A fictitious self-inflected psychological disease that results in periods of extreme indecision, bouts of social anxiety, and lost opportunities at normal life experiences. Normally, patients are found to be within the ages of 18-25, originate from an upper middle-class socioeconomic background, and have steady access to droves of unnecessary information.
"Michael was troubled by the idea that his friend Pat would openly help him with this economics project so close to the deadline when Pat had clearly finished his own project beforehand. Perhaps this was Pat’s genuine affectatious side that Michael was always suspect of: that Patrick was only helping him (Michael) to subtly exert his intellectual superiority; that perhaps Pat ‘got off’ on lending aid to others purely for his own ego-fueled motivations. These struggles of finding genuineness, authenticity, or credibility were always lost on Michael, who, inadvertently, was finding himself equally as lost. It would take Michael an unfortunate number of years before finally being diagnosed with a fake psychological deficiency called ‘Paralysis by Analysis’”
Welcome to the inception of what I truly expect to be the tragic downfall of my character. It has taken a good chunk of time for me to get to this physical position of actually typing these words, so I will do my best to make this introduction as coherent, funny, informative, and short as possible. However, I will warn you now that this piece is doomed to be infected with countless digressions that (I hope) should add to the overall clarity behind whatever this is suppose to be. I will probably employ a lot of asides to compensate for my anxiety about having my words be completely understood (which will not even be necessary because you’re most likely a very capable human being and my over-indulgence in self-clarification is my problem, not yours) in an effort to make the inner workings of my mind be as cogent as possible. So let’s start:
Paralysis by Analysis (PbA) has been in the works for the better part of two years (by “in the works” I mean that no real work has been done on it up until very moment you may be reading this) As the name and very fake DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) definition would suggest, I tend to think about stuff a little too much, sometimes. Even sitting here typing these words has put my mind in a free fall of trying to figure out how to incorporate all that I would love to say without having you Control-T a new tab to check your Facebook. But then I realized that trying to convey everything I’d wish to say on why I’m creating PbA in this singular piece would be a little nearsighted. After rewriting, deleting, and abandoning large portions of material, I thought it would be best to deliver a more condensed version of what I narrowed down to seven core truths that follow as such:
Over-consumption in lieu of digestion
Blind ignorance of my personal beliefs/habits
Fear of stagnation
A need to truly communicate my thoughts and testing my ability to do so
Inadequacy of friendships/social interactions
Finding cohesion in interests
Making myself uncomfortable
So that’s great and all Adam, but enough with the justification of something you still haven’t explained yet. What is this shit?
Right, well PbA is going to be my foray into producing original honest content, which will take shape in a couple different forms. The first will be start of podcast. A podcast in which I will travel the country (both home and afar) to go and “interview” some of the great people I’ve had the chance to come in contact with in my twenty-two years. People, friends, acquaintances, folks who respond to the Craigslist ad (joking) under the “Men Seeking Anything” tab (not joking). A good portion of my modern experiences with social interactions thus far has primarily revolved around pleasure-guided attempts at socializing. Coupled with this, a combination of alcohol, Top 40’s playlists, and low expectations. I’ve actively participated in such events, even enjoying a good amount of it for a short while, but over time I began to develop a growing sense of emptiness, of disliking the routine and charade of interacting with people in the same manner over and over again. The dread of performing small talk with others was enough to make me run for the door. Alongside all this, I began consuming large portions of a relatively new form of media, which harkens back to the days of boring talk-radio, but with people that I genuinely admired and wanted nothing more than to absorb all they had to say. This new media is podcasts and these people are comedians. The format of the podcasts that appealed to me most were always simple in design; often times just two people having real engaging, enlightening, and hilarious conversations that happened to be recorded in the process. The world of stand-up comedy and the concept of “funny”, and it’s relation to pain and suffering, has taken root in my foundation as a person. It’s hard for me to go through a day without thinking up dumb jokes, or to find new ways to get a laugh out of someone (often times at the expense of others). Therefore, the format of this whole thing is meant to be informal, casual, and hopefully funny. Simply put it will be you, me, and two expensive microphones that have been sitting on my shelf for over a year. Whether you’re in California, Texas, or Connecticut I will be ready to make these excursions all in the effort of having a chat. Hopefully I quite long one at that.
Getting back to the point, the podcast is my chance to develop and maintain real connections with people in spite of the fear of walking into my twenty’s, thirty’s, etc. having felt I missed the opportunity to. However, it’s not entirely up to me whether this succeeds (whatever ‘succeeding’ would mean in this case) because as much as I’m offering myself on this proverbial platter, I’m putting my money on the hopes of you, the reader, actually being slightly crazy enough to be interested in this. In speaking with a select few whom I’ve run the idea past, the reaction has been fairly positive and receptive. However, my goal for this project is to be able to maintain it for the entirety of 2014 (please don’t confuse this with a New Years resolution), and I’m hoping that for the few of you who may still be reading this soliloquy that it is in fact tempting. And if so, to please drop my line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/extempor (Sorry, I feel the need to clarify this word “extempor”: simply put, it’s just one of my favorite words “extemporaneous”, meaning to speak without preparation, sliced in half). I will begin reaching out to those few who expressed interest and that I feel would be great examples of what I’m trying to achieve with this whole idea, but again if you have the slightest inkling of curiosity in participating in this do not hesitate (I’ve already done enough hesitating in writing this fucking thing).
Secondly, alongside the release of the podcast, PbA is going to introduce weekly short stories written by your’s truly. This has been a big deal to me for quite some time having slowly grown into the world of literature and trying to dissect what it means to make good fiction. Essentially, this is me forcing myself to write on a weekly basis (at least 750 characters or more) to try and help organize my thoughts into prose. As you have probably gathered thus far, I worry a great deal about being understood, and to somehow be able to transcribe all this abstract intangible musings into something real and relatable for others is paramount to me. In my day-to-day I’ve grown too accustomed to the constant consumption of really great media and original content, but have left myself no time to sit back and account for anything that I may have learned. It’s difficult knowing that the feeds will always be updating; the articles, videos, pictures persistently being posted, reblogged, shared and then slowly lost to the noise. But my hope is that both the writing and the conversing will somehow supplement each other and coalesce into this full court press of serious diligent work.
So, welcome to Paralysis by Analysis and please be sure to check in if you feel like it. I hope to hear from you soon
A properly done mash-up is one of my favoritest things in the world. It also is one of the reasons that mp3s, at least for me, are still relevant. If it can’t be found on spotify then I want a digital copy on my iphone or laptop.
“Yesterday when a friend was all, “Oh my God, have you seen the Kanye video?” I was like, no, I don’t care about the Kanye video and I feel as if it is one of the few signal achievements in my career, if we want to call it that, that I have somehow gotten myself into a position where I don’t need to have an opinion about the Kanye video, and, more importantly, no one really needs to have an opinion about the Kanye video, the fact that you are going to watch something that is widely acknowledged to be terrible—the fact that you are going to watch something and hope while you watch that it is exactly as terrible as widely acknowledged—so that you can be a part of the “conversation,” which is just an empty and ridiculous exchange of self-important jack-offs trying to speak as loudly as possible so that they can drown out the inner voice that tells them just how shockingly bereft of value their own lives are as they careen towards oblivion, is a remarkable indictment of the vacuous, hollow pit we confuse with culture these days. You don’t have to watch ANYTHING, and the less you say about something the smarter you are. Good Lord, people, listen to yourselves, if you can even stand it, it’s horrifying. (I had switched to the second person plural at this point because my friend, having heard so many variations of this monologue already, had long since wandered off.) Anyway, that was before I saw this Bob Dylan video, which is really something. And I say this as someone who doesn’t go in for the concept of “interactive” at all. It’s pretty neat!”—
“Well. Whether I’ve met you or not—young person—my observation is that you are probably not as screwed up as you think you are. And even if you are screwed up, it’s time to start acting like you’re not. Give yourself a little bit of a break and let yourself have some dignity. Hold your head up and act as though you’re capable of something better than what you have. There is so much negative self-talk that we do to keep ourselves feeling terrible about everything. Sometimes it can be helpful hearing a dork like me talk about this, but sometimes it can be helpful to talk about it with your friends and discover what horizons are out there that you may not even be aware of. It’s about having a strange combination of high expectations for yourself, but for the things you’re capable of doing. It’s kind of unreasonable for you to have high expectations about things that you have no business even trying, for example: “I’m mad at myself because I tried to run a marathon today and it didn’t work out.” There’s no reason to think that you would be able to do something that other people have spent years preparing for. It’s not realistic, yet you beat yourself up about it, so then you feel incapable of doing other things. Go a little easier on yourself, and in so doing, be prepared to make and do things that might seem silly at first. Just keep moving: don’t ruminate and stare at the wall. Don’t just play with your phone: go out and produce something. Also, take a walk and get out of the house. Just un-pot yourself a little bit. Put yourself into a different environment where you don’t have to be the person who feels bad about themselves.”
Like having to be able to say to yourself, ‘I am pretending to sit here reading Albert Camus’s The Fall for the Literature of Alienation midterm, but actually I’m really concentrating on listening to Steve try to impress this girl over the phone, and I am feeling embarrassment and contempt for him, and am thinking he’s a poser, and at the same time I am also uncomfortably aware of times that I’ve also tried to project the idea of myself as hip and cynical so as to impress someone, meaning that not only do I sort of dislike Steve, which in all honesty I do, but part of the reason I dislike him is that when I listen to him on the phone it makes me see similarities and realize things about myself that embarrass me, but I don’t know how to quit doing them—like, if I quit trying to seem nihilistic, even just to myself, then what would happen, what would I be like?
So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two. I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind. Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things. What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance. And all music is.
“The truth is that the heroism of your childhood entertainments was not true valor. It was theatre. The grand gesture, the moment of choice, the mortal danger, the external foe, the climactic battle whose outcome resolves all–all designed to appear heroic, to excite and gratify an audience. Gentlemen, welcome to the world of reality–there is no audience. No one to applaud, to admire. No one to see you. Do you understand? Here is the truth–actual heroism receives no ovation, entertains no one. No one queues up to see it. No one is interested.
… True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care — with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world.”—The Pale King, David Foster Wallace (via man-of-prose)
New York synth pop duo, MS MR, does a sort of languid and dreamy lounge version of LCD Soundsystem's “Dance Yrself Clean”. The effect is certainly charming as all hell. Especially the back-end when the track picks up and shifts into a shimmering new wave jam.
Yes yes yes yes yes. Check out their album as well.
“You can probably expect that somebody who’s willing to read and read hard a thousand-page book is gonna be somebody with some loneliness issues. Or somebody who’s looking, somebody like me or perhaps like you, who isn’t always able to get the sense of intimacy they need. You know, in regular day-to-day intercourse.”—David Foster Wallace, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself (via urlascandalose)
“If you’re going to try not just to depict the way a culture’s bound and defined by mediated gratification and image, but somehow to redeem it, or at least fight a rearguard against it, then what you’re going to be doing is paradoxical. You’re at once allowing the reader to sort of escape self by achieving some sort of identification with another human psyche — the writer’s, or some character’s, etc. — and you’re also trying to antagonize the reader’s intuition that she is a self, that she is alone and going to die alone. You’re trying somehow both to deny and affirm that the writer is over here with his agenda while the reader’s over there with her agenda, distinct. This paradox is what makes good fiction sort of magical, I think. The paradox can’t be resolved, but it can somehow be mediated — “re-mediated,” since this is probably where poststructuralism rears its head for me — by the fact that language and linguistic intercourse is, in and of itself, redeeming, remedying.”—David Foster Wallace on writing, death, and redemption (via explore-blog)
You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. That’s being a person. Because underneath everything in your life there is that thing, that empty—forever empty. That knowledge that it’s all for nothing and that you’re alone. It’s down there.
And sometimes when things clear away, you’re not watching anything, you’re in your car, and you start going, ‘oh no, here it comes. That I’m alone.’ It starts to visit on you. Just this sadness. Life is tremendously sad, just by being in it…
That’s why we text and drive. I look around, pretty much 100 percent of the people driving are texting. And they’re killing, everybody’s murdering each other with their cars. But people are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.
And I go, ‘oh, I’m getting sad, gotta get the phone and write “hi” to like 50 people’…then I said, ‘you know what, don’t. Just be sad. Just let the sadness, stand in the way of it, and let it hit you like a truck.’
And I let it come, and I just started to feel ‘oh my God,’and I pulled over and I just cried like a bitch. I cried so much. And it was beautiful. Sadness is poetic. You’re lucky to live sad moments.
And then I had happy feelings. Because when you let yourself feel sad, your body has antibodies, it has happiness that comes rushing in to meet the sadness. So I was grateful to feel sad, and then I met it with true, profound happiness.
“What was interesting about those conversations, I found, was that most people were probing me for my permission to be unhappy with their own lives, and for a vote of confidence that they could make a change. If there’s one thing that’s surprised me these past few months, it’s how often people struggle to admit they’re unhappy with something unless that thing is objectively, undeniably terrible. Sometimes, things are perfectly fine and you still don’t want them. That’s OK.”—Cassie Marketos on quitting her job and leaving New York | Medium (via christinefriar)
Are some things still worth dying for? Is the American idea* one such thing? Are you up for a thought experiment? What if we chose to regard the 2,973 innocents killed in the atrocities of 9/11 not as victims but as democratic martyrs, “sacrifices on the altar of…