Keep your Sanity

Despair my ass.

One of the standard pieces of advice I like to give anyone attempting to do a PhD thesis or work in science is to have multiple supporting pillars. It’s just too easy to get lost, or get bogged down in issues that are — really — not that relevant.

It does not really matter what that supporting pillar is (better yet, have a second and third supporting pillar) … whether going out with (non-academic) friends, sports, a hobby, spending time with ones partner, or whatever — just make sure you have something else to keep your sanity. In any creative endeavor, there will be phases where work just … sucks. And then it’s important to have something else to fall back to (which is actually the main reason I own a PS4 and games like “Tomb Raider” or “The Last of Us”).

Today, I saw a … nice video by Thunderf00t who seems to go through a similar phase. When you see people with a lot of exposure but rather … unreflected views, you can just go on and despair. Then it’s important to home in on the things that build you up, remind you of why you are doing what you do. And in this sense, Thunderf00t’s video is interesting to see:

Of course, I’m looking forward to seeing his take on Freedomain Radio/Stefan Molyneux. Not only because I was rather fooled by it for a week and recommended it — something I consider as a useful but painful learning experience (see postings one, two, and especially three). But also because Stefan Molyneux seems to get a lot of criticism lately — mainly provoked by him. But there are also people speaking out against him, which — while personally biased — offer interesting insights. And yeah, I wonder what the reason behind this is, prompting me to ask the person with the personal insights:

I stumbled upon FDR as podcast a while ago and my first impression was rather positive (and so was my first posting about it: ). However, after a week or so, the prevalence of blaming the parents and the abuse of a de-facto therapist role made me re-evaluate the podcast (posting two was more critical: ), ending up in a rather negative view (posting three turned into a warning: ). It’s a bit with someone who is a great chef and can cook really good meals (or just decorate them nicely) — but also laces them with poison. Not something you would want to eat, no matter how good the good bits are.

But what I don’t understand is the following: At the moment he seems to be bent on pissing off a lot of influential people on the net, e.g., Ana Kasparian or Thunderf00t.

I wonder … what is the reason behind this? Simply get publicity under the (false) impression that any publicity is good publicity? Or is it to incur a lot of hate and then use this provoked hate to justify that something negative either has happened or will (likely) soon happen in his life? (Sidenote: I wonder what would happen if his wife divorced him and took the child)? Or is this behavior compensating for something that has already occurred? Or is it just years and years ignoring criticism while bathing in admiration? I wonder what your take on the current situation is.

But anyway, yup, make sure you remind yourself why you do what you do. Filter bubbles and subscriptions to videos and Twitter users can really encroach on you. Take a unbiased and unpoisoned breath once in a while.

Nothing is important 24/7/365.25.


Update: Strange, the comment should have appeared on this video, yet I only see it when I am logged in (Google+/YouTube). Perhaps it’s considered as spam due to the three links …