Just skip a week.
This is what people suggest when I tell them I’m tired. “Just skip a week, no one will notice.” They tell me to quit writing emails, not cook dinner, don’t go to the gym, leave the laundry on the floor, get a sitter.
They say none of you will notice if my email doesn’t come and my Instagram disappears. That no one cares if I don’t cook, the gym will be there next week, and I can wear a dirty shirt.
They seem to misunderstand something.
I do not do these things for other people.
Skipping doing things I enjoy doing, that I do for me, is not a solution. It’s an abdication.
Anytime you rush to give someone a “solution” you’re wiping your hands clean of needing to sit with them in the conflict. The best thing you can do when someone tells you they are tired is to listen to why. Ask questions, gather more context, and then just listen.
I’m not tired because I get to write for a living, cook dinner, hang out with my kid, or run a few miles at 3PM.
I’m tired because of all the things that get in the way of my doing those things.
We had this terrifying windstorm in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago and people were like, “This is so crazy! I’ve never seen anything like this! Can you believe this weather?!”
YES, I FREAKING CAN.
Of course, I can believe it and so can you. We can all believe it. We are just not listening.
This is why I’m tired.
I’m tired that people keep being “shocked” the news isn’t helpful nor informative. I’m tired of people being “shocked” that weather patterns are getting more extreme. I’m tired of people being “shocked” that gender is fluid and constructed. I’m tired of people being “shocked” that having money isn’t filling the holes that money cannot fill.
I am tired of the perpetual feigned ignorance everyone appears to be exhibiting.
The gratuitous outrage, the intellectual dishonesty, the cognitive laziness.
I will gladly chat for hours with anyone who is genuinely curious about topics for which they are ignorant. This is not a problem, this is how we make progress.
But the baseless righteous indignation people seem to confuse with “having an argument” is exhausting.
We are playing dumb. Not just about facts, but our own psychology. We’re emotionally exploding on each other and then calling it “having different opinions” when we don’t have opinions or augments, we have unresolved trauma.
Someone will read this email and think, “Wow, she is angry.” And that is precisely why I am tired.
Because a character attack is not a takeaway. We’ve lost the ability to contend with ideas and positions. We’re marred in logical fallacies we mistakenly call “debates.”
A strawman argument does not a debate make.
So, no, I am not tired from cooking and the gym, I’m not tired from writing and promoting The Copy Workshop. I love those things.
I am tired from people not listening, talking past each other, and doubling down on psychologically immature behavior.
Show me someone who knows how to have debates that have actual freaking arguments instead of logical fallacies. Show me someone who doesn’t take “that’s wrong” personally. Because we are, most of us, wrong about so, so, so much (myself included).
I don’t fear being wrong. I’m wrong all the time. I fear what happens when we create a culture that doesn’t allow for mistakes, uncertainty, and new ideas. What happens when we continue to promote strawman arguments and ad hominem attacks and then act confused about why no one listens.
No one listens because we’ve created a culture where they don’t have to.
This Christmas, I move for the crafting of a new emergent culture.
One that demands arguments over attacks. One that understands how to sit with the tension of not knowing. One that is data literate. One that knows science and art are not in opposition. One that respects all 8 types of intelligence and doesn’t act like IQ is the only one that matters. One that values things that are invisible and unpaid. One that is self-aware, insightful, and intellectually and emotionally honest. One that doesn’t fear being wrong, mistaken, or changing its mind. One that addresses conflict like an adult, instead of a toddler. One that doesn’t lie about its motivations, history, or actions.
One that doesn’t just value independent thought, but models it.
I am not Christian so I don’t know the rules about Santa, but if any of you have a direct line please let him know my wish for us this holiday season is intellectual honesty and psychological maturity.
Please and thank you.
Merry Happy All The Things,
PS: To go deeper on the topic of media literacy, here are some pieces that can help:
- Coronavirus is Serious, Panic is Optional: On headlines and media panic
- Stop Blaming Advertisers: on why ads are a mirror, not an agenda
- Why I’m Done With Guest Posting: on the demise of gatekeepers and the problem of “churning” out content
- What Happens When You Put Lazy Content Out There For a Click: on the commodification of attention.
Lastly, if you want to become a pioneer of the new emergent culture and smarter contributor to the media landscape, come learn how to become the signal instead of the noise in The Copy Workshop.