The Importance of Not Caring
My Phetasy Newsletter went out. One of these days I SWEAR everything will all be in one place. That day is not today.
After spending a much needed four days in my church, Joshua Tree, with my best friend since first grade, I feel rejuvenated. In that brief time I was reminded how mandatory it is to unplug from the news cycle and social media; how valuable it is to have quiet time with friends and nature. The biggest revelation was that I didn’t care about anything that was going on in the world. At all. I’d get text messages about whatever was happening and I just…didn’t care. I was having too much fun catching up with my friend, hiking and cooking healthy food. This is the way it’s supposed to be.
We’ve been tricked into thinking we need to care about everything. Every birthday. Every life event. Every social movement. Social media has trained us to believe we should not only care, we should have an opinion. It doesn’t matter how far out of our lane we drift—suddenly we are experts in shipping lanes, nuclear power, Iran or epidemiology (even if we had to google what that word meant just 15 months ago) because we read a wikipedia article and watched a few YouTube videos. The truth is, most of us know a lot about a couple of things and next to nothing about everything else.
It’s never been a better time for someone like me, a moron who has a million ideas a minute and a million opinions and wants to make ironic t-shirts and podcasts and shows and greeting cards and endless content. The Algorithm, with its insatiable bottomless appetite and need for a constant stream of content, relies on short-attention spanned spastics like me. For this, I am very grateful. But all of this content creation comes at a price and that price is sometimes my sanity. After too much time online I’m agitated, restless, dissatisfied, fearful, unfocused, envious, entitled and self-righteous. This is a feature, not a bug. We are all addicted to tech and it takes a lot of self-awareness and discipline to recognize when that addiction is bringing out the worst in us.
But it can also bring out the best in us, which is one of the reasons I’ve decided to launch my Substack. Writing brings out the best in me. It helps me process the world and my emotions. I’ve been doing an awful lot of talking lately—but writing requires all the things I’ve been avoiding: patience, focus and silence.
There is something magical about Joshua Tree—and it’s not just the prehistoric landscape. It’s the silence so deafening it feels like you’re in a vacuum. It takes at least a day for my nervous system to adjust to the slow, natural pace of the desert. Cities, even in a moderate form of lockdown, are racy and anxious. The energy is scattered, angry, impatient. Joshua Tree, with its rocks that are half of the Earth’s age old and its Dr. Seuss trees that grow one-half inch to three inches per year, knows all about patience. And patience knows all about the humility of not knowing and the peace of not caring.