I could make so much more money writing if I just told people what they wanted to hear. I already know I’m going to get into trouble for writing this, so why am I doing it?
I have this compulsion to tell the truth, or at least the truth as I see it, even to my detriment. And the truth is that there are a lot of cultural trends in society that are making people miserable and it’s obvious.
Not picking on him, but Tom Kuegler posted this Tweet the other day:
Let’s stop the false belief that you need to swear away porn, drinking, sugar, Netflix, and god forbid anything else that gives life a little fucking flavor in order to be successful.
I mean, I agree with the sentiment. But it’s not as if most people just dabble in these a little bit and stop just before the point these activities make them start to hate themselves. No, a bunch of people in society are run by these habits. Programmed. It probably is a good idea to swear them off for a while and get your shit together if I’m being honest.
There’s just this growing culture of it somehow being okay to be a loser. Nobody should be judged. We should all get to do whatever we want and suffer zero consequences from it. It’s a nice utopian sort of thought. But like all utopian concepts, it only works in theory, not in practice.
Do what you want to do. But if you engage parts of this list too much you’ll probably end up hating yourself to varying degrees.
“A little porn doesn’t hurt.” Sure, I’ll grant you that. But how many people watch just a little bit of porn? It’s a major issue, especially for men.
Constantly ejaculating into your own hand from watching videos and images of other people having sex on a screen isn’t be good for your confidence, self-esteem, sex drive, any of it. Imagine a kid with a smartphone at age 11 with unlimited access to porn while going through the most tumultuous time in their genetic development. That can’t be good.
Having a never-ending stream of dopamine hits isn’t good for your brain either. I’ve had that experience watching porn — suffering from the paradox of choice with my dick in my hand. Too many videos to choose from for the ‘ending.’
Excessive porn use and masturbation have been linked to erectile dysfunction. It’s been linked to anxiety and depression. Clearly it can cause issues in marriages and relationships. And a lot of men use it as a scapegoat to cope with the fact they don’t think they measure up with women in the real world.
Don’t just take my word for it, ask the millions of men who’ve joined movements like no-fap because they realize how much of an issue, an addiction, porn has become in their lives. Remember my rule: if you hear a sweeping top-down message from the media or society it’s probably bad for you. I’ve seen a bunch of outlets and pundits speak out against guys who are practicing no-fap or participating in ‘no-nut November.’
Why do people care if guys are choosing not to masturbate for a month? If you’ve been paying attention, the answer is obvious. Your societal overlords hate anything that has to do with personal responsibility, discipline, or boosting your own self-esteem without their help. Distraction-free people become aware and awake people. Porn is a huge time suck and distraction so it’s promoted as healthy. It’s not.
Alcohol is the only drug people question you for not doing. It’s kind of strange that such a destructive drug is so normalized in our culture. A night of too much drinking and a few poor decisions can change your entire life or cost you your life, or someone else’s. Just ask Henry Ruggs who now faces decades in prison after killing a woman and her dog while driving drunk.
Jordan Peterson put it well in an interview with Theo Von:
“You might say, why do people drink too much? If you like alcohol that’s a stupid question. Well, cause it’s great. So why stop? You do stupid things when you’re drunk, you compromise your health, it’s really hard on the people around you, it tends to turn you into a liar, and it screws up your life.”
But, you don’t drink and drive, so you’re good. You’re not a binge drinker, so it’s fine. You just like to have one or two to relax with your buddies after work. Maybe a glass of wine after a long day, a few days a week, maybe all week. You don’t get drunk, you just like the taste.
I drink. I’m not saying don’t drink, ever. But I am saying that alcohol is pretty much poison and it creates a slippery slope that has a ton of consequences. It messes with your fitness gains, sleep quality, and has also been liked to anxiety and depression. It’s a personal choice for all of us, but ask yourself what role drinking plays in your life. Why do you do it?
Do you do it genuinely for fun? Or do you do it to cope with what’s going on in your life? Is drinking getting in the way of a better life for you or does it fit well with the live you want to live? I’ve seen a recent string of friends, acquaintances, and even people I interact with online saying they’re ready to put the bottle down for good because it’s just a net negative. These aren’t all alcoholics either, just people who’ve come to the conclusion that drinking is fucked.
I’ve never come across someone with politics as a central piece of their identity that looks happy. And political affiliation as a central piece of identity has been running rampant.
I kid you not, half the profiles I see on dating apps have some sort of political reference or reference to a topic that has been politicized. You see it on social media profiles. Is that really what people think is most important about them? That’s all they have? Is this where we’re at as a society? I’m afraid so. We’ve gone from an era where it was gauche to discuss politics to one where it’s all we talk about.
I read this Tweet from the anonymous fiction writer Delicious Tacos:
Abandon your political ideology. It’s just making you mad.
Nobody cares about political issues as much as they love to virtue signal, finger wag, and be smug self-righteous jerks. Both sides. This quote from the Last Psychiatrist says it perfectly:
What do protestors want? Can they articulate it meaningfully, not in platitudes or “people over profits” or “more fair income redistribution” soundbites? They can’t tell you because they don’t know. They can, however, yell at you what they don’t like, and the louder they yell it the more they hear it themselves. Nothing is expected to be accomplished, it is all for branding.
Drop the brand.
“Everything on the Internet is Porn. Your goals & visions should only exist in your Minds Eye. You should only be able to see them by manifesting them into reality Constantly viewing a life you dont live isn’t motivation, it’s a masturbation that robs you of focus & imagination.” – Brother Lobo
Comparison is the thief of joy, right? Then Instagram has got to be making us miserable. If you spend every day of your life looking at the highlight reels of other people, it’s going to be hard to feel good about yourself.
You look at perfectly sculpted, and photoshopped, bodies that make you feel bad about your own self-image. You see the seemingly glamorous lives of others, which can be faked. Here’s an article about how fake influencers rent a Lamborghini for cheap or take pictures on a private Jet that never leaves the ground.
Human beings are social animals that have a comparison mechanism wired into them. At least when you’re in person you can size someone up more accurately. Online? Everyone’s confident, everyone’s a genius, and everyone’s beautiful, except for you of course.
The internet is here to stay and most of us are trapped in it for good, including me. But be careful to not let your brain get turned into total mush. Every time I watch Wall-E it seems prescient like that’s exactly where we’re headed. We’d rather live in the fake world than the real world. The metaverse is already here — look at your screen time.
All of these points aren’t meant to be finger wags. They’re meant to wake you up a bit and temper some of these habits that, when overlapped, will make you feel bad about yourself.
I’m not some puritanical type of person at all. I’m very libertarian when it comes to letting people choose how they want to live. It’s literally a free country.
But, there are some ways to live that are objectively better than others or are at least very subjectively better than others. What am I trying to say here? I’m trying to say you can’t just live any way you want and expect things to go well. Without some organizing principles and standards for how to live, you’re going to get lost. You’ll fall into nihilism.
“God is dead,” because people think they’re smarter than God. They’re not. They need some structure, guidance, and wisdom. If you take out the fanatical aspects of religion, like telling people they’re going to go to hell if they don’t believe, the vanilla tenets of Judeo-Christian ethics are pretty good. We built society on them. Society is falling apart without them.
Mainly, it’s falling apart because many of us don’t see each other, ourselves, as divine. And I’m just defining divine as someone who is special because they miraculously appeared onto this planet when the odds were slim to none. When we lose that, and reduce ourselves and others to something less than that, we can end up hating ourselves and each other at the same time.