Life in the modern world tends to feel profoundly meaningless. I don’t know if any of you have ever been to a house party in Amsterdam, but I can tell you that with almost mathematical precision, you can expect to find three things there: A bunch of dudes, one or two girls who like to think of themselves as “one of the guys” and a table filled with lines of cocaine.
They’re going to be snorting the cocaine compulsively and then after that they’re going to try to hold some sort of conversation with you or with others. They’re too far gone to hold a conversation, the combination of alcohol and cocaine dramatically reduces the degree of complexity of the ideas your brain can entertain, but they’re nonetheless going to try. Or worse, they’re going to ask you extremely broad and unspecific questions, in an effort to get you to start rambling so they have something to listen to.
I’m increasingly entertaining the hypothesis that parties in Amsterdam serve as a façade for people who want to live under the impression that they don’t have a substance abuse disorder. After all, from high school onwards you learn through social reinforcement that the saddest thing possible is to take drugs on your own. And yet, if you have an urge every weekend to take cocaine but manage to gather a bunch of other aspiring lawyers and accountants who have the same urge, you can think of it as not too overly dysfunctional.
That’s probably part of the reason I like Lil Peep, because he took that whole problem to its natural conclusion, to the degree I sometimes find myself wondering “is this guy being post-ironic or not”. When you give up on the illusion that you can do something meaningful with your life that is genuinely going to contribute to society, Lil Peep mentions every problem you’re going to run into: Drug addiction, spending a whole week wearing the same jeans, girls you’re stuck playing endless mindgames with because you both realize you’re completely replaceable to each other, andsoforth. His entire career could be thought of as a giant suicide note.
Life sucks if you’re a young man and you’re either profoundly ugly or very short. But if like me, you’re average looking and (somewhat unlike me) you can muster the effort to consistently take good care of your appearance then you can probably meet girls, if you occasionally get invited to parties or can bring up the effort to install some dating app.
Unfortunately, that isn’t going to address the problem that almost everyone you encounter feels profoundly the same and profoundly boring. Every girl loves to travel and has to show off where she has been, every girl has that birthday party photo of a balloon that says her age, every girl has that photo of her with some friends at a festival.
I wish people would give me something real when I talk to them. Be autistic, say something that’s going to alienate 90% of people, let me know you’re not just another P-zombie, show me that you’re flawed. Tell me you smoke Salvia, tell me the gas chambers were a hoax, tell me you’re into writing Hetalia fanfiction for other girls to rub their beans to, tell me you’re a taxidermist, tell me you’re 27, living with your parents, unemployed, not attending college and proud of yourself when you manage to wake up before 11 AM.
Even Christian girls are rather boring, because they generally have a peculiar obsession with properly following the rules, instead of realizing that Jesus was a kind man who empathized with people society looked down upon and threw wild parties because he thought the end of the world was imminent and got in trouble with the Pharisees because he constantly kept breaking the rules.
I don’t claim that I completely understand what Jesus meant, but I personally just don’t understand how people can believe that he is going to care a lot about what the priest is wearing or what language mass is held in, or whether an eleven year old girl who was raped by her step-father received an abortion with the help of a nun.
I also don’t think Jesus asks of us to LARP the 19th century and dress like you’re a fancy British aristocrat. I like Jesus, but not because he’s the central anchor of a complex system of rules invented by people over 2000 years. In my experience that’s the perfect way to alienate everyone, both secular people to whom Jesus means nothing and most Christians who painstakingly try to capture Him in a dogmatic system.
Some of this is of course also just a consequence of me being an old man. At age twenty it was easier to expose my brain to something new than it is today at age thirty. But I can’t escape the suspicion that everyone is becoming profoundly boring. Some of it might be due to social media algorithms. It’s probably a good idea not to visit Reddit unless you absolutely have to and not to browse Facebook meme pages.
And this is a two way street of course. The world is filled with young men like me, who like to take psychedelics and have opinions on stocks and cryptocurrency. Everyone is boring, including me. I’m still quite proud of my Salvia cutting and I will take good care of it, but I’m mostly hoping to hang up the phone and work with the message, developing new interests that don’t earn me money and don’t involve directly altering my own neurochemistry.