I went through a phase of self-improvement, reading books, considering my actions, assessing motives, reducing options, that sort of thing, and afterwards I think I had actually become a better person, or maybe I was a little less intense, a little less harassed by life. Among the books I bought to help me improve, one was called How To Be Good and I assumed it would be like a road map – or maybe an instruction manual.
I wanted the book to spell it out: How to be Good. But it didn’t. It just discussed the question, it didn’t provide an answer.
But now, some years later, I can’t read any of that stuff. I just can’t listen to philosophers. Even science leaves me cold, except for when I used QT to put the malarkey into QE. I can’t be bothered with all that ‘is the bear a silent catholic in the woods when the pope’s tree falls down?’ It leaves me not so much cold, but disinterested. I have my own operating system and the alternatives are a waste of time.
They take up unnecessary headroom.
I like to listen to youtube and internet podcasts now, but the educational/informational ones repel me too, like two north poles on a magnet. I can’t bear Ted talks. Sam Harris has dried on me, Bill Maher, all those talking heads, liberals, conservative, provocateurs, re-assurers. I’m done with all their chatter.
Currently I’m reduced to listening to guitar techs describing pedal boards, rednecks discussing calibre and IWHs, bikers describing V-twins. Arcane descriptors as background noise I can just about bear. But nothing improving, nothing informative.
I think I’d like to listen to people reading instruction manuals for 1950s washing machines, maybe discussing the options for spare parts, installation, plumbing, power supplies, spin cycles. Something where nothing is learned, just blokes discussing things that interest them. At the moment I’m listening to ten hour recordings of rain on canvas.
Returned to paperbacks too.
Silence is increasingly attractive.