You know how people who practice coitus interruptus for a while can develop a dysfunction? I’m like that for intellectual work. After 3 months of being interrupted 3 minutes into starting any work-related task, I have lost the capacity to think deeply. I do a multitude of tasks that require no concentration or deep thinking. But that’s it.

It’s very disturbing.

Stop Feeling Uncomfortable

From Rod Dreher’s website:

A few years back, when I interviewed an older black man for a book project, and listened to him tell stories of the suffering he and his family endured under Jim Crow, I felt a deep sense of shame, because these things were terrible. Gratuitously cruel. Some of them were things I had never known about. I had not done those things to them. I wasn’t even alive when they were done. But sitting there in his living room, I could not get away from the burning awareness that somehow, I was implicated in it, because my ancestors — none of whom held slaves — had been part of that society.

Until people get rid of this very self-indulgent shame and guilt, this society will stay effectively segregated in many ways. It’s impossible to want to hang around somebody who makes you feel this bad. It’s easier simply to avoid the source of such unpleasantness. And many people do. Not for any evil reason but because they feel uncomfortable and nobody willingly seeks out discomfort.

If I met someone whose ancestors personally organized the Jewish pogroms of 1905 or held my Ukrainian ancestors as slaves until 1861, I’d definitely not want them to go all narcissistic on my account and start emoting all over the place. I’d much rather they looked at me as a completely ordinary, mundane individual than a source of all this emoting.

This is not a criticism of Rod whom I deeply respect and who was my very first red-pilling influence. But I do believe that we have control over our feelings if over little else. Feelings don’t simply appear. They serve a purpose and, once we change the purpose, we can feel something else.

Imagine if N felt bad around me over the Holodomor or the much more recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. We’d become extremely annoying to each other very soon. But also, what a great way to shut me up.

I strongly feel that people who experience this sort of thing need to analyze what purpose it serves for them and let it go already.

Online Goodie

The conference where I’m speaking next week has been moved online. As a result, the goodie bag has to be delivered by regular mail. And in case you don’t know, goodie bags are a major reason to go to a conference.

But this conference went even further. It sent us the Honduran coffee we were supposed to drink between sessions.