3 Minute Monday
Hello cult members,
I’m recording a 350k Subscriber Q&A today, if you’d like to ask me a question, head over to this post on YouTube:
Kyle Eschenroeder red pilled me on fame a few years ago with a question in his amazing blog post What Do You Want To Want…
Do you want to be someone or do something?
Now the two aren’t mutually exclusive of course, but they’re a lot less cohesive than you might think.
Fame ain’t what it used to be.
Traditionally, people became famous because they achieved something great, maybe even heroic.
Because fame was such a powerful signal, we all started wanting it.
But this was the downfall of fame.
People stopped wanting to do something and started wanting to be someone, regardless of why.
The goal is not to deserve fame, just to be famous.
“Once upon a time, fame was bestowed on those who earned it, such as the heroic general who risked his life in battle, or the famous doctor who restored sight to the poor and afflicted.It was heroic deeds that made one famous.Today, fame is only granted to those who seek it.”
— The New Philosopher magazine
Fame itself has been separated from what it was supposed to indicate.
It’s no longer a trustworthy signal of honor, courage, creativity, or anything else (except maybe an above-average need for attention).
So why do we chase it?
Modern fame is the promise of obligation-free status.
If you could shortcut the “work bit” and just get the “reward bit”, why wouldn’t you?
And when people become famous for drinking juice while skateboarding on TikTok or being picked out of obscurity to go on reality TV, why wouldn’t we try to game that system?
The problem is that fame roots our happiness in other people’s heads.
When a person is inflated with fame, the rest of us have it in our power to deflate him.
“Other people’s heads are a wretched place to be the home of a man’s true happiness.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer
To become famous is to volunteer to be a scapegoat.
You’re treated like a king until you screw up or people get tired of you— then you’re sacrificed at the altar, giving the public someone to hate together.
When we put this kind of power in the hands of those around us our whole sense of self becomes an abstraction.
We have to check our Twitter engagement to measure self worth, instead of the action we took.
Fame can make you happy if what brought you fame also brings you happiness, which means you would remain happy if your fame were to diminish.
“To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?” – John Boyd
h/t to Kyle Eschenroeder for all these insights. Your work continues to impact me man. Thank you.
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This week’s upcoming episodes:
Ayelet Fichbach – a great breakdown of the psychology behind human motivation. Why do we do things, how can we be more motivated, what are the best kind of goals to set and more.
Thatcher Wine – multitasking is destroying your productivity. Here’s an alternative approach to your worldview which is less stressful, more effective and more efficient.
Not sure yet, maybe Derek Beres on Conspirituality Cults.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
Conservative women are happiest.
“Conservative women are particularly blissful: 40% say they are very happy.
That makes them slightly happier than conservative men and significantly happier than liberal women.
The unhappiest are liberal men; only a fifth consider themselves very happy.”
h/t Rob Henderson
Corridors weren’t invented until 1597.
John Thorpe is the first recorded architect to replace multiple connected rooms along a corridor each accessed by a separate door.
Imagine being the guy who INVENTED corridors. Wild.
h/t Scott Alexander
“It’s not worth an intelligent person’s time to be in the majority, by definition there are already enough people to do that.” — H. L. Mencken
Give away things rather than returning them.
Aaron Alexander messaged me yesterday asking what shoe size I am.
“I got a pair of shoes that don’t fit me and I prefer to give away instead of sending them back.”
Doesn’t work if you’re unhappy with your new car.
But for small purchases, this is a great way to regularly do passive charity to your brahs.
The clocks went forward in Texas this weekend and no one warned me. Had a brief period of psychosis in response.