“A wild joy”: Finding meaning

Boredom

Somewhere I read (Schopenhauer, I think) that boredom occurs when you feel time pass while doing fruitless activity. Unlike pain, which invades our sensations, forcing our response, boredom seeps in from contrasting our current action from a better alternative.

Existential boredom, then, is a sense that life more generally is not fulfilling. It might be “pleasurable” at a daily level, but when one steps away, it lacks something. Life–like a story–needs a certain cohesion, a “meaning” or significance.

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Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday

Today is the famous “Gonzo” journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday. An early influence on my writing–though fortunately not on my lifestyle–Thompson’s own style is incredibly idiosyncratic.  With its own sort of caustic, violent, debauched poetry, it sings in places with rhapsodic eloquence. It can also be quite insightful.

[image from phrases.org]
[image from phrases.org]

So in honor of his birthday, here’s a link to a letter he wrote giving some advice about finding a meaningful life. It echoes his Nietzsche-like adage, “Buy the ticket, take the ride” and shows the candor and humility that characterizes some of his better writing. I hope you enjoy.

Also, happy Nelson Mandela Day. Get a peek at the Google Doodle for some moving quotes. If anything, I think both men, in their own vastly different ways, strove to criticize the hypocrisies and silences that uphold corruption, injustice, and oppression.