No Exceptions: We Get What We Deserve

At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.

—Orwell

What is all this nonsense about deserving? I hear people say it all the time. I read it in the news. X person deserves this. X group deserves that. Bullshit. Nobody deserves anything more than they get. Which is to say, exactly what they already have.

We like to forget that the barrier that separates our cushy civilization from the dog-eat-dog savagery of the Jungel (the Jungel doesn’t care about your spelling rules) is preciously thin and eminently permeable. You should count your blessings that you’re not remorselessly ripped limb from limb by the first person that you offend who happens to be stronger than you. After all, this is how the Jungel would have grievances settled. And if you think the Jungel would ever think twice about what was deserved, then you’re hopelessly naïve. The Jungel knows no such concept.

Tell me about the promotion you didn’t get, and I’ll tell you you’re not good enough at playing the political game. Tell me about the lover that betrayed you, and I’ll tell you that you obviously didn’t make much of an impression on them. Tell me about the hell in which you live and I’ll tell you that you’re not the only one suffering.

But, but, but, my kid has cancer, do they deserve that? Yes, your kid deserves cancer, because they possess a genetic predisposition to getting cancer. And from whom did your kid get those shit genetics? It is only because of technological advancements and the medical breakthroughs of the last four hundred years that allowed you (or your terminal kid) to exist in the first place. The Jungel would have killed you in your crib. Be thankful for every breath, you weakling.

It’s a very uncomfortable truth that we get in life precisely what we deserve. If you think you deserve more, then you have to bring more to the table. If you have not gotten what you want out of life, then you haven’t worked hard enough. Stop blaming everything else and look in the fucking mirror. Have you done everything in your power to change your station in life? No. No, you have not. Stop bitching, start working, get “deserve” out of your goddamn vocabulary. In fact, stop speaking altogether and start acting. All you deserve is the world before you, be that everything imaginable or nothing at all.

How to: Be Awesome at Life

No doubt, dear reader, you will at some awe-inspired point of self-reflective reverie seek answers as to what makes the Albatross such an interesting and talented personality, and hope upon hope that he may reveal those things to you. Rejoice, for my messiah-like generosity will not forsake you, on this most hallowed eve: the eve of your rebirth. You will, after this blog post, have all the tools necessary to deftly navigate the world—your world. You will be able to marshal all your intellectual resources into a cogent plan for the future, and you will endeavor successfully to bring to bear upon all manner of hot chicks the full might of your essence in a most profound and kickass way. Indeed, your cup of knowledge shall runneth over. I do this for you, for I am a kind god.

The first thing you must do in order to be awesome is observe. You must observe the world around you and everything in it with hawk-eyed acuity. You must listen the words people use, the words they do not use, and the manner in which they use or do not use them. You must learn to instantly recognize and incise contradiction, parry prevarication, and duly squash logical fallacy. You must listen a great deal more than you speak.

Additionally, for however much you observe people’s words, you must pay tenfold more attention to people’s actions. According to the interweb, body language and nonverbals account for most of human communication. In fact, former FBI interrogators state matter-of-factly that it really isn’t hard to lie with words, but quite difficult to lie with your body (interestingly, it is often the feet that give away one’s true intentions.) So observe the unspoken communication that is so characteristic of human interaction.

Now, unless you have some preternatural cognitive ability to comprehend both man and machine, you will necessarily arrive at many questions to your as many observations. Thus, the other thing you must do in order to be awesome, is cultivate an insatiable curiosity. You must ask yourself why something is as many times as it takes to reach a point where understanding is complete. In other words, you must grok. If you do not understand how something works, you must take it as a personal affront to your intelligence. Imagine that one day you might find yourself in a post-apocalyptic oblivion wherein everything in your life is manifested directly by you and your knowledge base. Thus, the only things you would have in your life are those things that you understand well enough to build or manifest yourself. One way this can be accomplished is by reading. You must read incessantly. Develop your curiosity for all things and never stop learning.

So there you have it, two characteristics that used individually will serve you better than any other, and when used in conjunction will make you something of a minor deity: Observant & Curious. With this, you shall possess the most valuable skill in the world: the ability to learn any skill in the world, for it is from these headwaters that all of life’s truths inexorably flow, and the spring from which all your personal potential can be realized. In fewer words, this is the most efficient way to get awesome at life. You’re welcome.

On Co-Genesis

One of the things that makes the dragon (yes, the dragon) such compelling mythology is the fact that so many of the world’s cultures—isolated both geographically and chronologically—have conceived of the same creature: a flying, fire-breathing reptile. Indeed, various civilizations throughout history, amongst which interaction was likely impossible, saw fit to describe in written literature and art this beastly foe.

Of course, I can practically feel you fidgeting in your seat with your grimy dick-skinner thrust into the air, waiting for your chance to blather out your sophomoric riposte: “But shipbuilding has existed for millennia; these cultures could have interacted!” Naturally, it’s possible but this line of thinking runs you smack into an even stickier wicket: Why risk life and limb sailing into the great unknown (for indeed it was unknown), to drop anchor in an alien port you presume exists, inhabited by people that you presume are anything remotely like you in sophistication, whom you then expect to take you in, and believe your silly stories (assuming they can translate) and not tear your heart out in sacrifice to their deity, to spread the word about the mythical dragon? It doesn’t pass muster. Unless—[gasp]—the dragon is real.

Now, I am not of the belief that dragons have ever existed. From an a posteriori perspective, dragons are like Russian collusion—there’s simply no evidence. From an a priori perspective, (the vastly preferred perspective of yours unruly,) it simply doesn’t make sense. Evolution does not bestow upon a creature the kind of apex preeminence that a dragon would possess. Usually you get claws and flight, as is the case of the Peregrine Falcon. Or you get tough scales and fangs like the Nile Crocodile, or in the most extreme cases of the awe-inspiring Kodiak, you get claws, fangs, and sheer, abominable mass. This combination of talents are enough to make the great bears the absolute, inimitable Jägermeister. The selective pressures for a beast to emerge from the ether that is possessed of claws, fangs, flight, mass, rugged exterior, and of course, fire-breath are simply not there.

So what to make of this wholly fabricated, yet culturally ubiquitous myth? Well it is of course a brilliant example of co-genesis, a well-studied [by me] phenomenon whereby the same or extremely similar concepts organically spring up in the minds of two different people often simultaneously, but always independently. This example of co-genesis reveals something primordial about the human condition. It reveals a commonality between us as to what we can all agree is fucking scary. Reptiles (particularly snakes) have been the symbol of evil long before Christ. Fire has bedeviled man since it’s inception. And even a child, beset upon by a swarm of bees, will instinctively comprehend the game-changing, havoc-wreaking advantage of flight. Combine these characteristics and it is no wonder that they would create a kind of trifecta of terror.

All of this is to say, if you read something of mine and think perhaps you may have read it somewheres else, think upon the dragon and its fear inspired co-genesis. Then smartly about-face and return whence you came to commence the salt-pounding, for I am a genius, and I write my own shit.

On Female Friends

Men and women are not friends. They never were and they never will be. That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes refer to certain members of the opposite sex as “friends,” but this is merely for convenience sake. Nor is it to say that there aren’t women with whom I am friendly. But it must be known that I would not, in closed session, refer to them as my “friend” except out of convenience. For every woman that I point to and call my “friend,” I’ll show you a woman who would date me at the drop of a hat. The reason for this is simple: the concepts of friendship and love are so diametrically opposed that they simply cannot coexist.

I hear this old bullshit line that friends make the best lovers. This is incorrect. Never once have I laid eyes on a beautiful woman and thought to myself “Gee, I’d really love to befriend her.” Not once. And therein lies the crux of it—for every male-female “friendship” there is almost always some manner of desire or attraction. This desire is always unrequited, however, because if the desire were returned in kind, it would cease to be a friendship, now wouldn’t it? I would be a love affair.

Let’s have a look at some examples: In one relationship the (relatively) low status man is desirous of the beautiful woman, but the woman is not desirous of the man. It is impossible in this case for the man to truly be a friend to the woman because he will always be blinded by his desire for her. The same is true when the (relatively) ugly woman is desirous of the high status man. She cannot contribute to a true friendship without subconsciously molding the relationship to get herself closer to him.

So are true opposite sex friendships possible? Theoretically yes, but in order for a true male-female friendship to occur, it would have to be a relationship entirely devoid of attraction or desire. This explains why so often one sees male-female friendships wherein the male is homosexual. In order for this friendship to be genuine, however, this gay man would have to be sufficiently low-status enough for the woman to find no desire for him. In these gay male-straight female friendships, it is often that case that the woman finds herself attracted to the man and may dramatically proffer the “oh, if you were only straight” qualification. Any measure of this sort of sexual/romantic desire at all will poison the relationship.

Mixing friendship and love is like mixing bourbon and scotch and calling it the best of both worlds. Traditional friendship i.e. male-male/female-female (heterosexual) friendship has no place in a loving romance. It wouldn’t serve anyone to have a drop of scotch in their bourbon; you merely waste the scotch and ruin the bourbon. On a meta-level, what I’m saying is not that unreasonable. Evolution has allowed for the most sexually fit humans that have ever walked the earth. We didn’t get that way by being friends.

The Young and the Dying

Allow for a moment a thought experiment. Suppose a person could be raised in total isolation; an empty room devoid of any stimulus whatsoever. We’ll call the subject of this experiment Xeros. Now suppose Xeros was kept alive until adulthood, and on its 25th birthday, it is presented with some of the world’s greatest works of art. What emotion would Xeros experience? It may be reasoned that it would be startled by this sudden departure from total nothingness. Perhaps it could be argued that Xeros might experience an instinctual apprehension or even fear. The most reasonable outcome, however, is that it would experience exactly nothing at all. It is true that the light rays from the stimulus presented would be perceived by the eyes and processed in the brain as something, but exactly what, it simply would not know. The reason for Xeros’s apathy toward what is universally described as beauty by an enlightened population is its total lack of context.

Humans do not understand that something is beautiful on the sheer basis that it is objectively and absolutely beautiful, but rather that it is not all of the other things that are not objectively and absolutely beautiful. It is this contrast that is at the heart of all human endeavor towards happiness. There can only be happiness if it is known by contrast what not happiness is. Similarly, we cannot understand satiety without hunger, joy without pain, love without indifference.

This fact is concerning in a modern world where everything in our lives is an attempt to alleviate hardship. Every technological advancement is designed to mitigate suffering on large scales and small. When we are lonely, we can reach out to others through loosely connected webs of internet acquaintances. If we are bored and wish to be entertained, we have bespoke viewing lists on our televisions. If we crave love, we can be artificially matched (sometimes successfully) with a partner based on a few sentences of self-reported attributes that we allege to bring to the table in a relationship. In all cases, we can fulfill these desires using a device that fits in our front pocket and protects us from all manner of negative emotions.

If we understand, however, that all emotions are balanced by a contrasting emotion, we can see that this alleviation is a false pursuit. Any attempt to mitigate one emotion is an unknowing attempt to mitigate its counterpart. The reason why the social gatherings of yore were such convivial events is because they didn’t happen very often. The reason we used to read books—very large books—is because for many, it was their only form of entertainment. The reason why love was felt with such urgency and fervor was because it was truly rare; a blessing that nobody felt entitled to.

Millennials muddle through lackluster emotional investment in the world around them because their lives lack the hardships of yesterday that pave the way to appreciation. The way to correct this deficiency is asceticism, or self-denial—a self-imposed plunge into the depths of one emotion that allows for a meteoric bounce into its corresponding emotion. If we can imagine this as a pendulum swinging freely between good emotions and bad, self-denial is a concerted effort at swinging the pendulum hard in one direction so that it will swing hard in the other direction. And being that it is perhaps out of our control to naturally swing the pendulum further into the realm of positive emotion, it is far easier to swing the pendulum into the realm of the negative. In this way, self-denial can lead to seemingly impossible highs of human spirit. (I am referring to self-denial in terms of the negative simply to contrast it logically with the positive i.e. the emotions we are seeking.)

Take for example that as children, we are impulsive and volatile. As many can attest, the depression experienced by a child can be all consuming, yet we often crave the joy that can only be experienced by children. It’s as if the pendulum of emotion swings harder and further as young people and as we age it gradually loses momentum until it all but shudders to one side before flinching back to the other. It follows this pattern until our pendulums stop swinging all together, and we are dead. This explains why our elders are considered more “stable,” as their pendulums of emotion have all but stopped.

Reject this calmness, as it is the harbinger of death, and any “stability” can be seen as a step closer to the grave. Millennials have taken this step with their relentless (but not unpredictable) pursuit of convenience. They have deliberately taken us a step closer to the cowed, disinterested future-race envisioned by the dystopian greats of the Modern Era.

We should not fear the depths of our emotion because it is the big hearts that feel the hardest, and live the fullest. It is our most challenging of days that make emotional rewards possible. Advancements that seek to improve our lives are in all actuality inhibiting the pendulum’s natural swing into the negative emotional realm, and in doing so, rob it of the momentum necessary to swing into the positive realm. They bring the pendulum ever closer to bottom-dead-center. This explains the growing sense of meaninglessness and ennui in every succeeding generation who has at their fingertips the ability not to make themselves happy, but to make themselves less sad. But it is this pathological avoidance of hardship that indeed creates hardship. But not any like we’ve ever seen; a cerebral hardship that is unique to two classes of people: the young, and the dying.

Do not avoid hardship. Seek it out. Do not avoid pain. Seek it out. Do not avoid failure. Seek it out, because these emotions lay the groundwork for the most intense of positive emotions in the future—emotions that may be entirely foreign to today’s young people. Concerted self-denial is a way of forcing the pendulum to swing hard into the realm of negative emotions and is therefore a means of increasing our positive potential. As we age we must self-deny and simplify our lives in accordance with the waning of our emotional pendulum. Death cannot be avoided, but life can be fulfilled. In this way, we can live the fullest lives possible.