We live in a curious era. Materially, everything is better than ever, we have more freedom, more wealth and more health than at any other time in history.
But, in a way, everything looks horrible and inevitably f*cked up, economy in crisis, bad politicians, global warming and everyone is always offended on social media.
At this point, where we have a closer relationship with technology, education and communication, compared to years ago, many cannot get rid of an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. What is going on?
Mark Manson analyzes in the book "Everything is F*cked", religion and politics, examines our relationship with money, leisure and the internet, and makes us ask in a true way our definitions of faith, happiness, freedom and even of hope itself.
The book "Everything is F*cked", written by Mark Manson, was released in 2019, and offers us a fun and unusual ride through the pain in our hearts and the stress in our lives.
The work consists of 288 pages, comprising nine chapters, which are divided into two parts: "Hope" and "Everything is F*cked".
Mark Manson is the author, entrepreneur and owner of the blog markmanson. com. In addition, he is the CEO and founder of Infinity Square Media LLC, a company that works with Web management.
In Brazil, Manson was known for his article "An Open Letter to Brazil", which he wrote after living four years in the country.
He is also author of the bestselling "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck", which only in Brazil, surpassed 1 million copies sold.
The book "Everything Is F*cked" is suitable for all people who are stressed or anxious in the face of the numerous problems of modern life.
It is also recommended for those who wish to understand their own feelings, in order to find more freedom and joy in their lives.
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In recent years, authors like Hans Rosling and Steven Pinker have claimed that we are wrong to embrace pessimism, that in fact things are better than ever and the tendency is to improve even more.
On the other hand, we also have some worrying facts: in the United States, anxiety and depression have been on the rise for the past twenty years. Not only are more people becoming depressed, but this is happening earlier and earlier with each generation.
Currently, almost half of Americans say they feel lonely or excluded. Social trust is low, this means that people have never believed in each other, in the media and in government.
Meanwhile, extremism continues to spread across the world in a variety of ways. Conspiracyists, civilian militias, "survivalists" and "preparers" (people preparing for Armageddon) have become icons of popular subcultures, to the point of becoming almost commonplace.
And therein comes the paradox of progress, which can be summed up by a worrying fact: the healthier and safer the place where you live, the greater your chance of committing suicide.
However, regardless of what happened in the past, we have to find our hope in the visions of the future.
According to Mark Manson:
"Hope doesn't care about the problems that have already been solved. It only cares about what still needs to be resolved. Because as the world gets better, we have more to lose. And the more we have to lose, the less we think we should have hope."
So, in order to maintain and create hope, we need three things: a sense of control, a belief in the value of something and a community.
Control means that you control your life and have the reign of your destiny. By "Value", we mean that there is something worth fighting for. And "community" is being part of a group that values the same things as us.
Losing one of these three elements, you lose the others, leaving you without hope.
Think for a moment that your mind is a car, called a "Car of Consciousness".
It follows the road of life, through intersections, entrances and exits of expressways. This represents the choices you make that determine your destiny. Two passengers travel inside the car: the Sensitive Brain and the Thinking Brain.
The Sensitive Brain symbolizes emotions, intuition, instinct and impulses. While the Thinking Brain represents conscious thoughts, the ability to perform calculations, the ability to analyze various options rationally and to communicate through language.
Each has its strengths and weaknesses. The Thinker is accurate, impartial and thorough; however, it requires energy and effort and needs to be trained constantly, just like a muscle.
On the other hand, the Sensitive reaches conclusions effortlessly and in an agile way, but often hasty and mistaken. It is dramatic and has a habit of responding in an exaggerated way.
As explained in the book "Everything Is F*cked", the Thinking Brain has the ability to convince the brain sensitive to pursue a new direction or make the return after an error. But the Sensitive Brain is stubborn and, if it wishes to go in the other direction, it will do so regardless of the rational facts presented.
So, don't think that the Thinker is driving the car, because the Sensitive is driving, he is the driver and the Thinker is the GPS.
Simply put, the Thinker can guide and induce the Sensitive in a certain direction, but in the end, he goes where he wants.
For each action there is an opposite emotional reaction of equal intensity. Suppose I punched you in the face. Without why. With no reason. Just for the sheer aggressiveness.
Of course, you would respond with some retaliation. Regardless of how it was retaliated, you would feel a wave of negative emotions directed at me. This creates a "moral gap" between us: the intuition that one of us is deeply right, and the other is nothing but a little shit.
According to the author Mark Manson:
"Mental gaps are the feeling that something has gone wrong, and you (or someone) deserve to be rewarded. Whenever there is pain, an inherent sense of superiority and inferiority is created. And there is always pain."
Now, suppose I apologize for the punch: "Wow, man, that was very wrong and, wow, I totally lost control. To show you my sincere apologies, I am offering you a cake and a hundred dollars".
If you accepted my apology, the moral gap between us has disappeared. We are "even": no one is better or worse than the other, no one deserves worse or better treatment. We are on the same moral plane.
This restores hope, meaning there is nothing wrong with you, you can move on.
Looking from the other side, suppose that instead of a punch I give you a house as a gift. This will also open a moral gap between us, but this time you will feel an enormous desire to balance the joy I have provided you with.
This is a positive gap; you will feel that you owe me something. Of course, you can refuse my gift. But the important thing here is our psychological inclination, that is, to equate the moral gaps: positive with positive and negative with negative.
In this sense, each action requires an opposite emotional reaction of equal intensity.
Our self-esteem is equal to the sum of our emotions over time. To clarify the idea of this law, we return to the punch situation. Suppose you are in no way able to match the gap.
I am saying that the first emotional law cannot be established. What happens is that, when the gaps persist for a certain time, they end up being normalized.
They become the standard expectation, establishing themselves in our hierarchy of values. If I punch you and you can't fight back, sooner or later your Sensitive Brain will come to a terrifying conclusion: "I deserved to take that punch".
According to Manson in the book "Everything Is F*cked":
"The fact that we cannot match the situation means that there must be something inherently inferior in us, and / or something inherently superior in the person who hit us."
This giving up in the face of moral gaps is an essential part of the Sensitive Brain 's nature. Therefore, the way we determine the value of everything that concerns us is inspired by the sum of our emotions over time.
Your identity will remain the same until a new experience is opposed to it.
Our values are not just the result of a set of feelings. They are stories. When the Sensitive Brain feels something, the Thinking Brain begins to produce an explanation for it.
Our explanations are narrative, have adherence, cling to our minds and unite with our identities. We upload these creations and define ourselves from them.
We exchange them with other people, looking for individuals who have stories that match ours. We call these people friends, allies and companions. Those that carry stories that go against ours are called bad.
For example, when you think to yourself, "I'm a really bad boat captain". You define yourself and know yourself through this narrative. It is an aspect of your self. You pilot a boat and you're very good at it, and that's why you deserve all the best.
However, by adopting these small narratives as an identity, you protect and react emotionally as if they are part of your own self. That way, if someone tells you he is a bad captain, you will react negatively, wanting to protect the metaphysical body.
Throughout life, we accumulate more and more values and meanings and this turns our identities into a snowball. The longer we keep a value, the more in the heart of the snowball it will establish itself and the more difficult it will be for us to be aware of its existence.
Author Mark Manson explains in his book "Everything Is F*cked" that:
"There are two ways to replace old, problematic values with better and healthier examples."
However, this process will inevitably cause pain and discomfort. There is no change without pain, evolution without discomfort.
The first way is to reexamine the experiences and rewrite the narratives around them: "you know, maybe I was not such a good captain, but that's okay".
The second is to write the narratives of your future, that is, to visualize the future that we want for ourselves. Thus, we allow our Sensitive Brain to experience values before committing to them. Finally, after several repetitions, the Sensitive Brain will become accustomed and also begin to believe in these values.
In the end, we can see that what we believed to be important was not really.
Researchers did an experiment that was quite simple: looking at a white screen with several dots and, if a blue dot appeared, they should press a button and say "blue". This was done with hundreds of people at various universities.
Psychologists have called the research "prevalence-induced change of concept", but Mark Manson calls it the "Blue Dot Effect". Let's move on.
At the beginning, most of the dots were actually blue and people were right about which ones were blue.
However, after a certain moment, the researchers started to decrease the amount of blue numbers and people started to see blue dots where they didn't have them.
Then, the researchers changed the experiment. People were now shown pictures of three different types of faces: friendly, neutral and threatening. As in the previous experiment, aggressive faces, in the beginning, were the majority and were gradually reduced.
Guess what? Yes, people started to judge friendly and neutral faces as threatening.
The experiment is a way of estimating how we, human beings, modify perception so that it fits within expectations. Just as it seemed to have an expected number of blue dots, it also seemed to have an expected number of threatening faces.
The researchers decided to do one more experiment, this time with job offers: some unethical, others normal and some more attractive. But the result was exactly the same.
The "Blue Dot Effect" points out that, basically, the more we search, the more we find threats, no matter how comfortable or safe the environment is. This is what happens in today's world.
The better things become, the more we notice dangers where they don't exist, and the more unbalanced we become. And that is the essence of the progress paradox.
In "Emotional Intelligence", Daniel Goleman says that our feelings are present in 100% of our daily lives, after all we are susceptible to emotions. They generate impulses that affect from the senses of our body to the actions taken.
Those who are dominated by emotions, and do not dominate them, can have their cognitive capacity easily nullified.
In "The Super-Human Age", Paula Marques and Ricardo Cayolla share the idea that human beings make decisions using the emotional side, as they are emotional and end up being driven by impulses.
When everything is going too fast, maybe it is time to stop and think about the decisions we are making and our life.
Finally, in "The Power of Habit", author Charles Duhigg argues that people can use all anxiety for better end. For example, if you value endorphins in the race, your routine of running every morning can become an automatic cycle of habits.
Perhaps you have started reading the book "Everything Is F*cked" in search of a little hope, a certain guarantee that things will get better. I'm sorry, but I don't have that kind of answer. In fact, no one has.
Especially because if all of our problems were magically solved, our mind would still identify the problems of the future. So instead of going after hope, try this: don't have hope. Much less despair.
In reality, don't assume that you know anything. It is this illusion of knowing something with such a blind, fervent and emotional conviction that puts us in conflict. Just try to be the best version of yourself. Be better, kinder, stronger, more disciplined, humbler.
Do not "be more human", but be a better human. And so, one day we will become more of humans.
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