It’s our autonomy of mind that is threatened by this unholy troika of smartphones, social media and linguistic weaponization, and there is no more important struggle today than to defend ourselves against that threat.
Humans have nervous systems that are easily hijacked. You give us something to imitate and within a few weeks we’ve learned a new way to get a social advantage. And so we have massive social cataclysms as the rules change. And the rules are changing fast.
Obviously this has anyone older than forty asking if the western world under attack. Is questioning liberalism actually the psy-op? Are we fighting amongst ourselves? Do you even know what memetic agents you are infected by?
I sure don’t what brain works in carrying but I don’t think animated porn is for me. But I also got taken in by lots of questionable narratives on modern medicine, fertility and children too. Untangling yourself from the desires you were given is exhausting. Good luck unpacking who jacked your frame!
I am finding myself fearful that I’ve not not done enough to promote it. I’m afraid I’ll look like a fool and fail at my goal of raising awareness (and ultimately money) for our policy goals. It’s probably irrational but it’s sitting heavily on my emotions at the moment.
I care a great deal about the event being a success. And I have done quite a bit to promote it and invite the right mix of folks who will be interested.
I think even admitting to the anxiety helps me recognize that it’s irrational. I do think the BBQ will be a good time. We will have food, drinks, good company and if you’d like to come it’s on August 16th. Worth a drive into Gallatin I promise.
I wish I didn’t get anxiety about if I’m working hard enough to prepare for an event. The balance between preparing and promoting an event and having it go smoothly when it comes to performing live isn’t an easy one for me. I used to obsessively prepare for everything.
Which would then backfire on me as I’d use all my energy on the lead up and find myself exhausted and frazzled when it came time to be present in the moment for a big day.
So I’m trying to not get too much in my head about if I’ve done enough. What will be will be and I can trust myself to be present in the moment to succeed.
And if you’d like to meet me in person August 16th and you happen to be in Montana I’d love to host you at my home. The topic of conversation will be the Montana Miracle and now we can continue to make the state a place for all to thrive.
Please join Alex Miller, Julie Fredrickson, and Padden Murphy as they host a meet and greet with Frontier Institute’s CEO, Kendall Cotton. We will discuss the recently passed YIMBY policies in Montana’s 2023 Legislative Session and the Frontier Institute’s future plans to ensure Montana is a place that all can thrive.
Come learn about the Frontier Institute’s impactful initiatives, enjoy some delicious food, and engage with a group of fellow Montanans dedicated to knocking down bureaucratic barriers and ensuring opportunity for all.
My day has been a little off as I’m nursing my husband through some surgery. Through frankly he’s recovering so well it’s mostly just keeping him company while I do my regular workday. But I have consumed some good content in the process of keeping him company and making sure ice packs are rotated & medicine is taken.
I watched John Mulaney standup special Baby J which was surprisingly good. My main takeaway was “being liked is a cage” but also you’ve got to watch out for how selfish everyone is in the process of managing their own traumas and addictions.
Mulaney is a fascinating example of someone going from beloved to fuck up as soon as it was clear he was a human and capable of sinning and hurting himself and others.
He got a good dose of being condemned while being shitheel as an addict. Who he really hurt other than himself I can’t say. But he was problematic says many inches of gossip writing and critical reviews. Wrong speak and shame and condemnation is so interesting as a social engagement issue for culture. It’s never really about them. We can all be assholes and unlikable in the process of being hurt and healing our hurts.
I suppose this is why I believe it’s better to never take anything personally and be sure you take care of yourself if you find yourself reacting strongly to a person’s frailty. The ones who love you will forgive you if you need to reorient yourself into doing what’s right for you so long as you don’t hurt anyone in the process. And oftentimes even if you do.
The follow up movie we watched was also about wrong think. But instead of it being about the addiction and selfishness of a celebrity it was about the selfishness of trying to decide what’s right for an entire nation. We watched the Tetris movie.
Which is quite a dramatization of how totalizing even the most glorious of ambitions can be in the hands of hands of normal frail humans. Yes I think wrong think comedians and communists are related and I swear I still think Bari Weiss is kind of an asshole. Most of the comedians asking for forgiveness for wrong think aren’t actually that funny to begin with. Back to Tetris
I found myself inspired by the frustrations that come from human nature & self dealing while glorifying ambitious end goals for social good. The collective good can often be patently false if someone ambitious enough gets perverted. Maybe I’m just being that asshole capitalist but I think nepotism and corruption come in many forms. And it’s easier to spot it in British billionaires and communists bureaucracies. But we’ve got plenty of right speak and “for your own good” pleas right here in America.
It’s inspired me to look harder into how we are perversely seeking control and benefits for large corporations and political parties in our current race to regulate new technologies like crypto and artificial intelligence. If you want a hint as to where I’m worried look no further than Gary Gensler and reinforcement learning for artificial intelligence alignment. And yes I’m making bets to that effect.
I’d like to tell you a short story about my email. I don’t really check it anymore. Like at all. I would like to have a functional inbox but it got out of hand. How out of hand you ask?
As of this morning I had more than 500,000 unread emails in my Gmail. Honestly if I worked at Google I’d be a little freaked out by that number. That seems like a lot of emails. How did that happen you might ask? Slowly and then all at once. Like most bankruptcies.
Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve had a Gmail account since 2004. 1GB of free storage for email? It was 100 times what competitors offered. I knew I’d have to transition out of my university email when I graduated so I kept.
I’d say it was the most functional place in my digital life until 2010 or so. I basically never left my inbox, used Gchat constantly with all my friends, and organized my life around it. Gmail served first central hub for my professional digital identity. It was just where I spent my time.
I worked in commerce and media in I thought it wise to subscribe to brands emails so I could really monitor e-commerce for work. Then I started a cosmetics brand during first cohort of direct to consumer brands. Like all startups we used Google Professional services. So I routed it into one easy Gmail view. Don’t do that incidentally. Then long story short I went on medical leave in 2019.
I’d like you to imagine the J curve on what happened next. Because I have an an older account, and one that used to be tightly managed, I didn’t really notice that I’d converted to a high volume inbox. But you can guess what happens when you stop monitoring constantly. Maybe this post should have had a trigger warning.
It seemed manageable when I was a workaholic hustle grinder. But the second the email beast wasn’t being ridden hard it went feral. Half a million emails feral.
There are so many culprits I could point to in the destruction of my inbox. The arms race for extracting value from email was very much on in the middle of the decade, but it’s gone into overdrive during the pandemic years.
If I thought my email was a little messy when I was girlbossing, it’s nothing compared to the what it looks like under the relentless onslaught of professionally optimized direct marketing.
But there are other culprits. You probably have a social tab like me. I get a lot of automated and social media alerts that were easy to check and delete when I lived inside my email.
But there isn’t a social media platform you can imagine that I didn’t have a profile on. And the alerts add up quickly.
LinkedIn is notorious but I’m also a Twitter power user and maintain a ton of Discords. And then there are social platforms you join and forget about. Yes include OnlyFans. Don’t worry that’s recent and has no content. All those sign ups add up quickly if you don’t monitor. Every god damn social service I have strewn across the internet somehow ends up in Gmail.
The good news is I have a friend who is helping me sort it out. She signed me up for Sane Inbox. The number of emails in that half million that looks like it needs attention? About 1,400. So I will start making an attention payment plan on those. But if I didn’t have nearly two decades of data dedicated to Google I’m not sure if I’d want to dig out.
They say that pain is a teacher. This is a lie, at least when it comes to pain beyond understanding. suppose understandable pain could be used as a correction, as part of a causal learning process. Pain beyond understanding, though … pain beyond understanding teaches you nothing.
But it’s important to remember that pain is personal. Mine comes from a chronic spinal condition called ankylosing spondylitis. And it comes and goes. Other people have different pain. And it’s hard to articulate no matter who you are.
I forget the contours of pain when I’m not in its grip. Such is it’s overwhelming power that pain is the only thing you can focus on when you are in it, but it melts away from your consciousness like snow on a sunny day the moment it dissipates. Pain is both all encompassing and a ghost on whom it is impossible to keep a grasp.
Because pain is both absorbing and fleeting, we need our loved ones to witness it. Without the framing of someone outside your experience, it’s easy to become lost in the pain. The other side of this is we forget how to grapple with pain when it strikes unexpectedly as our memory kindly looks to remove it leaving us open to suffering when it reappears. Others bearing witness helps with both.
I won’t sugar coat how much of a challenge it is to watch someone suffer through pain. The first instinct is often to leap to solutions and caretaking. Which sometimes our loved ones may need. If they are lost in pain and unable to help themselves the saving grace can be someone pulling you out with reminders or rendering of treatments.
That being said, you must remember to ask before you care for someone. Simply going straight to your preferred solutions may not be what is needed. Be gentle in doing so being invasive can worsen the suffering. Respect the agency of those in pain by asking if they have a preference for how you engage with them in their pain.
A simple example from my own life today. I asked my loved one if they would prefer to rest rather than engage with me as I know when I am in pain my preference is to lay down. I framed my pain in relation to theirs.
But crucially I followed that relating assuring I did not presume this was their preferred outcome or experience but merely that it’s mine and that I’d like to know theirs. Do not presume that a preference you have is someone else’s. Always ask upfront.
Maybe they want company, or a medication, or a distraction or a myriad of other possibilities. There is no one cure for pain. But it is eased by the love of those we love in return.
Isn’t it wild how much we hate loss? The pain of losing $100 is worse than the joy of finding $100. In behavioral economics “loss aversion refers to a phenomenon where a real or potential loss is perceived by individuals as psychologically or emotionally more severe than an equivalent gain.” I guess we don’t like to win as much as we hate to lose.
But we have to train ourselves to tolerate losses. Otherwise you’d never play a sport of any kind. And you’d be an absolutely terrible investor of money. So it’s clearly possible for some of us in some situations to get over loss aversion as we have professional athletes and money making fund managers.
But what if we have to address loss aversion in our own ego? How much do we hate to lose a part of ourselves? What if we stand to gain something significant by letting go a part of ourselves. I don’t think we can always predict where in our own sense of identity our ego will fight against loss.
They say the therapeutic process is just mirrors. You have no real sense of what anyone sees except as a reflection. Everything else is just our faulty sensory equipment. And imagine what a colossal fuck up you could make by ignoring what the mirror says and only relying on the faulty sensory data from your ego.
Stew on that a little bit and decide how much you really want to win and get back to me. Could be you need to see how much you hate to lose before you can see what you stand to gain.
I am accelerating into the turn that is my extremely busy life. The global weirding is upon us, as I’ve been predicting for more than two years publicly on this blog and even further back in thepress and on Twitter.
I was initially afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with a faster life. One reason we moved to Montana was to keep the pace of our personal lives calm and level so professional obligations wouldn’t overwhelm us. And yet as more and more obligations and responsibilities became part of my daily reality, I wanted to shrink under the weight.
But I am not shrinking. I am standing tall. Sure I feel like I’m failing every day and I hate the feeling that I could disappoint folks who have placed capital and trust with me.
I am however sure that over the time horizon I have set I am doing things the right way. Everything else is luck and repeating the positive daily habits that have produced results in the past.
I feel happy with the acceleration if I stop giving the fear any oxygen. I’m starting to remember how I used to wield my talents. But this time I’ve got the benefits of five years of emotional maturing from intensive family systems therapy. I see my old coping mechanisms and bad habits withering as I bring the full maturity of my emotional journey to bear.
If life is going to keep getting faster and faster then I suppose my only choice is to enjoy the thrill of acceleration and trust that I’ve done the work to stay on the ride.
I am a bit overclocked. I’ve written about it before and the language is useful so I am quoting myself to remind myself what needs to be done.
It will just take some time to let all the cortisol spikes drain out and the other sundry overstimulation issues to get back to baseline.
I am thankfully not experiencing any of the typical anxiety I have felt in the past when overclocked. I just feel tired and shitty and like I need to had off some of inputs to my team.
I’m noting this all here and keeping it short as I need to get in and out so I can get back to the business of recovery as I have so much to take advantage of in my life right now. And the only way I can do that is continuing to maintain the routines and rhythms that got me to this good spot in the first place.
Are you tempted to exert willpower and discipline over yourself today? Have you made up your mind to change this year? Are you going to push yourself to be a better person? Have you resolved to fix your body, your diet, your sleep, your habits, your work, your relationship or your family?
I’d like to gently encourage you to reconsider. Maybe don’t force yourself to do anything. Perhaps you can find new habits and routines that come from a place of love and abundance instead of lack.
Every January, millions adopt a harsh deprivation-restriction mindset and begin punishing themselves, physically and mentally. Yes, harsh tactics can work for a few weeks. But the reason they don’t tend to last is because they come from a place of lack, not from a place of love.
I’m a firm believer in good habits. What we do every day is what makes us who we are. But we cannot sustain misery. And why would we? The self should not be an attack surface. Any changes you seek must come from a place of love.
I’m not suggesting you don’t explore the ways in which you want to change. But if you go into January with restrictions and self hatred well girl eating disorder season can be a misery.
Remember you do not deserve any suffering inflicted by yourself. I know you want to push back against that thought but ask yourself why? Why should you be a victim to yourself? Resolve the guilt and integrate the shadows into your life instead.
So Elon, this isn’t likely to actually make it to you, but this is my blog, I write every day for myself, so why not, I can give it a try and pretend. If it turns out this is any good I’ll ask a mutual friend to send it to you.
tldr: I feel a (parasocial) connection with you & I want more from you (and maybe also for you). I know it feels cool and edgy to wink at taboos but you’re getting rekt by fuck bois, sycophants and opportunists.
I know we are all Galileo in our own mind shouting “and yet it moves” to narrow minded Papists but you realize being a martyr requires your death right? I don’t want you to die.
You certainly don’t remember this, but we met a number of times in the mid-teens. Times like when a friend of mine hosted a blow out birthday party in New York. We sat next to each other in some awful club and discussed chess with a small group. The same friend had a big wedding. I remember goofy dancing. Your sons made snow angels in the confetti. It was nice.
You seemed as uncomfortable as the rest of us nerds. Your autism didn’t seem any worse than mine though. I remember finding that comforting at the time. It has curdled into alienation over time as your fame far outstripped your origins. And I’m sad to have lost the feeling of love I had for you.
Before we “met” I had slight case of hero worship. I remember thinking here is someone just like me. He likes the same science fiction. He dreams about the singularity. He’s neurodivergent. And he wants to get us off this damn rock. And he’s got more money and power than I do so maybe he is worth admiring. I was young and stupid and hadn’t yet gone to real therapy.
I would tell my friends I wanted to die outside the earth’s gravity well. I thought perhaps you might be the man that got us there. Had I not had a chance to see how much you were just like me, perhaps I’d still be a stan.
What I see now from you isn’t power and happiness, it’s isolation and sadness. But I want you to know it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to listen to the flattering dick riders. They want shit from you. They want their agendas and they see your money and power as a way to achieve it. I know you know this.
It makes me angry to see you coddle the parasites. I’m shocked your mother hasn’t told you to knock it off. She seems like a cold bitch who gets shit done. I’m sure she’s told you that you are better than them. The nerds and autists did not inherit this Earth just to squander it for the roar of the crowd. If it is all bread and circus, remember you are a king and not a clown.
Maybe you think their slavish slobbering attention is a fair trade for some of your magic, I used to be emotionally slutty like that too.
And yes, I am projecting my own insecurities. But maybe I can tell you a story that will comfort you in the big wide universe. Maybe it will comfort someone else. Maybe it’s just to comfort myself.
I read you named your family office Excession. I’m also a fan of Ian M. Banks. Since 2008 or so, I carry around a paperback of Excession with me whenever I vacation. Which isn’t a lot. I normally use a Kindle to read but this paperback has become a kind of totem. It signals to my hindbrain that I am in a sympathetic state of rest and digest. I reread it over and over in 20-30 page chunks. It bounces me out of fight or flight now after much repetition, it’s my comfort book.
Your love for Ian M. Banks all felt very relatable to me as I’ve been dreaming of a post-scarcity world where my AI space ship friends shuttle me around as they pursue their inscrutable intentions. I want to sublime. Maybe not for a few thousand more years though. But I want to make it through the singularity to the other side, or at very least avoid dying in William Gibson’s jackpot. I feel like you get what apocalypses preoccupied my mind.
Most of my fantasies and fears have been touched by my love for science fiction. I saw in you someone who saw the same possibilities as me. You were very much one of us.
I also see someone being used for their dreams. They are harnessing you and your power to drive the rest of us to focus on their nightmares. Don’t let them steer you.
But your posting is reaching people. It’s annoying to some, but it hits. Maybe it hits too hard. But the isolation I imagine you feel isn’t necessary. Power laws can separate just as effectively as they bring us together. You don’t have to be surrounded by reply guys. There is a path to connection even for the most singular among us.
Now of course, I want something from you too. I want you to get us off this rock before it’s too late. I know it’s a big ask.
My best is advice is to go reread Excession and get yourself out of this persistent “fight or flight” cortisol pump. Get focused back on the shit that matters. Maybe find yourself a nice autistic sociopath who will love you for you. Maybe she can protect you from some of the pain. I’m sure you will figure it out.
I want you go to therapy. Mine is pretty good if you’d like an introduction. She’s an aristocratic 80 something Swedish woman, so you might like her. She’s perfect for working through attachment issues. She’s quite good at dealing with poor little rich kids with mommy and daddy issues. Her neighbors are all billionaires so she won’t be impressed by your bullshit. She has a sub-specialty in sex so she can probably help with that dick riding problem too.
And most importantly, she’ll be the only person who doesn’t want anything from you. And you need that more than anything.