dim brightness

Heaven will last,
earth will endure.
How can they last so long?
They don’t exist for themselves
and so can go on and on.

So wise souls
leaving self behind
move forward,
and setting self aside
stay centered.
Why let the self go?
To keep what the soul needs.

Lao Tzu
Ursula K Le Guin’s version

Was listening to Brian Allen Carr and J David Osborne on the JDO Show and Brian said something about homeless people that got me thinking. To paraphrase, he said giving a homeless person money is the best value per dollar you can get, because it makes you feel good about yourself for hours just because you handed some stranger a dollar.

It feels good to do work for others. To help others. Assisting other people just gives you joy.

The universe doesn’t exist for itself, and so it persists. While the universe is neither happy nor sad or any other emotion, it makes sense that our life improves when it’s given to others.

Stop with the self-aggrandizement, with the egotism, with the performance of life that you do for social media. Just live and do well. Do right for those around you.

Brian Allen Carr touched on this on the JDO Show as well. How he gave up social media–for a lot of reasons–and, looking back, he realized how much of his time on social media was given to performance. Almost everything we do on the internet, now, is at least in part performance.

We see it everytime anything even sort of newsworthy happens. People post their own reflections about it, as if there’s an audience always watching them. As if someone asked for their thoughts and feelings.

But there is no audience. There’s only us and our desire for attention. For people to care.

And I think it makes us unhappier. I know it does. Studies come out again and again highlighting how social media makes us feel less connected to people. And while the consensus is in amongs experts, it still changes no one’s behavior.

Which, as an aside, is pretty interesting, considering how happy people are to mock those who deny scientific and sociological consensus. We ridicule the ignorant for not listening to scientists or doctors or whoever, and yet we refuse to listen to them when they criticize the things that’re important to us, like social media.

And all of this is pure ego, I think. The need to be right. The need to be seen as informed or intelligent or woke or any other adjective. We want to be important, and we don’t want anyone to be critical of us when we do things that are actively negative or antisocial.

But I guess I’m wandering here in the woods.

The point is: if your only concern is your self, you will empty.

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