I’ve been slipping gradually into a depression for the last couple of months and it’s beginning to degrade my ability to focus. I don’t like that, so I’m putting some analytical effort toward root cause analysis.

The basic problem is that, in most areas of my life, I’m stuck in a cycle of being graded on attendance and being frustrated at any attempt to do something constructive or meaningful. I actually track my time, so aside from basic life maintenance tasks (these take a lot more time than you’d expect, about 4 hours average per day) there are four areas where I spend most of my time:

  • My day job (20 hrs/wk)
  • School (15 hrs/wk)
  • Exercise (10-15 hrs/wk)
  • My side job (10 hrs/wk)

Three of those are frustrating in the extreme. I gave my three weeks’ notice for latter on Thursday (but I’ll also pick up twice that in classwork after that three-week period). So I spend the vast majority of my time watching the meager products of my effort get disassembled in front of me in exchange for money. According to this study we should expect this state of affairs to drain my sense of intrinsic motivation over time:

Now, I put myself in this situation on purpose in pursuit of a higher goal (software engineering career, financial independence) with the expectation that the process would be demoralizing and that I would have to fight it with psychological trickery. Such trickery is the prerogative of old men, among whom I’ve counted myself since 25 years of age. I think the problem is that I’ve slowed the sense of progress down too much by taking fewer classes to accommodate the extended internship and trying to turn it into a permanent position.

There’s also been an enormous acceleration of the sense that things are being disassembled around me, not just my work but the work of the good and great men of the past. Part of that is the fact that corporate is cannibalizing the infrastructure faster than academia, and part of it is the fact that everyone is accelerating their cannibalism. Failing a major goal this summer because of my part-time boss, not because of my own failings, was also a blow. I was spending maybe half an hour a week on it (nowhere near enough) and he seemed excited, so I thought “what’s the worst that can happen” and let him help, and he flew that plane nose-first into the ground. 100% failure, as in $0 out of a target of $3,000, which was already a piddling revenue target for a real business.

In the Ariely study the difference between the meaningful work group and the meaningless work group was 11 bionicle assemblies versus 7 bionicle assemblies. I’m an extreme outlier in terms of intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic*, hence the historical antipathy with higher education, but I’ve also developed unusually good coping skills, hence the 4.1 GPA in a STEM degree at a decent state school. Note: that’s not as impressive as it appears for someone with a 140 IQ, it’s pretty common for head girl types with 125 IQs to pull off similar grades even in hard science subjects. Most of my advantage over my classmates comes from applying ruthlessness to the foresight my intelligence affords. AKA I’m always looking for the easiest, fastest path from A to B and I’m a very good guesser with a lot of experience doing the college thing. All this is to justify the belief that I’m probably about average for how much impact demotivation has on my work output, i.e. 7 bionicles instead of 11, or running at 64% of normal capacity. Not ideal, supercharged capacity, just a normal, boring TPS reports job where you don’t see a mob of detached mouths from beyond eating away at the fabric of reality.

So the question is whether my current course is wiser than changing it. What if I can’t rebuild my sense of meaning, continue to deteriorate, and eventually lose my ability to show up and get paid for negative accomplishments while getting worse at coding? This is, after all, what k-selection looks like. You find an evolutionary niche in the politburo and hold on to it for dear life while the peasants sell each other their children’s limbs for meat. (That’s a Bible story too if you aren’t big on 20th century history.)

And of course, the worst part is I haven’t been doing anything creative lately. Now we get down to brass tacks. I’m basically an addict who only wants to be alive to get that next fix, and the fix is the feeling that I answered a big question that nobody else bothered to ask. The question that’s always in the back of my mind is whether to quit everything and die young in a flurry of brilliant but economically unsustainable work, or extend my life and make marginal gains a couple times a week over five decades. The deal was to pursue the career and make Blockheads comics later. But the frustration feeds the creative impulse and that’s pushing it to the front. I’m losing the ability to exist IRL not make Blockheads comics about the blockheads IRL. The career thing isn’t viable when you can’t read a job description without thinking up a comic about it and then you realize you’ve been looking out the window for half an hour.

I’m not sure what I’ll do but I’m glad to have framed the question properly.

*Ref: Drive by Daniel Pink and the subdivision ego strength by Paul Cooijmans.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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28 Responses to Inattention

  1. ShadoHand says:

    This is your body telling you that you are surrounded by brain dead retards with nothing to contribute to Society, The World, or History. You are experiencing a logical and rational response to external stimuli.

    Depression is God telling you to wage War against the Armies of Darkness. Something no Midwitted Authority figure will ever tell you.

    PTSD Just means that you are in reality.
    CPTSD is the human response to being ruthlessly, cruelly, and unsually punished by a social order that is broken, toxic, and downright Satanic. And staffed, operated, and maintained by retards who think and act on logical fallacies.

    God Speed my Broski.

  2. LOADED says:

    you are NOT ruthless bud.

  3. aiaslives says:

    > The deal was to pursue the career and make Blockheads comics later.
    I did the exact opposite.
    What you need to concentrate on now is to compartmentalize the shit parts of your routine.
    I recommend making a playlist of completely new music, and listening to it ONLY WHEN you’re doing this thing. Also, believing that you have a separate part of your brain (visualize it, there’s a glob) reserved for all garbage is a good practice and will make itself true over time.
    I also recommend looking at the ways your schedule can be expanded a little to include small tasks. If you’re doing everything on your phone, you’re integrating everything together. Buy two phones, keep one for work, another for personal stuff. The second phone should ideally be inactive and have a different theme. Stop reading books on your phone, buy an e-reader.

    >10-15 hours of exercise
    Drop an hour and half of it everyday and enjoy the free time it gives you.

    Your dilemma is basically the housewife’s dilemma. The house doesn’t change, the work keeps increasing because she gets keeps getting more sensitive to the dust and dirt.

    EZ hack: stop thinking about yourself as a genius. In all honesty, no one cares.

  4. Ryu says:

    Perhaps you need something new and exciting in your life.

    I understand you have an interest in ballroom dance. Whereever you live, there is certain to be a studio near you. Start small, with limited airs, and your depression will life.

  5. MM says:

    Every single attempt to transcend life and (more importantly) death through art, status, experience, love, accomplishment, or anything else is an ultimately futile endeavor.

    The only method with any success historically is connection with a God,
    -or you go schizo (your art and your inner world as substitute universe that is mis-percieved as ‘eternal’. This can reach externalization of internal objects)
    -or you become narcissistic (read ‘normie’ with the current times) and use status
    and accomplishment to hide the truth of a cold aluminum inevitability of physical and mental decay followed by oblivion.
    -or you just do what you can to survive, and try to enjoy this life day by day
    -or you just take psychedelics all the time and ‘realize’ lots of gay and comforting insights (or alternatively, true existential horror that scars you for life)
    -or you become tuned to ahriman, with none of the defense mechanisms, and you live simply out of fear of death, with no joy, and absolutely nothing beyond the physical (see David Rockefeller and his 5 heart transplants. Transhumanists. Or myself, at least atm. Maybe the world has something else to see… always open minded)

    The only drop after that is sorath, and then kill yourself/try to hurt as many ppl as you possibly can as a perverted ‘agent of truth’ or advancement (Kanno from texhnolyze, the assasisn guy from No Country for Old Men).
    (again, a ridiculous attempt at connection with a magic ‘eternal’- though the ‘magic’ is death or chaos for Sorath) Or just because its the only actual way to play God (also Kanno).

    Yeah, just a recap of past convo I think. Vaknin has some vids but I dont recommend for the reason stated below..

    More concretely, (aside from religion, and connection with the ‘body’ of your God, which I don’t want to dissuade you of because you will instantly be IN HELL then die or become a monster) you should make sure you actually sustainably enjoy your creative work when it is a full time thing. If so, it is more than viable. There is an enormous audience of disaffected young men out there. You could be like Keith Woods or… something. Its doable, but you have to be legit good. A Keith Woods video is usually just as deep as behelit post, for reference. But fuck, dude, you could easily get enough support if you just went ‘up to the line’ and not past it with any kind of analytical content that gets enough clicks and ‘converts’. I think you’d do well if you could do videos regularly and with good enough production. Ppl dont read blogs anymore. IDK about Blockheads, if you really cared about it it would still be made these past years. Its best not to listen to me tho. I fucked you up enough with the gay as hell gutow shit. You should listen to yourself or your God.

    Difficult topic… Hopefully this helped.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I’m not going to be able to make a living doing whatever I feel like. Creative performers can pull that off sometimes but they have a different psychology. Intellectuals (e.g. Keith Woods) can pull that off sometimes but again, different psychology. And even those are endangered species because the cultural niches are full of fakers and big money.

      • MM says:

        That was just an example. But Im not a lovable personalized sentient organ (available at my merch shop soon along with the trading cards) so not much informationz about your brain is as available just wordz that my eyes saw.

      • ShadoHand says:

        `Creative performers can pull that off sometimes but they have a different psychology.`
        Which you have. They also have the logistical wherewithal to do so. Sometimes thats the right connections. Other times access to a studio, the proper tools. Or even just luck.

        This isnt a criticism, but I think your problem is sense you are a three sigma guy you are stuck. You cant advance, because if you make one mistake itll be fatal.

  6. rillxn says:

    I share a similar struggle. I put in 40 hours a week + commute to a job I have less than 0 interest in outside of the sense of communion that comes from participating in a hierarchy of other living, breathing men & women. What keeps me sane is ~2 hours of dedicated creative work a day. I calibrate my day around maximizing the energy and focus I allot to this creative window. So long as I can dig into that substantial chunk of meaningful work everyday I can endure the rest.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I think I overestimated my ability to not do that for a few years in a row. The most obvious thing to do, in my particular situation, is slow my roll a bit and prune back my ambitions. Sure, the world is going to hell and we won’t have the reliable electricity necessary to do online degrees in 2025, but we’ll have it in 2023 and possibly 2024. So I have the bare minimum time to get where I need to be even if I make a little space for my strange needs.

  7. Aeoli Pera says:

    I’ve decided what I’m going to do. I still want to earn the extension on my internship, but I’ll turn it down and return to the company for the typical summer internship next year and turn THAT into my junior role. This way I can take more classes and make faster progress, and I don’t need the extra money as much as I need the feeling of forward motion toward the greater goal. Plus, if I’m not working either part-time job I can go properly full-time with the school stuff and still have a couple hours per day for incoherent ranting on the internet.

  8. MM says:

    very topical and just good in general

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