In the past couple of years, I’ve been more active on Twitter than here. But I miss being here. I want to round up my notes and do a little explaining.
What follows are links to threads that seem relevant:
Where I linked Terror Management Theory to diet culture (more) explicitly (than before.) This was the rough draft of the article that later appeared in The Atlantic.
Where I shared my (sketchy and preliminary) thoughts about
neoreaction, politics in the US, and more Terror Management Theory. There was also a Metafilter thread about it, and people said nice things, which is particularly nice for reasons I don’t have the words for…yet. (You know me, it’s only a matter of time.)
After the van attack here in Toronto, before we knew the motive.
And a follow-up.
There are probably one or two more, but they are submerged in the sands of Twitter and it will take some digging to find them.
So, if you’re wondering what the endgame of all of this tweeting about significance and immortality is for me, it’s this: it is my personal believe that no one can do anything that will mark them with lasting significance.
No book, no building, no work of art, no hospital wing with their name on it, no great fortune, not even the destruction of the entire planet will leave a legacy that marks out an individual person as significant on a truly cosmic scale.
Certainly, no amount of hierarchy-building or climbing will do it. (I could go into why, but instead, refer to this standalone tweet.)
Now, the explanation.
Many of my young years were wasted by the idea that certain bodies are inherently superior to other bodies. I gave over years of my life to shame because my body was supposed to be bad and undeserving of its basic needs and existence, and as a result, I missed time and life experiences that will never be returned to me.
And I know this is true for many, many people who live caught up in the same hierarchy, under the same system of ideas that certain bodies and certain people are worth less than others, and many, many people have had smaller or larger fractions of their lives wasted more or less violently, as a result.
This bothers me. Which is why I started this website, and why I chose this career.
People who cannot admit their own insignificance or mortality seem to think that spoiling other people’s time by shaming or oppressing them will somehow add to their lives, and while it does succeed in creating misery and even shortening some people’s lives, it doesn’t make the perpetrator immortal or even significant. It’s a fool’s errand, a waste of one’s time, and involves the wasting of other people’s time without their consent.
Life is fragile, short, and precious. The best any of us can do is make our time good and meaningful. We do that by creating things, feeling and experiencing things, and bonding with other people in a way that acknowledges their inherent and unchanging value.
If I can clear obsession with food and shame about having a body out of people’s way so they can get down to living, then I have done a good job. If I can help chip away at some of the structures that unjustly limit people’s use of their finite and precious lives, even better.
In some form or another, I have been writing about this stuff for six years, and thinking about it for twenty-five. I figure why stop now.