All posts by Adriana Oltean

Cum sa ajuti un alcoolic

Punct ochit, punct lovit, Pera…

“Suma viciilor ramane constanta, daca gaura din suflet ramane constanta”.

Partea 1

Partea a 2-a

Partea a 3-a

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Barca goala

boats

Cand un om traverseaza un rau

Si de barca lui se loveste o barca goala,

Chiar daca este iute la manie,

Nu se va supara foarte tare.

Dar de va vedea pe cineva in barca,

Ii va striga sa se dea la o parte.

Si daca strigatul lui nu va fi auzit, el va striga din nou,

Si apoi din nou si din nou si va incepe sa-l blesteme.

Totul pentru ca in barca se afla cineva.

Daca barca ar fi goala, omul nu ar striga, nu s-ar mania.

 

Daca simtiti ca intrati tot timpul in coliziune cu alti oameni si aceia se supara pe voi, retineti, nu este vina lor. Inseamna ca barca voastra nu este goala. Se supara pe voi fiindca egoul vostru se aflam in barca. Daca barca ar fi goala, ar fi o prostie din partea lor sa se supere; si-ar da seama ca ar fi o prostie si nu s-ar mai supara.

Uneori apropiatii mei se mai supara pe mine, dar isi dau seama imediat ca sunt caraghiosi. Daca barca este goala, puteti chiar sa va amuzati de mania altora, fiindca din moment ce in barca nu se afla nimeni, nu pe voi s-au suparat. Sa retineti acest lucru: daca oamenii se tot lovesc de voi, inseamna ca opuneti rezistenta ca un perete fara usi. Faceti undeva o usa, deveniti goi in acel punct, dati-le voie sa treaca.

Dar chiar si asa uneori oamenii se vor supara. Se pot supara chiar si pe un buddha, fiindca oamenii se comporta prosteste. Se poate intampla ca barca lor sa se loveasca de o barca goala si ei sa nu se uite daca acolo se afla cineva. Si sa inceapa sa tipe. Sunt atat de suparati in sinea lor, incat nu mai vad daca au la cine sa tipe sau nu.

Dar o barca goala poate savura chiar si un asemenea moment; daca nu va aflati acolo, cum ar putea sa va loveasca mania lor?

Simbolul barcii goale este foarte frumos. Oamenii se supara fiindca sunt prea mult prezenti in barcile lor, sunt prea grei in barca. Constituie piedici solide, de care nu se poate trece. Iar viata este o suma de interconexiuni. Daca sunteti prea mult ego, veti intra in coliziune cu toata lumea. Veti fi intr-un conflict continuu. Viata voastra va fi manie, depresie, agresivitate si violenta continua.

Ori de cate ori vedeti ca cineva este manios pe voi sau simtiti ca va tot ciocniti de el, aveti tendinta sa dati vina pe acea persoana. Acesta este modul in care interpreteaza ignoranta asemenea situatii. Ignoranta trage mereu concluzia ca celalalt este de vina. Intelepciunea insa spune: „Daca cineva trebuie sa poarte raspunderea pentru aceasta situatie, atunci eu sunt singurul raspunzator. Ca sa nu intru in coliziune cu alti oameni, ar trebui sa nu mai fiu prezent in barca. ”

„Eu sunt responsabil” nu inseamna ca „eu am facut ceva rau si de aceea s-a suparat cutare pe mine.” Nu asa se pune problema. Poate ca nu ati facut nimic, dar simplul fapt ca va aflati in barca este suficient ca sa atrageti mania celuilalt. Nu se pune problema de a fi facut ceva rau sau nu. Problema este ca sunteti.

Aceasta este diferenta dintre Tao si alte religii. Alte religii spun: „Fiti buni, purtati-va astfel  incat sa nu suparati pe nimeni.” Tao insa spune: „Nu fiti.”

Nu se pune problema sa va purtati bine sau rau. Nu asa se pune problema. Chiar si cel mai bun dintre oameni, un sfant chiar, poate sa atraga mania altcuiva pentru simplul fapt ca se afla acolo. Omul rau se simte vinovat – barca lui nu este plina pana la refuz, totusi el se simte vinovat. Nu este cine stie ce prezenta in barca, dar vina il face sa bata in retragere. Omul bun, in schimb, se simte atat de bun, incat umple barca pana da pe dinafara.

De aceea ori de cate ori va aflati in prezenta unui om bun va simtiti de-a dreptul torturati – nu fiindca el v-ar tortura, ci fiindca prezenta lui este apasatoare. In preajma asa-zisilor oameni buni va simtiti tristi si parca ati dori sa-i evitati. Asa-zisii oameni buni sunt intotdeauna foarte apasatori. Cum intrati in contact cu ei, cum va simtiti tristi si va doriti sa plecati cat mai repede posibil.

Moralistii, puritanii, virtuosii sunt atat de apasatori, arunca poveri atat de mari in jurul lor – umbre groase – incat nimeni nu-i agreeaza. Nu sunt o companie placuta, nu pot fi prieteni buni. Este imposibila prietenia cu un om bun, sau aproape imposibila, din cauza ca privirea lui tot timpul condamna. Imediat ce ajungi in preajma lui, el e bun si tu esti rau. Nu trebuie sa faca nimic ca sa va simtiti asa, fiinta lui creeaza aceasta situatie care va enerveaza instantaneu.

Tao este total diferit. Tao are o calitate diferita, iar in ce ma priveste, Tao este cea mai profunda religie ce a existat vreodata pe pamant. Nimic nu se compara cu Tao. Sunt asemanari, strafulgerari ale adevarului lui Tao, in zicerile lui Iisus, Buddha sau Krishna, dar doar atat, strafulgerari.

Lao Tzu si Chuang Tzu au transmis cel mai pur mesaj cu putinta, de o puritate absoluta – nimic nu-l intineaza. Iar mesajul este urmatorul: totul se intampla fiindca in barca se afla cineva. Iadul exista fiindca in barca se afla cineva.

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Omul perfect, omul cu adevarat intelept, omul Tao, isi urmeaza calea fara sa se raporteze la altii. Voi suferiti pentru ca inca va raportati la ceilalti si sunteti, din cauza aceasta, limitati. Atunci cand va bizuiti pe altii, deveniti slabi si dependenti.  Dar nu este un castig nici daca va mandriti cu faptul ca mergeti singuri. Mergeti singuri, dar nu va mandriti. In felul acesta, va veti  putea misca liberi prin lume, fara sa fiti o parte a ei. Puteti convietui cu familia fara sa fiti un membru al ei. Puteti fi soti fara sa va insotiti. Puteti poseda fara a fi stapaniti de ceea ce posedati. Lumea va ramane afara, nu va patrunde inauntru. Atunci puteti fi in lume, dar nu veti fi corupti de ea.

Aceasta este singuratatea autentica – sa fii in lume, fara sa fii atins de ea. Daca incepeti sa va mandriti cu retragerea voastra din lume, ati pierdut. Daca incepeti sa va ganditi: „Sunt cineva”, inseamna ca barca nu este goala si ati cazut victima egoului.

Sursa: Osho – Barca goala

Notes on a Nervous Planet IV

matt

Space

In terms of shaping our own future, spaces are key. We need to make sure there are spaces to be free. To be ourselves. Literal spaces, psychological spaces.

Increasingly, our towns and cities are places which want us there primarily as consumers, rather than people. Which makes it all the more important that we value those threatened spaces where economically irrelevant being is still allowed. Forests, parks, state-funded museums and galleries, libraries.

Libraries, for instance, are wonderful places currently at risk. Many people in power dismiss them as irrelevant in the age of the internet. This really misses the point. Many libraries are using the internet in innovative ways, enabling access to books and the internet itself. And besides, libraries aren’t just about books. They are one of the few public spaces we have left which don’t like our wallets more than us.

But there are other spaces which are threatened, too.

Non-physical spaces. Spaces of time. Digital spaces. Some online companies increasingly want to infringe on our selfhood, seeing us as less of a human being and more as an organism full of data to be mined, or sold on.

There are spaces in the day and week that are being continually devoured in the name of work or other responsibilities.

There are even spaces of the mind that are under threat. The space to think freely, or at least calmly, seems to be harder to find. Which might explain the rise not only in anxiety disorders but also of counterbalancing habits such as yoga and meditation.

People are craving not just physical space but the space to be mentally free. A space from unwanted distracted thoughts that clutter our heads like pop-up advertising of the mind in an already frantic world. And that space is still there to be found. It’s just that we can’t rely on it. We have to consciously seek it out. We might have to set time to read or do some yoga or have a long bath or cook a favorite meal or go for a walk. We might have to switch our phone off. We might have to close the laptop. We might have to unplug ourselves, to find a kind of stripped-back acoustic version of us.

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For me, reading was never an antisocial activity. It was deeply social. It was the most profound kind of socializing there was. A deep connection to the imagination of another human being. A way to connect without the many filters society normally demands.

So often, reading is seen as important because of its social value. It is tied to education and the economy and so on. But that misses the whole point of reading.

Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape.

Reading is love in action.

It doesn’t need to be books. But we do need to find that space.

(…)To be comfortable with yourself, to know yourself, requires creating some inner space where you can find yourself, away from a world that often encourages you to lose yourself.

We need to carve out a place in time for ourselves, whether it is via books or meditation or appreciating the view out of a window. A place where we are not craving, or yearning, or working, or worrying, or over-thinking. A place where we might not even be hoping. A place where we are set to neutral. Where we can just breathe, just be, just bathe in the simple animal contentment of being, and not crave anything except what we already have: life itself.

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The world affects us, but it isn’t quite us. There is a space inside us that is independent to what we see and where we are. This means we can feel pain amid external beauty and peace. But the flipside is that we can feel calm in a world of fear. We can cultivate a calmness inside us, one that lives and grows, and gets us through.

There is a cliché about reading. That there are as many books as there are readers. Meaning every reader has their own take on a book. Five people could sit down and read, say, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin and have five totally different legitimate responses. It isn’t really about what you read, but how you read it. The writer might start a story but they need a reader for it to come alive, and it never comes alive the same way twice. The story is never just the words. It is also the reading of them. And that is the variable. That is where the magic lives. All a writer can do is provide a match, and hopefully a dry one. The reader has to strike the flame into being.

The world is like that, too. There are as many worlds as there are inhabitants. The world exists in you. Your experience of the world isn’t this objective unchangeable thing called ‘The World’. No. Your experience of the world is your interaction with it, your interpretation of it. To a certain degree we all make our own worlds. We read it in our own way. But also: we can, to a degree, choose what to read. We have to work out what about the world makes us feel sad or scared or confused or ill or calm or happy.

We have to find, within all those billions of human worlds, the one we want to live on. The one that, without us imagining it, would never arrive.

And, likewise, we have to understand that however it might influence them, the world is not our feelings. We can feel calm in a hospital, or in pain on a Spanish clifftop.

We can contradict ourselves. We can contradict the world. We can sometimes even do the impossible. We can live when death seems inevitable. And we can hope after we knew hope had gone.

……….

Everything special about humans – our capacity for love and art and friendship and stories and all the rest – is not a product of modern life, it is a product of being a human. And so, while we can’t disentangle ourselves from the transient and frantic stress of modern life, we can place an ear next to our human self (or soul, if you’d rather) and listen to the quiet stillness of being. And realize that we don’t need to distract ourselves from ourselves.

Everything we need is right here. Everything we are is enough. We don’t need the bigger boat to deal with the invisible sharks around us. We are the bigger boat. The brain, as Emily Dickinson put it, is bigger than the sky. And by noticing how modern life makes us feel, by allowing that reality and by being broad-minded enough to change when change is healthy, we can engage with this beautiful world without being worried it will steal who we are.

read

Source: Matt Haig – Notes on a Nervous Planet

Viata secreta a copacilor

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Super tare cartea asta! Mi-a raspuns la o multime de intrebari ce-mi tot dau tarcoale inca din copilarie, dar nu vreau sa dau spoiler-e pentru ca e musai de citit daca esti un iubitor al muntilor si al padurii.

Vrei sa stii despre copaci cum comunica, cum se apara, cum se sprijina reciproc, ce parteneriate fac, cum iubesc, cum merg la scoala, cum cresc, cum se hranesc, ce fac iarna, cum dorm, cum imigreaza, de ce te simti diferit intr-o padure de pin fata de una de foioase, ce-i in neregula cu padurile plantate de om si cu orfanii de pe marginea drumului si din orase, de ce avem nevoie de paduri seculare… si totul intr-un stil amuzant si stiintific totodata? Ie si citeste minunatia asta de carte!

Nu vei mai putea privi un copac la fel ca inainte…

Asa ca si soarta stejarelului de pe pervaz se va schimba, promit.

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Portile perceptiei

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Intr-o dimineata din primavara anului 1953, Aldous Huxley ia patru zecimi de gram de mescalina si asteapta rabdator sa vada ce se intampla. Dupa un timp, constata ca totul, de la florile din vaza pana la cutele pantalonilor, e complet schimbat: culorile sunt mai intense si mai luminoase, iar timpul si spatiul par sa nu aiba nici o importanta. Huxley noteaza cu lux de amanunte senzatiile traite in Portile perceptiei.

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„Vorbim prea mult. Ar trebui sa vorbim mai putin si sa desenam mai mult. Eu as vrea sa renunt cu totul la vorbire si, aidoma Naturii organice, sa comunic tot ce am de zis prin desene. Smochinul de colo, micul sarpe, coconul de pe pervazul ferestrei asteptandu-si cuminte viitorul – toate astea sunt semne colosale. Cine ar fi in stare sa le descifreze intelesul cum se cuvine ar putea fi capabil sa se lipseasca total de cuvantul rostit sau scris. Cu cat ma gandesc mai mult, vorbirea mi se pare un lucru zadarnic, mediocru, chiar sclivisit (as fi tentat sa spun). In schimb, cat te poate infiora gravitatea Naturii si tacerea ei cand te trezesti fata in fata cu ea, netulburat, inaintea unei culmi golase sau in pustiul muntilor batrani.” Goethe

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Stim prea putin despre efectele fiziologice ale mescalinei. Probabil (inca nu suntem siguri) interfereaza cu sistemul de enzime care regleaza functionarea cerebrala, scazand randamentul creierului in postura sa de instrument care serveste mintii sa se concentreze asupra problemelor vietii, la suprafata planetei noastre. Scaderea a ceea ce ar putea fi numit randamentul biologic al creierului pare sa permita patrunderea in constiinta a unor categorii de evenimente mentale in mod normal excluse, din cauza ca nu au valoare de supravietuire. Intruziunea unor elemente similare, fara valoare din punct de vedere biologic, dar valoroase estetic si uneori spiritual, poate surveni din cauza bolii sau a oboselii; sau poate fi indusa prin post ori prin perioade de recluziune in spatiu intunecos, in liniste deplina.

Viziunile sub influenta mescalinei sau a acidului lisergic inceteaza daca persoanei i se administreaza o doza considerabila de acid nicotinic. Astfel, ne vine mai usor sa explicam rolul postului in declansarea viziunilor. Prin reducerea cantitatii de zahar aflate la dispozitia organismului, postul scade randamentul biologic al creierului si permite patrunderea in constiinta a unor elemente fara nici o valoare de supravietuire. Mai mult decat atat, provocand avitaminoza, indeparteaza din sange acidul nicotinic care, este stiut, inhiba viziunile. Un alt inhibitor al trairilor vizionare este experienta perceptiva obisnuita, de zi cu zi. Psihologii experimentalisti au descoperit ca, daca un subiect este inchis intr-un „mediu limitat”, fara lumina, fara sunete si fara mirosuri, si asezat intr-o baie calduta in care are contact, aproape imperceptibil, cu un singur obiect, acesta va incepe foarte curand sa „auda” si sa „vada” tot felul de lucruri, sa aiba senzatii stranii in corp.

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Experienta luminii: toate cele vazute de calatorul la antipozii cugetului par sa straluceasca din interior, scaldate intr-o lumina splendida. Tonurile depasesc cu mult in intensitate cele vazute in stare normala si, in acelasi timp, capacitatea de a distinge diferente subtile de culori si nuante creste si ea considerabil.

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La antipozii cugetului ne aflam complet – sau aproape complet – despartiti de limbaj, in afara sistemului gandirii conceptuale. Prin urmare, felul in care percepem obiectele vizionare pastreaza toata prospetimea, toata intensitatea nuda a trairilor care nu au fost niciodata transpuse in cuvinte, niciodata asimilate unor abstractii fara viata. Culoarea lor (acel atribut al datului) are straluciri ce ne par supranaturale, tocmai pentru ca este de fapt absolut naturala – adica absolut nepervertita nici de limbaj, nici de notiunile stiintifice, filozofice si utilitare prin care, in mod obisnuit, recream lumea data mohorat, dupa chipul si asemanarea noastra omeneasca.

Sursa: Aldous Huxley – Portile perceptiei. Raiul si iadul

Notes on a Nervous Planet III

matt

Realize the world is not as violent as it feels. Many writers on this subject – such as the famed cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker – have pointed out that, despite all its horrors, society is less violent than it used to be. ‘There is definitely still violence,’ says the historian Yuval Noah Harari. ‘I live in the Middle East so I know this perfectly well. But, comparatively, there is less violence than ever before in history. Today more people die from eating too much than from human violence, which is really an amazing achievement.’

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Edith Wharton believed the cure for loneliness  wasn’t always to have company, but to find a way to be happy with your own company. Not to be antisocial, but not to be scared of your own unaccompanied presence.

She thought the cure to misery was to ‘decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone’.

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The detective of despair

I think the world is always going to be a mess. And I am always going to be a mess. Maybe you’re a mess, too. But – and this bit is everything for me – I believe it’s possible to be a happy mess. Or, at least, a less miserable mess. A mess who can cope.

‘In all chaos there is a cosmos,’ said Carl Jung, ‘in all disorder a secret order.’

Mess is actually okay. (…) The problem is not that the world is a mess, but that we expect it to be otherwise. We are given the idea that we have control. That we can go anywhere and be anything. That, because of free will in a world of choice, we should be able to choose not just where to go online or what to watch on TV or which recipe to follow of the billion online recipes, but also what to feel. And so when we don’t feel what we want or expect to feel, it becomes confusing and disheartening. Why can’t I be happy when I have so much choice? And why do I feel sad and worried when I don’t really have anything to be sad and worried about?

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It makes sense that shopping centres aren’t easy places to be in. A shopping centre is a deliberately stimulating environment, designed not to calm or comfort, but merely to get us to spend money. And as anxiety is often a trigger for consumption, feeling calm and satisfied would probably work against the shopping centre’s best interests. Calmness and satisfaction – in the agenda of the shopping centre – are destinations we reach by purchasing. Not places already there.

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As with living in Ibiza, or in a religious cult, it is hard to see the things we may have problems with if everyone has the same problems. If everyone is spending hour after hour on their phones, scrolling through texts and timelines, then that becomes normal behavior. If everyone is getting out of bed too early to work 12-hour days in jobs they hate, then why question it? If everyone is worrying about their looks, then worrying about our looks is what we should be doing. If everyone is maxing out their credit cards to pay for things they don’t really need, then it can’t be a problem. If the whole planet is having a kind of collective breakdown, then unhealthy behavior fits right in. When normality becomes madness, the only way to find sanity is by daring to be different. Or daring to be the you that exists beyond all the physical clutter and mind debris of modern existence.

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A paradox

There’s a paradox about modern hi-tech consumer societies. They seem to encourage individualism while not encouraging us – actually forbidding us – to think as individuals. They discourage us from standing back from their distractions, like serious addicts have to if they want their life back, and asking: what am I doing? And why do I keep doing it if it doesn’t make me happy? In a weird way, this is easier if you choose a socially unacceptable compulsion like heroin addiction than if you have a socially acceptable one like compulsive dieting or tweeting or shopping or working. If the madness is collective and the illness is cultural it can be hard to diagnose, let alone treat.

Even when the tide of society is pulling us in one direction it has to be possible – if that direction makes and keeps us unhappy – to learn how to swim another way. To swim towards the truth of ourselves, a truth our distractions might be hiding. Our very lives might depend on it.

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‘How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high-powered firms, vowing that they will work hard to earn money that will enable them to retire and pursue their real interests when they are thirty-five? But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad. What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving away.’

—Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011)

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‘I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organised diminution of work.’

—Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness (1932)

economy

Source: Matt Haig – Notes on a Nervous Planet

Notes on a Nervous Planet II

matt

How to stay sane on the internet: a list of utopian commandments I rarely follow, because they are so damn difficult

1.Practise abstinence. Social media abstinence, especially. Resist whatever unhealthy excesses you feel drawn towards. Strengthen those muscles of restraint.

2.Don’t type symptoms into Google unless you want to spend seven hours convinced you will be dead before dinner.

3.Remember no one really cares what you look like. They care what they look like. You are the only person in the world to have worried about your face.

4.Understand that what seems real might not be. When the novelist William Gibson first imagined the idea of what he coined ‘cyberspace’ in 1982’s ‘Burning Chrome’, he pictured it as a ‘consensual hallucination’. I find this description useful when I am getting too caught up in technology. When it is affecting my non-digital life. The whole internet is one step removed from the physical world. The most powerful aspects of the internet are mirrors of the offline world, but replications of the external world aren’t the actual external world. It is the real internet, but that’s all it can be. Yes, you can make real friends on there. But non-digital reality is still a useful test for that friendship. As soon as you step away from the internet – for a minute, an hour, a day, a week – it is surprising how quickly it disappears from your mind.

5.Understand people are more than a social media post. Think how many conflicting thoughts you have in a day. Think of the different contradictory positions you have held in your life. Respond to online opinions but never let one rushed opinion define a whole human being. ‘Every one of us,’ said the physicist Carl Sagan, ‘is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.’

6.Don’t hate-follow people. This has been my promise to myself since New Year’s Day, 2018, and so far it is working. Hate-following doesn’t give your righteous anger a focus. It fuels it. In a weird way, it also reinforces your echo chamber by making you feel like the only other opinions are extreme ones. Do not seek out stuff that makes you unhappy. Do not measure your own worth against other people. Do not seek to define yourself against. Define what you are for. And browse accordingly.

7.Don’t play the ratings game. The internet loves ratings, whether it is reviews on Amazon and TripAdvisor and Rotten Tomatoes, or the ratings of photos and updates and tweets. Likes, favourites, retweets. Ignore it. Ratings are no sign of worth. Never judge yourself on them. To be liked by everyone you would have to be the blandest person ever. William Shakespeare is arguably the greatest writer of all time. He has a mediocre 3.7 average on Goodreads.

8.Don’t spend your life worrying about what you are missing out on. Not to be Buddhist about it – okay, to be a little Buddhist about it – life isn’t about being pleased with what you are doing, but about what you are being.

9.Never delay a meal, or sleep, for the sake of the internet.

10.Stay human. Resist the algorithms. Don’t be steered towards being a caricature of yourself. Switch off the pop-up ads. Step out of your echo chamber. Don’t let anonymity turn you into someone you would be ashamed to be offline. Be a mystery, not a demographic. Be someone a computer could never quite know. Keep empathy alive. Break patterns. Resist robotic tendencies. Stay human.

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Be careful who you pretend to be

KURT VONNEGUT said, decades before anyone had an Instagram account, that ‘we are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful who we pretend to be’. This seems especially true for the social media age. We have always presented ourselves to the world – chosen which band T-shirt to wear and which words to say and which body parts to shave – but on social media the act of presenting is heightened a stage further. We are eternally one step removed from our online selves. We become walking merchandise. Our profiles are Star Wars figures of ourselves.

A picture of a pipe is not a pipe, as Magritte told us. There is a permanent gap between the signifier and the thing signified. An online profile of your best friend is not your best friend. A status update about a day in the park is not a day in the park. And the desire have always presented ourselves to the world – chosen which band T-shirt to wear and which words to say and which body parts to shave – but on social media the act of presenting is heightened a stage further. We are eternally one step removed from our online selves. We become walking merchandise. Our profiles are Star Wars figures of ourselves.

A picture of a pipe is not a pipe, as Magritte told us. There is a permanent gap between the signifier and the thing signified. An online profile of your best friend is not your best friend. A status update about a day in the park is not a day in the park. And the desire to tell the world about how happy you are, is not how happy you are.

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Make ourselves see what we pretend to know. Remind ourselves that we are an animal united as a species existing on this tender blue speck in space, the only planet that we know of containing life. Bathe in the corny sentimental miracle of that. Define ourselves by the freakish luck of not only being alive, but being aware of that. That we are here, right now, on the most beautiful planet we’ll ever know. A planet where we can breathe and live and fall in love and eat peanut butter on toast and say hello to dogs and dance to music and read Bonjour Tristesse and binge-watch TV dramas and notice the sunlight accentuated by hard shadow on a building and feel the wind and the rain on our tender skin and look after each other and lose ourselves in daydreams and night dreams and dissolve into the sweet mystery of ourselves.

alan watts

Source: Matt Haig – Notes on a Nervous Planet