‘But I am very poorly today + very stupid + hate everyone + everything’ – Charles Darwin writing to his friend Charles Lyell.
I often see this posted to social media along with something trite like, ‘see, Darwin also had his off days’. Possibly with some comments further down critiquing his handwriting, the horror of which has led some people to believe that Charles Darwin was a lefty. (He wasn’t).
I think we should be allowed our ‘off’ days where we can wallow in misanthropy and self loathing and that it shouldn’t necessarily be bandied about post event as a character flaw or moment of weakness to make it seem to people that those being quoted were more relatable and somehow more human than originally anticipated.
I also often wonder about personal diaries and more intimate thoughts revealed in letters that, after the person has passed on, have been made available for public discourse (and indeed criticism). Marcus Aurelius famously helped spawn the mental models of stoicism (which I try with varying degrees of success to follow) with his own personal diary (which he never meant for anyone else to read) whose public availability I am very grateful for. So theres that. Also the dead can’t really complain about us profiteering (either mentally or materially) off their penmanship. Neither can they be embarrassed by their words anymore.
When I die don’t publish my emails. I feel I should mention this, even if I doubt anyone would ever be tempted to take on this baleful task. My correspondence is unlikely to be complementary or indeed even vaguely cerebral. For a moment I was bloated with hubris and I briefly imagined being someone of import or having (one day when I’m I’m big) done something profound with my life. When really, after a single generation I will likely be completely forgotten. Although perhaps not irrelevant, since to my decedents, without me, they would not exist. To be fair I don’t give any of my individual ancestors any thought or credence, thinking of them more as a collective. Still, I find that unbroken chain (that spans an insane mind bending number of astronomical and biological events) that has led to me being here to be a fascinating thought experiment (usually done lying on my back and looking up at the stars). I totally understand why people need to assign a deity to govern such a happenstance.
Maybe (coming back to the point) I shouldn’t sell myself short. I might still do something erudite (on the scale of the Origin of species) with my life which may lead people to seek out my thoughts on other more mundane topics (like my personal hygiene routine and what I eat for breakfast)
*someone in the peanut gallery starts laughing*
Although… to be completely truthful, contributing to humanity seems like a metric fuck tonne of work and really, I am far too lazy. It also would likely cut into my Playstation time which is quite a significant opportunity cost. (look me at me, not only considering myself comparable with the greatest minds in history and then being dismissive about my apparent talent, but then also making excuses for my lack of something discernible to show for myself after forty years on the planet). Yeah, I could build electric cars/terraform Mars for you guys, or I could play Red Dead Redemption. It’s a tough call.
I like using Elon as my go-to example (even though he is seven years older than me) for underachieving because for a while at least, he lived close to me and went to the public school not far from my house. We also shared some Venn diagram overlap in terms of the books we read, the arcade games we played and even the games we created (although mine were in Basic). Me and Elon are more or less simpatico.
That last line might not be read with the sarcasm that I had intended and so I feel the need to underscore it for the casual reader who is not entirely familiar with my usual self depreciation and heavy sarcasm.
Although I think I had a better childhood than Elon. Mostly because my dad wasn’t a cunt. And that, at school, I hit back… although in fairness my prowess in fisticuffs was not yet so developed and I rarely got to say, ‘You should have seen the other guy’.
I don’t think this post has a point… eh… anymore. I probably meant it to have one when I started out… but now I can’t remember what it was. I seem to have wandered off the path and into the brambles. My strategy now is sit down (before I hurt myself) and blow my emergency whistle until someone finds me. I may also eat this (emergency) sandwich while I’m here. And maybe also go behind those trees over there to pee. (Yes… despite being alone)
Hopefully y’all are having a particularly groovy type day. And since it is Easter Sunday, be cheerful in the knowledge that Jesus rose from the dead so that you could go to heaven (if you behave yourselves). Unless you believe in one of the other (illegitimate) gods I mean… in which case you should probably look into doing something about that…