I just deleted some stressful emails and said “I don’t care” out loud. It felt great. I am working on not sweating the small stuff. There is more than enough medium and big stuff to sweat and I’m going to save my sweat for those things and not expend it on worrying about emails or being scared about asking my chair something or worrying about the future.
I thought that working on contemporary capitalism as part of my new project would depress me but I find it invigorating. Last night I read one of Silvia Townshend Warner’s letters in which she says that her own ability to feel interest is her most prized possession, and that she’s confident that no matter what happens, her ability to be INTERESTED in observing and thinking about it will carry her through. I think she’s specifically talking about getting old and feeble, but it applies to many aspects of life. Observing and trying to understand the workings of the truly heinous, inhuman system we are all trapped in makes me feel mildly empowered, even though of course I don’t actually have any power. But in our minds we are all free. “HERE is where the sun shines! HERE is where the sky is blue!” (Denholm Elliott poking himself in the chest with a fork in “Room with a View”).
Also, studying capitalism makes it easier not to sweat the stressful emails or the job terror or the hip dysplasia. My god. It’s like worrying about which iPhone you should buy when you’re in the middle of a genocide or global annihilation. Omg my analogy doesn’t work because that is LITERALLY our reality! Jesus, please help us! Somebody help us!
I read that certain kinds of Buddhists (actual Buddhists, not people like me who use “zen” to describe the state of bliss that is deleting emails) as they are becoming monks, have to spend years contemplating human bodies in various stages of decay. The start by contemplating a fresh corpse. Then over the months they watch the corpse decompose. I got the impression they do this all day, every day. They watch it decompose in real time. Then finally it’s just a skeleton polished clean by wind and crows and bugs, and they have become liberated and they laugh and laugh and now they can be monks and go beg in the streets for their food because who gives a shit