Published: Jan 3, 2017 12:00:00 PM


Confidence was robbed from people in 2016. It was either taken or renamed, likely by a political issue, or an issue that was conscripted into politics.

So much doom. Doom is terrifying. Doom is over. 2016 is over.

Doubt the competition at every turn because that competition is over. Now is the time to kill 2016 dead and reclaim confidence from a planet of bad news.

/// Why was 2016 all bad news?

You want to know what's unhealthy? Gripping a metal relic that grants bad wishes. Weird creatures roam social media to pick over the toxic ribcage of creation and feed on colored scraps and energy usually found inside dead stars. You won't find hope, or life, or confidence in humanity in a newsfeed because you are not searching for it.

Even your own curated Twitter community is calculated to bring you something in particular. It is a bespoke misery loom, just for you.

But the real world is not particular. The real world is closer to randomness than the news feed you built, the same feed that wrecks your emotional state. That's the crux.

Imagine your mind as a city. You've built this fortressesed city state to welcome in external minds of all types, each with an intended purpose. These are your news sources and followed accounts, like little messengers carrying in word from the outside world. You sit on a modest throne to hear the news. You do it a bunch of times each day, welcoming each messengers.

You bring in friends. You bring in news about your favorite interests. But you also invite in the opposite-colored ghosts. In all their WRONG-ness and OTHER-ness from you, these opposite-colored ghosts remind you how sturdy your fortress is. Their difference is your brick and mortar.

But they're just ghosts. Not only can they not harm you, they make you stronger.

Somehow, most of these messengers in 2016 were ghosts carrying bad news. By that logic, the entire countryside beyond your mind, beyond your city, beyond your walls, must be scorched with dragon fire and salt, right?

An alternate theory: you're addicted to our own misery and armchair humanitarianism. You've created a convenient landscape where so much bad news surrounds you that you've every excuse to not do a damn thing about it, considering the only arrow in your quiver is to fire back your own tweet into the distance, quick to vanish like cigarette ash. You're a child-god with one hundred eyes but without the magic to mend this reality's ills. You only let in confusion and misunderstanding. That endorphin rush and sadness becomes your reality.

Not to get too biblical, but that was literally the Lucifer's issue. He chose narrowed vision over effort and understanding. He limited his influences and information channels.

Is it too much to mention the literal Christian devil and Twitter's potential wickedness in the same breath? You decide.

// How do you regain confidence in the new year?

How do you think? From a very high level, you can tie it back to two commands:

  • Recognizing what you can and cannot control
  • Playing the long game

It isn't the spectre of instant gratification back to rear its ugly head. This is recognizing that national and global issues that poison your social feed and yellow your blood are gargantuan and incomprehensible without thorough vision. It's time to start playing the long game.

That's a brutal request to those drastically upset by an aging conservative force seizing power—the young and the weary will be crushed most of all. It's asking too much of people that have already been damned to carry too much weight. But it may be the only thing in your control at the moment.

Certain people may say you can't make plans right now because the future is uncertain. That isn't wrong, either. This means you must develop your contingencies. While you will hope and pray it doesn't come down to plans D, E, and F, of course, if you devise routes to even those backup-of-a-backup plan, then you still control your own destiny. That's all you want, right? A modicum of control over how you live?

/ What will happen in 2017?

A lot of hard work. Pressure will be thrust upon the undeserving.

Leisurely assholes will skate on silver blades. They will be propped up by propaganda. Their critics will be accused of either being too intelligent or too stupid, but in any case, they'll get what's coming to them, because they aren't playing for the wining team, man, and that's their own fault.

Rational thought will be dismissed in favor of brutal theatrics.

Responding to the divide in human thinking with the same viciousness that cut the mind apart will be branded as gaslighting.

There are only two parties. You'll be led to believe there are only two paths, increasingly separate.

The best move now is to dismiss the game because that's what it's become. That conversation is now fat with maggots, so why would you keep taking spoonfuls? Eject yourself from facelessness in 2017. Do not engage any conversation, online, or otherwise, that you can't learn from. If you can manage it, be your own self in all settings—the self with the long-range goals, remember?

Aim to teach, not to correct. Recruit minds. Stop playing this professional-wrestling persona that crows recitations from corporate script-writers.

-- Alex Crumb
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