Pleasant nonsense

Imagine pleasant nonsense. Credit: Nathan W. Pyle

I am signing off early from my data analysis session today because I feel like I’m on the brink of a burnout — which is, as you guess, not going to be good at all. I plan to get up early tomorrow and work from a cafe. A change in scenery is good sometimes.

I have been thinking about my previous post. To be honest, after finished writing it I had been hesitant to make the post public. However, I am glad to hear that it resonates so much with other people too, and that I am not alone in my struggle.

I am subscribed to Jocelyn K Glei’s newsletter, who seems to never fail to send insightful links every fortnight. I was reminded of one of her sharing on the topic of action-addiction, which seems to very much describe our tendency to appease ourselves to be mindlessly busy — otherwise, we are not living?

This paragraph struck me hard:

In Chinese, the word “busy” consists of two syllables, one meaning heart, the other death. More explanation is not needed. The busier we get, the more energy flows to the head and away from the heart. The busier we get, the more we tend to distance ourselves from others and their emotions. Action addiction keeps us busy and away from asking why. And the less we ask, the further we get removed from purpose, meaning, and love. We become effective robots that achieve more. But more is very often much less. Because the heart is not in it.

When I first joined academia, I heard (or probably read) this best advice ever — although along the way a lot of us tend to forget this. She said, “We are all clever. Let’s distinguish ourselves by being kind.”

It is somewhat startling to think that being kind is one of the options in order to live, instead of the default. So when one of my nephews were born — whilst their parents were not looking, because, some fair amount of profanities from Aunty Zana — I whispered these lines from Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater to him:

Hello babies. Welcome to earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

To end this, might be somewhat related: I am obsessed with Nathan W. Pyle’s comics Strange Planet, about a group of dorky aliens trying to navigate life on earth. Their monotonous, yet factually correct dialogues are hilarious and somewhat reminiscent of Brooklyn Nine Nine’s Captain Raymond Holt.

I wish you pleasant nonsense tonight.

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