The Melancholaholic

Towards Apprehension of the Incomprehensible.

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🎵 If you are a pop music fan who might describe their relationship to the most important songs in their life as “spiritual”, I have a newsletter for you.

Arthur C. Brooks in The Atlantic:

“A good deal of social and political activism is zero-sum, and admits only two possible outcomes: winning or losing. When these causes become an uphill battle, as commonly happens, losing is likely. Then the disappointment can be crushing.

None of this is to say that activism is a mistake; that is for each person to decide. But much of the data present a challenge for people who want to stay engaged without sacrificing their mental health—as well as for people in positions of political leadership and in academia, who often encourage young people to be involved in important causes.

A compromise might be available through minimizing activism’s most psychologically harmful elements: hatred and defeat. A shift in perspective—from winning to helping—can address both problems. This could mean a switch from protesting homelessness to providing services for people experiencing homelessness—for instance, by volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen—or from marching against the president to giving people a ride to the polling station. Focus on what you can do to ameliorate a situation rather than simply demonstrating your opposition to it.”

Brooks here taps into various wisdom traditions to make an important point:

When faced with enormous and seemingly intractable problems, the best and most sustainable approach to activism is to “do small things with great love.”

I would wear the hell out of this boygenius t-shirt.

🎵Now Listening — Memento Mori by Depeche Mode on Apple Music 

This is, without doubt, the most exciting music they’ve released since Ultra. Excellent album.

Just your semi-periodic reminder that this oft-slept-upon gem is one of the best records of the 90’s… and of U2’s career.

This is actually great advice for anyone doing creative/generative work who struggles with perfection paralysis, courtesy of the never boring Willem Dafoe:

There is very little that is more satisfying than watching your child prepare for something that causes them significant fear, face into it with courage, and succeed. I’m always proud of my daughter, but it’s a joy to watch her stepping into challenges and growing in confidence.

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