My day to day life is spent around people – mostly work associates – who are all fairly similar in one respect. Not over-educated at all. Work the same kinds of jobs. Good families. They’re fine people. Yet in talking with them I find this one aspect in which they are similar: the problems which they bear far outweigh the kind of lifestyles they live. The ratio is so far out of whack. These are simple people for the most part, who have exorbitant problems. General depression, physical breakdown, malaise, aimlessness in the workplace, at home and in the world at large. It seems odd, and it seems unfair. But what’s most odd is when they try to address some of these issues it makes their issues worse. Why?
Are we getting our knowledge and wisdom from the completely wrong places?
Are we being misdiagnosed?
We stress critical thinking, but on the opposite end of that same spectrum is critical feeling. Which we don’t know how to do because no one is teaching it. It’s been completely forgotten.
Eric Weinstein has recently said “We are Gods but for the wisdom.”
We are the smartest we have ever been as a people, but we are certainly not the wisest. We are essentially too smart for our own good but we don’t know how to appropriately feel and behave on a proper scale.
I’m not a medical professional. I don’t even think I am a writer. But I’m mostly trying to solve things out for myself because I, too, live in these environments, and have experience as being one of these people – someone trying to survive in a modern world. I been lucky enough to find various lenses through which to see life that I have found helpful that those around me have not been lucky enough to stumble upon.
Turn to the greats. No one teaches critical feeling quite like the great thinkers. Modern and Ancient alike. Taleb, Seneca, Dostoyevsky, Proust & countless others. I don’t have the answers, but these types of people might. These are the types of people we need.
We need fewer psychologists and more philosophers.
Fewer therapists and more grandparental figures.
I want to hear more about life from non experts. People with real life skin in the game experience. Whatever the experience is. I just don’t see this from very many people who resonate with me. There are experts, life experts, business experts, mental health experts. They all seem to be marketers and nothing else. It’s insincere and it’s hacky. I don’t find them relatable or helpful at all.
Emotional well-being needs to be taken back from un-relatable nerds and marketers, and put back into the hands of common old school sort of people. We need businesses that address our emotional needs. This includes a very serious and overdue dialogue about the ideas of wisdom and “mental health”. It’s been pimped and bastardized with shitty self-help books, 10-step fixes and other forms of escapism. It’s too self help-y and it sucks. We have been dead in this area for too long now and it needs a total new rebrand. Emotional “experts” just want to fill you full of pills, instead of coaching you and giving you a latticework of philosophy that is far more sustainable and far more helpful. But this takes work & the “experts” won’t save you.
Just a few years ago I read 1984. (I’m late I know.) Reading George Orwell was one of the most spiritually enhancing and life changing moments I have ever had. An entire new lens. My life up until that point was skateboarding, rap and basketball. (Still is to some degree.) But Orwell opened a world for me. Not only did he open a world for me he totally blew the hinges off whatever nothing I thought I knew before that. And I realized that his ideas – and the ideas of other great thinkers – are somehow underrated, and completely forgotten. I remember thinking “How do more people not know about this guy? Who hid this wisdom from me for two decades?” Again, these were very basic ideas. Nerds will laugh at the simplicity. But it’s sincere, and it’s really helpful.
That’s the only way people are going to be helped, is if real, meaningful ideas are shared at a level that can make a difference. I don’t mean to say Orwell has all the answers or even that I agree with everything he says. He was simply the first step on what will be a long journey.
I believe this sort of thing will help those around me most, especially when it comes to the mental health of my generations – Gen Z and Millennials – as the generations before us continue to not care about this thing to teach us these things we will have to teach ourselves. I don’t care to do anything new or groundbreaking. I don’t even care to be original. I am not smart enough for any of that. I just hope to share ideas that will strengthen us as people. People whose problems they’ve been unjustly handed by the times they live in. Hopefully new lenses can offer new perspectives that can improve a way of being.
I need to learn some of these obvious things that were never taught to myself or those around me.
“Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things.”
– G.K. Chesterton