So, at the start of the year I was re-gifted Mark Manson’s new book Everything is Fucked and I honestly thought it was a story about hope, as in, hang in there – everything is going to be fine. But what it actually does is prove how hope is the root of all evil.
I MEAN WHAT!?
I personally really struggle with balancing my interest in things like astrology, numerology, clairvoyance etc, with also believing in what Mark is saying in this book. The existence of hope is what is meant to drive us all – towards something or away from something – how can it be bad? Well according to him, because without hope it seems like there is no point in anything at all – something Manson refers to as The Uncomfortable Truth. “A silent realisation that in the face of infinity, everything we could possibly care about quickly approaches zero.”
The universe doesn’t care about you or the things you care about. Only you do. Which, Manson says, is part of our brain’s effort to avoid The Uncomfortable Truth. “Hope is the fuel for our mental engine.” We construct and project a better future by hoping, and this informs everything we do and how we interpret things that happen to us.
But, as he explains far better than I could (and with references!) “hope is ultimately self-defeating and self-perpetuating: no matter what we achieve, no matter what peace and prosperity we find, our mind will quickly adjust its expectations to maintain a steady sense of adversity, thus forcing the formulation of a new hope, a new religion, a new conflict to keep us going.”
This is further explained with some of Friedrich Nietzsche’s work. Nietzsche argues that the whole ‘happily ever after’ thing doesn’t fit with the mind’s constant need to struggle for something or work towards something. And that essentially, we need to lose things that make us happy in order to stay happy in the longer term. Or; what are you prepared to sacrifice for the broader good? Summed up pretty nicely in this article actually.
My take-home message from the book was this: Amor fati. Coined by Nietzsche it essentially means ‘love of one’s fate’. The acceptance of all that life has to offer – the highs and lows, the need to love and appreciate your pain and the reality you are in. To do this means you don’t hope for anything but rather you hope for what already is.
I won’t give anything else away so as to not ruin it for you, but it’s a compelling read and really opened up my mind to a new way of thinking. It’s kind of confusing but also really logical when you stop and think about it. Manson’s books are like that. You speed read it and then come up for air and think ‘wait, what did I just read!?’
So, as Molly Meldrum would say, do yourself a favour (and read this book!)
Image source: Medium.com and Booktopia.com.