what are you going to do with your time?
I love these and think they are so beautifully articulated:
"It’s too easy to confuse playing the “performing yourself” game with figuring out who that self really is."
"The pressure to perform and live up to the expectations of others is not a new social phenomenon — nor a bad one. But the way it manifests at the internet’s global scale increases its intensity tenfold — especially for young people. The goal is no longer to simply live up to the high expectations of your parents and peers — online you could be striving to appease the CEO of the company you most admire’s ambient interest in “your trajectory.” The potential to be believed in by so many people you don’t even know is both a uniquely internet-enabled blessing and a surprisingly heavy burden to bear."
Two little prods:
1. I notice that a lot of younger tech writers / thinkers use the metaphor of "games" a lot to describe life decisions. Why is that? I think it has something to do with vulnerability, the kind of spirit of looseness that is necessary to mitigate the "surprisingly heavy burden" you describe above, but I'm not sure. What do you think?
(My positionality: I'm 27, not THAT old but I notice I have a lot of millennial sincerity tendencies internally, I don't really understand the idea of the game metaphor. If I were to become a PM I'd just say "I'm becoming a PM" or "I'm getting this PM job" or maybe "I'm taking this PM path." All of these examples feel more sincere than describing it as a game.)
2. You say you are playing a satisfaction game but even such a game is inevitably influenced by others, for example, not being boring necessitates the question, boring to WHOM? Presumably to yourself, but with the weight of all those Twitter eyes, it's unfortunately easy to slip into trying not to be boring for THEM. Or perhaps it's satisfying to you personally to not seem boring to others.
Just wondering aloud because I myself am feeling rather illegible these days but struggling to centre just my own satisfaction, I wonder if individual satisfaction from centering your own nose is a myth or at least, a rockier path than we would like it to be.
Great read! I like the framing of playing an off-the-shelf game vs choosing your own adventure.
You mentioned religion as a glue to society. I grew up Pentecostal, and I am now an atheist, and the the biggest thing I feel that I lost is the concept of "God as purpose-giver". Abide by certain rules and try your best and God has a plan, even if something doesn't work out how you expect. I really miss that. It's something every Christian I knew growing up would say, which was very reassuring, even if our lives were very different. I've tried to replace "God as purpose-giver" with "from chaos can come beauty" but that feels more statistical (from chaos can come endless pain) rather than absolute (God has a plan, even if you can't understand it).
Before reading this I was feeling unchallenged and not engaged at work, and not seeing the meaning in it either. Doesn't make for a healthy position.
After reading, feel like I have been reminded to reorient towards the Good Quests I want to play (define), where my competitive edges might lay, and where my nose sniffs for curiosity.
Peace & Love
Interesting and I think reflective of an intensely felt reality for young people today, but also the idea of there being to meaning to be found in science or art unless it is a custom tailored endeavor specifically to you, or more broadly that finding meaning is an individual endeavor seems a byproduct of our societal focus on individualism. And it's probably wrong. Something that religion understood and we struggle to grasp now, it's the classic problem Nietchze described: what a struggle it is to find meaning in a world that has killed God.
so thoughtful and beautifully put