Mark Manson (@iammarkmanson) is a blogger, entrepreneur, and author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life and his latest, Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope.
What We Discuss with Mark Manson:
- How acknowledging the uncomfortable truth of human existence’s meaninglessness can ultimately serve as an argument against nihilism.
- What the paradox of purpose tells us about the stress that accompanies an overwhelming abundance of choice.
- How the feeling brain and the thinking brain might seem at odds, but they actually conspire to guide our values (for better or worse).
- Why your identity will stay your identity until a new experience acts against it, and how you can change your values to fit your current narrative instead of one that’s outdated.
- What the God value is and how it aligns your hierarchy of values by way of the feeling brain.
- And much more…
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Our feelings control us: the thinking brain and the feeling brain, seemingly forever at odds with one another. Rationality used to be the highest of human virtues; now it seems the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Many of us are convinced that our feelings are all that matter, and this thought trap lodges us firmly into a quagmire where we get stuck in one identity, unable to see past our own values and impulses.
The problem is that we puny humans actually need this conflict of values to derive meaning — and a lot of us have become too soft to cope with the dichotomy, which steers us directly toward a crisis of meaning. In this episode, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life and Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope author Mark Manson joins us to discuss the research behind this phenomenon and what we can do about it to correct course. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes and Featured Resources!
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More About This Show
Even after the unexpected success of his first book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, Mark Manson didn’t want to write the same book twice. Contrary to the f-bomb’s prominent placement in the title of each, Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope is a different tome altogether.
“F*ck is just such a bold, gaudy, ugly, in-your-face word,” says Mark. “But when you have The Subtle Art, it makes you chuckle; I went for the same thing with this. We all seem to feel like everything in the world is f*cked right now, so it’s a book about hope!”
Beginning with cheery stories about the Auschwitz concentration camp and postwar communist Poland, and concluding with the idea that human existence is meaningless, it’s reasonable for a prospective reader to wonder where hope enters the equation.
“Ultimately, this is a book that argues against nihilism,” says Mark. “I feel like there’s a lot of nihilism or nihilistic tendencies growing in our culture…and I think, as a result, we have a lot of crises of meaning, a lot of crises of hope that happen.
“My take with the book, I did two things: one, I started with the Auschwitz story. I did that intentionally because I want to set the stage for the rest of the book. People are coming to this book, they’re probably buying it because they’re really upset about something they saw on Twitter, and I immediately want to give perspective. ‘Hey, I know you’re really upset that what’s-his-face went to trial and didn’t get convicted or whatever, but here’s a guy who was in Auschwitz — and by the way, six million people were murdered.’ Set the stage: All right, everybody chill out.
“From there, the first thing I introduce is the uncomfortable truth, which is this fact of life that in the grand scheme of everything we know about the universe, everything we know about the world, we are so tiny and insignificant, each of our actions and behaviors are so tiny and insignificant…that it’s really difficult to ignore the fact that whatever we do with our lives is probably not going to have any consequence.”
But rather than taking up this uncomfortable truth as a banner to nihilism, Mark contends that we should use it as a reminder to develop a sense of value and importance to pursue.
Still, we should be cautious of moving the needle so far in the other direction that we experience a paradox of purpose — convincing ourselves that this sense of value and purpose is all that matters, becoming all the more encompassing as we achieve more.
“If you’re a subsistence farmer in India, that purpose that you have in your life of what a better future is, it’s really simple and obvious: ‘I just need to grow more food and things will get better.’ And that gets you up every day. There’s no ambiguity around that. But then once you have a society with tons of opportunities and you’ve got all this education, and there’s 18 different career paths you can choose from and you’re connected to 2,000 people on social media who you’re constantly interacting with, suddenly those visions of what a better future could be get very murky and confusing. And a lot of us give up, essentially.”
So do we stare into the eternal void of nothingness with a growing sense of dread, or do we succumb to mo problems foisted upon us by mo money (and mo purpose)? Perhaps somewhere right in the middle is the balance we should seek. But what do we do if we’re already a part of the complex modern world and the simple life of subsistence farming is no longer an option? Listen to this episode in its entirety to find out!
THANKS, MARK MANSON!
If you enjoyed this session with Mark Manson, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
- Mark Manson’s Website
- Mark Manson at Instagram
- Mark Manson at Facebook
- Mark Manson at Twitter
- “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?” Steve Buscemi, 30 Rock
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Jordan B. Peterson, Real Time with Bill Maher
- Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum
- History of Poland (1945–1989), Wikipedia
- Nihilism, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- The Uncomfortable Truth by Mark Manson
- Plato, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
- Titus Lucretius Carus, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- On the Nature of Things by Lucretius, The Internet Classics Archive
- The Easterlin Paradox by Prateek Agarwal, Intelligent Economist
- “Who the F*ck Am I?”: The Ultimate Guide to Personal Values by Mark Manson
- Models: Attract Women Through Honesty by Mark Manson
- What’s Wrong with The Secret by Brian Dunning, Skeptoid Podcast
- Golden Handcuffs, Investopedia
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Stephen King at Twitter
- J.K. Rowling at Twitter
- Blue Dots Color Our Thoughts by Chuck Dinerstein, American Council on Science and Health
- Duty Calls, xkcd