait of every single character from Adventure Time out of bacon and Legos! And, maybe most poisonous, maybe most soul-crushing: somebody said something I don’t like that makes me feel frightened and threatened! It’s time to put on my superhero costume and forward unto battle!

Except it doesn’t matter. Because you’re not really changing anybody’s mind. How often does that little skirmish end with anybody changing their mind at all, even a little bit? Or does it just end with one of you invariably either blocking the other or saying something like “You know what, I’m going to stop now, because this is getting out of hand.”

Getting out of hand?

Everything they told you about how to live in the world when you were a kid is a lie. Education doesn’t matter, not even on paper. Being ethical doesn’t matter. Being a good person doesn’t matter. What matters now is that you’re endlessly capable of the hustle, of bringing in that long green, of being entertaining to enough people that somebody will want to give you money or fuck you or fund your startup. We’re all sharks now; if we stop swimming for just a little too long, we die. We lose followers. We’re lame. We’re not worth funding, or fucking. Because all that matters is the endless churn, the endless parade, the endless cycle of buying and trying to sell and being bought and sold by people who tell you that they’re your friends, man, not like those others. Microsoft is evil and Google is not evil, except when they are, but that’s not really important, and if you decide that maybe you’re tired of being reduced to nothing more than a potential lead for a sales pitch, like something out of a fucking David Mamet play, then you’re a hater and irrelevant and a Luddite. And besides, what would you do with yourself if you weren’t checking Facebook or playing Candy Crush Saga or watching some teenage dumbass smash his genitals on the side of a pool on YouTube? What the fuck would you even do, bro?

The comedian Bill Hicks used to do a bit where he invited the advertisers and marketers in his audience to kill themselves. He imagined them turning it into an ad campaign: “Oh, the righteous indignation dollar, that’s a good dollar, Bill’s smart to do that.” He laid out the futility of trying to escape: “I’m just caught in a fucking web,” he’d say.

And that’s where we are. You, me, we’re trapped, between being nothing more than consumers, every aspect of our lives quantified and turned into demographic data, or being fucking Amish cavemen drifting into increasing irrelevancy. Because it really does feel like there’s no middle ground anymore, doesn’t it? There’s no way to stay an active, informed citizen of the world without some motherfucker figuring out a way to squirm into your life to try and get a dollar out of you. Only fools expect something for free, and only bigger fools believe they’re anything other than a consumable or a consumer.

We didn’t get the William Gibson future where you can live like a stainless steel rat in the walls between the corporate enclaves, tearing at the system from within with your anarchy and your superior knowledge of Unix command lines. Now it’s just pissed off teenagers who blame you because their lives are going to suck a cock and billionaire thugs trying to sell you headphones and handbags, all to a soundtrack of some waterhead muttering “Bubble butt, bubble bubble bubble butt” over and over while a shite beat thumps in the background.

I know a lot of people who privately long for an apocalypse of some kind, a breakdown of the ancient Western code, because then they’d either be dead or free. How fucking horrifying is that?

But nobody pulls that trigger, because now we’ve all seen what apocalypses look like. We saw Manhattan in 2001 and New Orleans in 2005 and Thailand in 2004 and the Middle East pretty much any given day. Nobody wants to hate, because we’re pummeled with hate every day, by people who are too fucking stupid to understand that the world has passed them by as much as it’s passed by the dude in the Soundgarden t-shirt who still drives around singing along to “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” on his way to his dead-end job. The best lack all conviction, and the people who are full of passionate intensity? Fuck them. We’re all sick of their shit anyway.

And that’s where we are, and is it any goddamn wonder at all that the most profitable drugs sold in America for like a decade running have been antipsychotics? The world seems psychotic.

I feel like I need to figure this out, like figuring all of this out and finding new ways to live has become the most important thing I could possibly do, not just for myself and the people I love but for the entire human race. I don’t mean me alone — I’m far too self-loathing to have a messiah complex — but I feel like, for me, this is the best use of my time. Because the world is making me crazy and sad and wanting to just put a gun in my mouth, and it’s doing the same thing to a lot of people who shouldn’t have to feel this way.

I don’t believe anymore that the answer lies in more or better tech, or even awareness. I think the only thing that can save us is us. I think we need to find ways to tribe up again, to find each other and put our arms around each other and make that charm against the dark. I don’t mean in any hateful or exclusionary way, of course. But I think like minds need to pull together and pool our resources and rage against the dying of the light. And I do think rage is a component that’s necessary here: a final fundamental fed-up-ness with the bullshit and an unwillingness to give any more ground to the things that are doing us in. To stop being reasonable. To stop being well-behaved. Not to hate those who are hurting us with their greed and psychopathic self-interest, but to simply stop letting them do it. The best way to defeat an enemy is not to destroy them, but to make them irrelevant.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t know some truth that I can reveal to everyone. All I can do is hurt, and try to stop hurting, and try to help other people stop hurting. Maybe that’s all any of us can do. But isn’t that something worth devoting yourself to, more than building another retarded app that just puts more nonsense and bullshit into the world? Just finding people to love, and healing each other? I think it is.

Until I know more, I’ll just keep holding on. I won’t put the gun in my mouth. Because all of this sadness is worth it if there’s still hope. And I want to still have hope so badly. I still want to believe, in myself, and in you.

Listen

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129 Responses to Everyone I know is brokenhearted.

  1. Pingback: Technology, not aid, is the key to African development - htxt.africa

  2. Apoll0Dawn says:

    Dear Mr. Ellis I’m one of those intensely passionate people whose shit you are sick of. Why don’t you turn off your phone/computer and Why don’t you stop eating e-shit if you don’t like the taste? If you want to find a tribe, look for one that isn’t full of self pitying (much the same as self loathing) individuals such as yourself, because that will only make it worse. Why don’t you stop caring about “the world” and its dead babies and starting caring about yourself? Man the fuck up. Change starts from within. I have found my tribe. Yes, it has elements of consumerism / corporatism, but it is logical that the only way for my tribe to survive/have presence in the world today, is by taking on a little of that consumerist exchange system/”DNA”. My tribe builds me up from the inside. My tribe gives me things which no-one and no-thing can take away from me. Each new day I am a little better than the day before. The world’s problems are not my problems until they become my problems – then I will face them like a man. Stay Well. A person from Africa.

  3. admin says:

    Buddy, you may have pegged me as a whiny little wussy, but you misread me by a mile. I don’t walk away from the screen because the screen is what I do for a living. And I’ll tell you something funny, “person from Africa”: whenever people like me do turn away from “the world”, and stop paying attention to the shit that goes on in your part of the world, we’re called indifferent monsters, aren’t we?

    So I guess we’re all trying to find a balance, aren’t we?

    Oh, and another thing: I do get to bits of Africa occasionally. Maybe next time I’m there we can meet up and you can tell me to “man up” to my face. I very sincerely doubt it, though. Nobody but anonymous Internet cowards ever say shit like that to me. Usually they change their mind when they see me in person.

  4. dobrien75 says:

    That was a great article Josh. While I agree with most of it, the one thing that I’ve recently started to realise is that it is way too easy to find yourself in the standard consumer bell curve. No wonder, as most of the media outlets (of all forms) direct you towards a particular stream that they are promoting.

    This just means you are directed towards listening to shitty music, to watch shitty movies, read shitty books and watch endless videos of cats.

    The reality is that all creative genres are much larger and deeper than we can realistically consume as such. I’m an amateur musician and so I expose myself to a large range of musical acts, and it’s hugely exciting and over whelming at the same time. This is true of almost everything, and it is now a lot easier to find it.

    I agree that we need to tribalise (word?) in a positive way, but the world need not be as dystopian as you suggest.

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  6. lanboelder says:

    Everyday I wake up and feel like I was born on the wrong planet, or at the wrong time, or both. That’s how I relate to what you wrote. Sometimes I feel like that one way trip to Mars wouldn’t be so bad. -Landon

  7. mkhyc10 says:

    @Apoll0Dawn Bravisimo.

  8. Pingback: Weeknotes, 10/08/14

  9. holidaydarin says:

    Never heard of you. Came across your post via someone I follow on Twitter. This is one of the upsides of connectivity.

    You shared some meaty thoughts, and ones that I represent accurately issues that impact many of us personally, as well as characterize who we are as a society (and species). I too registered so I could add to this conversation. Thanks for taking the time to put them out here.

    Count me as one who shares many of the feelings you express here. I’m 15 years older than you. I read (past tense) a lot of alternative histories before the Internet came along, so I was skeptical of the mainstream paradigm before getting connected. The information I’ve saturated myself with since then has only made me more doubtful that humans are collectively able to align long-term interests with shorter-term decisions.

    A core personal struggle for me is one that you note at the end of your 8/7 1:05 a.m. response — the balance between empathy and willful ignorance. There is a lot of power in the meme, “What has been seen cannot be unseen.” If you want to be empathetic in a connected world, I don’t see how you cannot despair.

    Unlike you, however, “All the genuinely smart, talented, funny people I know seem to be miserable these days,” is not true for me. Some of them, even some who are hyper-connected and work in tech, seem to be able to not let the bad news bring them down. Others make the choice to be less connected. By all appearances, they are living happier lives.

    By definition, empathy demands getting outside yourself, extending yourself to feel what others might feel. Connectivity serves up an infinite pool from which to feel. Even if you categorize and pick the issues important to you — environmental degradation, civil liberties, wealth disequilibrium, plunder of the Commons, human trafficking, media consolidation/hypocrisy, etc. etc. etc… — a specialized empathic focus can overwhelm.

    But…what to do? Stop feeling? Stop caring? Where is the line between prudent self preservation and willful ignorance? Is woodworking more virtuous than Fantasy Football?

    I could go on about this for a long time, but my response here is rambling. Let me just reiterate, I think there is something to what some posters here have said about mindfulness, and what I’m talking about with empathy, as well as a healthy perspective on one’s ego. If you start from the premise that being born into this conscious life is a gift, it seems like you can only do your best, and ‘best’ seems to be a moving target.

    Good luck, sincerely!

  10. Pingback: Everyone is not brokenhearted | Darien Peak

  11. TylerJacobson says:

    Just wanted to pop into the avalanche of comments to say that this was a perfect summation. It articulated a lot of general frustration with culture and politics and the future that I’ve had but couldn’t really make coherent points of. We all seem to get it – if it’s insanity then it’s a shared insanity. Never stop talking about how things could and should be.

  12. erikalopez says:

    i read your earlier post “if this is paradise, i wish i had a lawnmower,” about what’s happening here in san francisco and i almost fell to my knees when you said that the mid-market area’s becoming a “douchebag terrarium”!

    oh, my dear man, you are waking up to the reality of colonialism and capitalism. this is what colored people have been grieving about for a long ass time: everything’s for sale. EVERYTHING. even how we find love, or what passes for love.

    thus, EVERYONE’S for sale and must be for sale, or you will not be allowed to exist in this world.

    the only “happy, well-adjusted” people i see are the ones busy enough with jobs that at least cover their basic needs. it’s when you’re on the losing end of this american experiment, and see the quicksand disappearance of all we took for granted while growing up (even SHREDS of “honor,” included).

    now it’s open season and a mean, mean country indeed. you are right.

    and no, there’s no changing. and it’s like going through the x-amount of stages — like disillusionment; bargaining; resignation; regeneration?… etcetera.

    my most recent existential horror was realizing that even you white people aren’t safe from white people. casualties among your own are expected and tolerated, and often blamed on the person.

    i don’t read blogs much anymore, but i followed the comments here.

    dear josh- beware of the tendency–HABIT–of only or EVEN answering back the trolls or the complainers, while ignoring all the love coming at you.

    i know it must be overwhelming to strike such a nerve and then.. WHAT? silence.

    you wrote outside the ego, but the ego basks, and then panics.. how do you duplicate this experience of connecting on such a vulnerable raw level?

    not by answering trolls. you create what you give attention to.

    teach YOURSELF to connect to the LOVE. it’s scary. and not real in cyberspace, so move this to your REAL life. just like when you tried to understand the Tenderloin neighborhood on its own molotov-cocktail terms instead of making it conform to yours.

    go back to your moments with PEOPLE like that. here and in real life. i got sad when you only answered the ones who wanted to be heard or fight with you.

    i myself got so excited by your post, i wanted to punch holes in walls! or hug my best friend.

    don’t let this moment die. you get SO much. maybe we can’t change hundreds of years of american “Fuck you” capitalism in our tiny little lifetimes, but we can meet this age on its own terms.

    and when you see how hard it is to change YOURSELF, you’ll understand more why things are so crappy and why they’ll stay that way.

    we all got hip way too late. it’s all rigged already. it has to all go where it’s going, this long-tail evil.

    anyone who tells you to buck up and have hope? they’re just suburban white people who never ever hear the screams of anyone or anything else.

    i’m half white. living in between the two worlds? talk about cognitive dissonance. ay!

    all the ranting homeless guys from my youth? they were prophets. i thought they were mad vietnam vets. they were WARNING us.

    so practice giving energy back to the love you get; not the complaints. see only “pretty things.” we’ve got enough bad voices in our heads to contend with.

    and when you see just how hard it is giving love energy back to LOVE–for you’ll feel vulnerable and scared if you’re always doing it right and true–when you see how hard it is to change yourself, you’ll see reality.

    not so you can sob and cry.

    but so you can laugh at the darkness and shrug through it and find what is alive.

    THAT is you as an artist. and how you loved the Tenderloin and anyone who’ll let you love them.

    i can tell.

    us old girls can tell the sweetest lovers in an instant.

    best of luck finding your way. THIS is the artist’s conundrum. it’s been going on forEVER and why they kill us dead like screaming canaries.

    x

  13. mkhyc10 says:

    @erikalopez What a freaking bunch of spoiled whiners. First of all let me start here; “oh, my dear man, you are waking up to the reality of colonialism and capitalism. this is what colored people have been grieving about for a long ass time” Colonialism is the history of the PLANET and ‘colored’ people perpetrated it as much as ‘white’ people. Every freaking country in the world is based on conquest. You know who complains the loudest? The last guy to get ousted from his land who conveniently forgets he ousted someone before him (this applies to ‘Native Americans’ as well as anyone else.

    However listening to a bunch of sniveling white tech kids complain because the worlds isn’t a perfect place or because of, of all things, AMERICA and CAPITALISM and the INTERNET is frankly sickening. You aren’t upset at the consumerism you are upset because you cannot afford all of it.

    What I’d most wish for if I could is a time-machine because I would pile you all into it and send you back to the ‘good old days’ and seal the door just to hear you banging on it and screaming to come back. Even starting here; most of you would be dying or dead of old age by 30 and 50% of you would have died by age 5. You wouldn’t have time to bitch about GMO foods while you decided whether to use the hour or less of your labor to provide you with a day of sustenance with cuisine from around the world, you’d be too exhausted from hunting or planting or reaping to do anything but stuff the food in your mouth if you even had any and falling into yet another night of exhausted fearful sleep in your ‘nasty, brutish and short existence’.

    None of you need anything but a good fucking slap in the face. Don’t bother replying anyone I won’t be reading this thread anymore it literally makes me nauseous.

    Given the history of the US and the challenges to black people here given this slice of history I might cut you of all people on this ‘thread’ some slack for actually facing difficult and even insurmountable obstacles.

  14. erikalopez says:

    my dear ubiquitously-anonymous cranky pants, “mkhyc10,” i give you a big kiss and even a little noogie, you’re so darn cute. you’re not going anywhere, my darling little frustrated nauseous one. (smile) you’re all over this place and very much still HERE, you poor thing. you LIKE it here. for good reason. it’s been sweet here, hasn’t it?

    relax. try not to look for the fight all the time; it cuts down on the nausea, baby doll.

    x

    –erika lopez

  15. hmmhmm says:

    on The Nature of Hurt

    from the 30th Minute in the video

    Freedom from the Known books.google.co.in/books?isbn=1407060791

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  19. harlekein says:

    I would full heartedly recommend reading the free book Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein. Just start reading and you will see if you want to keep reading or not.

  20. SISYPHUS says:

    This is the best summary of life in 2014 that I’ve read in a while. And the fact that I found it thanks to the 60 year old father of one of my wife’s cousins makes it even better. He was recommending it by the way on his facebook page. So one positive of tech is that I found this. Try not to put the gun in your mouth, more and more are these days. A friend of mine found his end jumping out of his car on the freeway earlier this week. And he seemed to have everything. Fuck the corporatists trolling this page. They’re just upset because you’re calling them out on their soulessness and it reminds the little pure piece of themselves that’s still left what they used to care about.

  21. Suzie says:

    This is the most articulate and well written description of how I feel and how I know many others, including some of my children, feel about living in this world today. And I live in a place/situation that mitigates, or should at least, a lot of the frustrating pieces of this puzzling life. BTW, I love technology but its promise has not lived up to its potential, just like we talked about TV, back in the day. I live in a pretty good opportunistic and optimistic-like world; Northern California, Foodie Heaven, semi-rural, close to the arts, high-techish, and “stuff” available to me when and where I want it. But the part that makes it all a little better for me is that I live in an intentional community. Back when I had to put my money where my mouth was I took the leap and locked-up my home ownership money into a situation that is more tribal and therefore not so easy to get out of. I had a dream recently that the world had fallen apart. We were all running away from a tremendously horrible situation. A nightmare except that at one point I found myself stopping in the dream and realizing that running was not the answer. Home, staying put, being with those I love and count on now – that was the answer even if it meant that that might be the worse place to be. I am with you Erika Lopez! Love and be kind. Put the defensiveness aside. You are awesome and brilliant Josh. Thank you! I want you in my tribe! We need you.

  22. erikalopez says:

    You ARE awesome and brilliant, Josh. Hang in there. This is the darkness and unknowing that Rollo May speaks about facing chin-out in his book, THE COURAGE TO CREATE.

    And I wanna thank all the people for daring to not skim Josh and connect and write him love letters back. They’re not just love letters to him, but to us all.

    I feel like Josh’s blog posting here is a sign of a turning point. Finally! Artists (in the expansive term) and people on the bottom rungs of society scream first, and I was feeling terrified at how cavalier and oblivious “the regular, well-adjusted people” seemed until NOW.

    We will have to venture out and bump into each other, dare to be embarrassed, not know what to say next.

    We’ll have to live life without the phrase book. Stumble through our own sentences, feelings, relationships, FUTURES.

    I don’t have anymore cute American Hope with the trademark sign. However I refuse to waste what’s left of my life in despair or ignorant isolation.

    Artists, poets NOTICE the details. Find GOD in the details. And I feel like i’ve seen god in Josh’s struggle and all he’s shared with us.

    Josh. Hang in there. I felt your excitement and manic urge to LIVE and choose excitement, danger, and knowledge in going to Ferguson.

    Maybe Ferguson isn’t it. But now learn to MODULATE your passion and excitement so that it’s always there and ready and idling under the surface. There aren’t only two choices: to live dead and unfeeling or passionately slamming your body into walls as you fling yourself toward what’s calling you.

    You scratched at something new and daring and UN-IDENTIFIED. there will be discomfort. sit still with it and i believe you will be called to some kind of action.

    This is a long game. A very, very long game. And yes, we do NEED YOU.

    We need the courageous bad asses who don’t crave the neutering dopamine hit of a “thumbs up” response.

    We need people who’re willing to be WRONG pariahs.

    It’s no easy feat; the more effective you are at promoting love and justice, the more likely you are to get fired, killed, stripped of your career, shot, or …crucified.

    I just wanted to say thank you to you all, and good-bye for now, Josh. If you ever see a dancing Puerto Rican girl on the street, stop by and say hello. That’s me.

    x

  23. erikalopez says:

    P.S. Dear, Dear SUZIE–

    Whoa…this blew my cotton-picking MIND when you wrote this:

    “I had a dream recently that the world had fallen apart. We were all running away from a tremendously horrible situation. A nightmare except that at one point I found myself stopping in the dream and realizing that running was not the answer. Home, staying put, being with those I love and count on now – that was the answer even if it meant that that might be the worse place to be.”

    I used to get angry at the folks I knew who’d say they’d wanna leave the country. I was like “fuck YOU” because what about the rest of us who CAN’T afford to up and leave. what about US???

    And I realized there’s nowhere else to really even GO. you’re just a tourist, an american consumer. just like the techies who’ve moved here and never look up from their phones.

    it’s another form of treating everything and everyone as disposable.

    so yeah, Suzie… thanks for writing that. I needed to hear that myself.

    Best of luck to us all and thank you all for being so sweet and passing arounds TRUE and real hope: that we can at least find each other again.

    They don’t even grow peaches in georgia anymore. i’ve been sad we’ll never find each other again, either.

    Thanks, Josh. For all this. for creating such a feeling in your “place.”

    expand this to real life, now. in YOUR way. that’s the adventure.

    Thanks again, you all. Even you crankier ones here. I know you’re cranky and STILL HERE because this is also a stage in depression and existential crises: fighting to maintain your illusions at all costs. Even murdering evidence to the contrary.

    It is scary to realize you don’t know shit and never really DID. that all you knew was handed down to you and rife with hypocrisy contradictions and death of all kinds.

    Where to go?

    This is a question for EVERYONE. everything’s changing.

    And people like Josh who even SEE the real life molotov cocktails are the real men now.

    Yep. This is truly bringing “sexy” back.

    (smile)

    Bye, y’all. Back to the real world adventures for me. You all have given me courage to ramp up my vulnerability and strength and willingness to love without embarrassment even MORE.

    that’s the gift of LIFE. that’s GOD to me! Passion….

    pass it on, y’all! We ALL want to fall in love. No one’s swaggering. Only the dead swagger.

    x

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  25. jasoncomely says:

    You are co-author of this world, my friend. Help make it better. Focus on one thing and give us your solution. You don’t have time to be depressed.

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  29. ilias says:

    Hi Josh, are almost scary the similarities that I found in the thoughts I wrote down few months ago in the same period of time. http://iliasbartolini.name/~brain/index.php/2014/07/29/rage-against-the-system/ Part discomfort, part outraged, similar conclusions.

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