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Guest Post: The Benefits of Being Ordinary

Tyler Durden's picture


Via Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Being extraordinary is a terrific bother, truth be told, so please appreciate the benefits of ordinariness if you are so blessed.

Every hour of every day, we are persuaded that the benefits of being extraordinary in some way are equally extraordinary. This has two propaganda components:
1. If you buy this product or service (touted by An Extraordinary Person), you will feel the vicarious thrill of acting/looking like you're extraordinary.
2. Our society is a meritocracy, blah blah blah; if you are naturally talented/bright and if you make extraordinary efforts, you might rise above mere ordinary and start accruing all those fabulous benefits reserved for the extraordinary.
What if these benefits aren't as wonderful as advertised? That would hurt sales and the drive of those who bought into the meritocracy claim.
Let's start with those glorified twins, fame and fortune. Fame is actually a huge bother. You have to be polite to strangers or risk your sour rejection of fans being spread over the Web in short order. You find that acclaim wears thin very quickly on multiple levels: any comment might be taken out of context and used to undermine your claim to extraordinariness, and your human foibles are trumpeted as weaknesses.
People seek some sort of ethical-spiritual perfection in the famous, as if being extraordinary in some field automatically elevates a person to sainthood.
The demands made on your time and attention cannot possibly be met; all the world's a stage, and you are constantly "on." While the morbidly insecure come to depend on this diet of public adoration, those with any shred of inner security soon find the whole "fame thing" tiresome.
As for fortune: your focus shifts from reveling in wealth to worrying about protecting it. The average person has a "wish list" of stuff they would buy with a fortune: fancy autos, homes, tropical islands, etc. But all of these properties require maintenance, and so you become a manager--unless you hire a manager, which then opens you up to being ripped off or defrauded. (The list of actors, sports celebrities and rock stars whose wealth has vanished in dubious "investments" and outright fraud is long indeed.)
After you've spent whatever can be spent, then you have to concern yourself with capital preservation, and in this volatile world that is a major source of anxiety. No wonder so many lottery winners end up broke a few years after their big windfall: the constant appeals for cash and the hassles of managing wealth become too much, and squandering it is the only way to return to a sane, less anxious life.
Or your $300 million dwindles to $5 million, and the loss deranges you to the point you shoot disruptive neighbors or otherwise snap. Many a dot-com millionaire is haunted by what they didn't do with their brief but glorious wealth.
Now for the benefits of being ordinary. The temptations to stray are few for the ordinary; those of us with ordinary looks, brains, talent and wealth are not beset with the temptations of impossibly beautiful women/handsome men, nor do dealers approach us with offers of cocaine or other costly illegal substances. No one is willing to give themselves to us for access to our power, because we have no power beyond that residing in our bodies and souls.
Lacking power and prestige, we are not tempted to lie to protect our power and prestige.
Since everything we own is also ordinary, there isn't much worth stealing (except if we own older-model Japanese cars that are worth more in parts than as whole vehicles), so ordinary security measures are sufficient.
As ordinary people, nobody expects extraordinary results or behaviors from us. Expectations of us are also ordinary, which means that good work and politeness will go a long way to meet or exceed expectations.
The extraordinary, unfortunately, are constantly beset by expectations that are impossible to consistently meet. For example, if you are a top concert pianist, critics will be listening for any slight weakness in your performance, not just compared to others but to your past performances.
If a money manager generates extraordinary returns one year, he is expected to meet or best that return the following year, and so on, until he quits or expires.
Your very extraordinariness becomes a liability or a weapon used against you.
Trying to do extraordinary things is often dangerous, for example, snowboarding Denali. Mistakes can cost you your life at this level. Even in "safe" endeavors, any failure is potentially sufficient to ruin your career.
Thus academics without tenure must obsess over backstabbing rivals in the department or the "graduate student from Hell" whose parent happens to be a powerful, well-connected dean at a top university.
Those seeking extraordinary standing, position, accomplishment, recognition or returns are exposed to soul-numbing burdens and pressures as those chasing the same rarefied position will stop at nothing to undermine you or increase their chances by lowering yours.
The ordinary have no such worries. We tend to have jobs nobody wants badly enough to plot against us.
The extraordinary must maintain high internal standards that sap the joy from life. Music loses its fun-factor when your internal standards are necessarily performance-level. If nothing less than the corner office and a partnership will do, then life becomes a vacuous treadmill of overwork and anxiety about falling short.
The ordinary have far fewer such worries. Music remains a joy because advancement from a low level is rewarding, and the freedom from impossible job pressures is true freedom.
As you may have noticed, I am ordinary/average in every way, with the one exception being the quantity of words I disgorge on an annual basis. I am not sure this is something to brag about, as it may well be evidence of an unhealthy imbalance somewhere in my jumbled mind.
Otherwise I am blissfully ordinary in all other things: wealth (modest), looks (ditto), power (none), athletic ability (near-zero), musical ability (ditto), talent at learning foreign languages (ditto), stock trading ability (sub-average, constantly beaten by a monkey throwing darts), spiritual attainment (none), author (minimal sales) and so on. Everything I own is also ordinary, and the best thing I own (the Les Paul guitar) is just a production model--nothing custom, rare or fancy.
Being extraordinary is a terrific bother, truth be told, so please appreciate the benefits of ordinariness if you are so blessed. 

My new book Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It is now available in print and Kindle editions--10% to 20% discounts.


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Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:50 | 3024144 Spastica Rex
Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:58 | 3024183 mac768
mac768's picture

Fuck the maniac happiness machines and just say no

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:10 | 3024218 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

The truth about wealth, success and happiness is that some people have it, and some don’t. Libertarians cling to the idea that people can influence their circumstances by exercising choice over their thoughts and actions. But this completely misses the fact that most people simply cannot exercise control over their actions. Some people just need to get stuff without having to work for it. Consider a homeless person who is crippled and has brain damage ... how do libertarians expect this person to help himself? Now that I’ve demonstrated my point, I think it’s fair to put the majority of people in this category. There is no 'personal responsibility' - it's just a myth used to make ordinary people feel guilty. Also, there are no universal principles and there is no such thing as truth. Purist libertarians are far too simplistic, which is why they manage to get everything completely wrong.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:13 | 3024235 Itch
Itch's picture

Dont muddy the waters by bringing libitards into it, dont be such a cunt.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:22 | 3024280 CH1
CH1's picture

You guys get it that MDB is 100% sarcasm, all the time, right?

Not my preference, but so it is.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:25 | 3024293 Itch
Itch's picture

Trust me, MDB is always a joke with a jag. 

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:00 | 3024432 Real Estate Geek
Real Estate Geek's picture

That's not the real MDB (see underscore appended to MDB name)

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:12 | 3024489 MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

I've always had an underscore. Search my profile if you don't believe me. It appears I've created such cognitive dissidence with my criticism of the flaws of libertarian purism, that doomer ZHers have simply run out of arguments. 

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:17 | 3024750 El Viejo
El Viejo's picture

Life is like a box of chocolats ...

Sun, 12/09/2012 - 15:39 | 3047199 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

It was ALIENS... As some ancient econonaut scholars theorize...

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:14 | 3024246 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

So you want to starve one family in order to feed another?  Good luck with that.  Not very familiar with the laws of Nature are you? Sorry, I'll be betting on Nature troll.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:21 | 3024273 Blammo
Blammo's picture

"Some people just need to get stuff without having to work for it. Consider a homeless person who is crippled and has brain damage ..."

Get a gig as a politician............problem solved..........

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:30 | 3024306 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

Crippled, you say? I got nailed one time for using that term. You of all people, MDB, should know the PC term is 'disabled' or better, 'ambulatorily-challenged.'

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:31 | 3024313 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

Enjoy this life you have and accept what you have. You may come back as a naked mole rat.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:33 | 3024324 CPL
CPL's picture

Binary decisions always seem attractive until examined and scrutinized.


As far as the semi retarded and crippled hobo, in a libertarian environment they would die.  Just like they do now with a social safety net.  The reality is their life expectancy is already limited, their contribution to society is nil except as reforcement to GDP in a government program somewhere.  Unless you are suggesting that we adopt hobo's as house pets? 

...Reminds me of the bible humpers at Church, they are so very much against abortion in every way shape or form.  Mention that they should be there with a catchers mitt for every unwanted pregnancy and take the unwanted MASS of children for the required 18 years.  Well, it shuts them up pretty quickly. 

People want to put their energy and money into something, let them.  Regulating someone's social responsibility is a bit much.

I am not my brother's keeper.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:04 | 3024450 Cypher_73
Cypher_73's picture

Just me right? :D

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 20:52 | 3025567 CPL
CPL's picture

In a flash sparky, we'll grab Mum as well.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:29 | 3024555 formadesika3
formadesika3's picture

The great majority of homeless people are only temporarily homeless. The hardcore homeless are for the most part drug addicts which is another problem altogether.

The plight of homelessness was created by urban renewal in the 1960s. Before their flophouses and flea-bag hotels were eliminated in that era, they had affordable housing.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 20:52 | 3025536 CPL
CPL's picture


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 22:18 | 3025728 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

actually, it's that popular legal substance, alcohol, that puts many on the streets, and from there, the substance use climbs in order to numb that reality.  agreed on the "flophouses" though. . . gentrification from the 80's onward.

a search on Reagan Thatcher 1980's homeless mental institutions - that sheds some light on an agenda.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:43 | 3024350 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Hey my parents tell me I've been brain damaged since birth and I'm doing okay. That homeless slacker needs to get up off his ass, pull up his bootstraps,and get to work. I'm sure there is some roll he can fill. I hear the carnies are always looking for somebody to sit in the dunk tank.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:50 | 3024633 GAAPpreNixon
GAAPpreNixon's picture

Defining monetary wealth in terms of whether a person has it or not is ridiculous, infantile and rather transparent because it is simply predicated to produce envy.

In the old book "Robinson Crusoe" by Defoe, the protagonist's father counsels  him about the blessings of being ordinary in exactly the same way the above EXCELLENT article does. It is a truth that rings with every decent human being.

There is no "problem" with being wealthy beyond the difficulty many have with perceiving it as it actually is, period.

An ordinary person can turn off concerns about money; a wealthy, like a poor person, cannot. If you can handle that, fine. But don't come here claiming wealth is the be all, end all of ambition and existence because the actuaries in health insurance corporations will calmly explain to you that you do not know what you are talking about.

Happiness and wealth do not correlate nor is wealth the main causative factor in happiness. Wealth is often the casue of family strife and unhappiness. This is the TRUTH screamed out from health insurance corporation stats.

But I do admit the hospital will treat you wealthy folks very nicely at your triple bypass operation.

Have a nice day.

Sun, 12/09/2012 - 15:34 | 3047194 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

For those too disabled to work, nature is clear: we let them die or we CHOOSE to make each one live on a case by case basis.

We can't afford to change evolution itself, forcing all workers to pay for all non-workers, or we'll have all non-workers then a system collapse.

It's unkind but it's more unkind to doom the entire species.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:01 | 3024191 CPL
CPL's picture

Get slack = profit

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:58 | 3024420 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

Live in the real world and work towards something meaningful, such as protecting our liberties and freedoms. You will have a much more fulfilled and thus happy life. It may not be the easy road although. So few will take it.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 17:37 | 3025083 Henry Chinaski
Henry Chinaski's picture

If you were born in a western civilized country in the last 60 years, you already won life's lottery.  Stop complaining and get what you can and enjoy it.  It doesn't hurt to fly below the radar, though.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:01 | 3024433 GraveyardSpiral
GraveyardSpiral's picture

I can't believe no one else posted this, I can't be the only one here THAT old.....can I, Bueller....Bueller....?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 20:57 | 3025583 sink critically
sink critically's picture

You are most assuredly not the only one here THAT old. I think Ol' Joe tried too hard to maintain his ordinary status, it's not his best work imneho (in my never ever humble opinion).

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 07:01 | 3026141 pufferfish
pufferfish's picture

Suberb, recomended watching for everyone...

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:51 | 3024151 1835jackson
1835jackson's picture

So what you are saying is it's better to be ordinary than exceptional? 

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:11 | 3024233 CH1
CH1's picture

Appear ordinary to the world; be exceptional to those you trust.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:59 | 3024153 Popo
Popo's picture

..which is why entire generations of American men have picked up their ball and gone home to play Xbox.   Why labor for the tax-regime?   The problem with the Soviet Union was that it wasn't worth it to get off your ass -- which is why the shelves in the supermarkets were bare.  The state provided for everyone regardless of contribution.  And in many cases it provided enormous amounts for political insiders.  The relationship between actual productivity and wealth became weaker and weaker.  The same is increasingly true for the USA, Japan and Europe.  The more the nanny state promises (and takes) the less incentive there is for anybody to do anything -- including reproduce.  And the more the parasitic elites destroy the relationship between actual productivity and earnings, the less incentive there is to play the game.   Who wants to play in a rigged match, anyway?    As the productive percentage of society shrinks,  the impossibility of sustainability grows and grows.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:59 | 3024187 Central Bankster
Central Bankster's picture

Completely agree. No incentives to save, get married, kids, or work beyond what I plan on consuming. The system is designed to steal from the young and default on them later.fuck this fascist system. 

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:10 | 3024477 edifice
edifice's picture

I'm still relatively young (mid-30s), and see absolutely no need to get married or have children; especially knowing what is coming down the road for this part of the world. Why would I want to bring someone into that?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:22 | 3024523 CH1
CH1's picture

There's a lot of shit in the world - for sure. But, don't let it stop you from living your life.

Kids are awesome, JUST DON'T RAISE THEM LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD DOES. That's what you want to protect them from. Life is good, even though the current ruled-world sucks.

So, don't play their game. Get separate, find a nice girl if that makes you happy, and have a kid or three if it makes the two of you happy.

But by all means get out of the Slave Game first.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:41 | 3024595 mc_LDN
mc_LDN's picture

If we're honest life for most on this planet is mostly bad and even if it is good relative to the others and if we live in the West we spend most of our life struggling with the idea of what others have and what we do not have. In a sense you could say it is worse and more difficult for this in the West because we are more blinded. Sure we convince ourselves were happy and dont need much but the reality is most of us are envious of our neighbours new car, amazing house, more attractive wife. The reality is were all attached to the idea of what were not and what we dont have for most of our lives and in flights of fancy yes we're happy. If we're brutal about it though we would throw off this materialsm utopia but thats the problem with being born into this world you have no hope from the moment youre born into it. Convincing ones self that a revolution of elites of all stripes is a grand and noble idea and it is needed to better balance the world right now but the reality is we need to realise that the seeds of destruction are in all of us and new revolutionary political models will not address this fact. The problem is a spiritual one not a political / hierachial one. It might takes us another 600 years to realise this. In the meantime getting out of the slave game is a good start :-)

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:27 | 3024545 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Edifice you may be missing the big picture As big as this whole drama is, the bottom line is (I think) you only get one shot at this so make the most of it. Besides if you were to have a child  (cue triumphant music) you can teach them the right ways and later on feel like you did some small part to help fix this shit.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:10 | 3024226 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Popo I agree with you that the masses are going to check out and sit on their ass. I actually think this creates an opportunity for anyone willing to break from that and bust their ass and become good at a skill or trade. I understand it's probably the equivelant of walking up an avalanche. But I remain hopeful.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:19 | 3024255 CH1
CH1's picture

An opportunity ONLY if you do it via the invisible economy, or offshore. Otherwise, you labor for the state.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:47 | 3024369 LostAtSea
LostAtSea's picture

But that would be extraordinary.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:20 | 3024272 Sextus Empiricus
Sextus Empiricus's picture

At some point, what if the system gets so corrupt you simply don't agree with working in it anymore?  Can't take any job without someone telling you how to walk, EXACTLY what to say, when to eat, when to piss, can't move up unless you're willing to work 16 hours a day, can't move up unless you engage in shady practices... Sometimes I just say, "Sorry, this isn't the world I was told about growing up.  I'd rather not take part."


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:43 | 3024347 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I don't think we are there yet. But at that point I feel pretty good that a lot of people on here would dust off their guns and put a hole in someone. I am not being funny or sarcastic either.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:45 | 3024357 Apocalicious
Apocalicious's picture


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 22:31 | 3025749 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture


.which is why entire generations of American men have picked up their ball and gone home to play Xbox

best excuse for cheetos fingers evah.  you really think the scores of men, from teens to their elders, have thought it all through and decided to be gamers?  guess that does play right into the demographics link:               see:  audience also likes.

gonna be a collective scream when the electric gets interrupted/disappears, and the mind-traps close.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:53 | 3024160 derek_vineyard
derek_vineyard's picture

boehner is an ordinary chain smoker and obama is an ordinary baller

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:54 | 3024162 Perdogg
Perdogg's picture

I don't want to be famous, I just want to be rich and have sex with a lot of women.



Fri, 11/30/2012 - 22:33 | 3025752 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture


roll a goblin on World of Warcraft.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:54 | 3024166 1835jackson
1835jackson's picture

Man I am so tired I barley managed to read this article now I am going to go away and have a wank


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:55 | 3024171 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture


So this assumes that every "ordinary" person lacks ambition and is perfectly resigned to not wanting to accomplish more? Not wanting to be remembered for something other than being compared to a door knob?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:57 | 3024176 Michelle
Michelle's picture

The sublimity of mediocrity, the new American dream.

Resigning oneself to this low expectation level IS the problem, that and being lazy.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:59 | 3024184 Da55id
Da55id's picture

ah - an extra - ordinary post :-)

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 13:59 | 3024185 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Being extraordinary begins within and can't be bought or stolen. The lie is that it can and all for only 72 easy payments of $583.71 each (options extra).

<False hope chains us to our abusers.>

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:06 | 3024695 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

Extra-ordinary is where it's at.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:04 | 3024198's picture

Tony Robbins couldn't have said it better himself.... I know I'm ordinary but will always try to be better

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:03 | 3024202 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

The most extraordinary people I know are the people who go out every day and try to make a difference, regardless of what is in their way. All the "extraordinary " people Charles mentioned are fun to watch, but I wouldn't want to be them.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 18:40 | 3025279 prains
prains's picture

exactly and the motivation is NEVER compensation, it's quality of life for those surrounding them. cheap chinese garbage does not fit their model of lifestyle.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:03 | 3024204 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

I'm sorry, but I guess I haven't beaten the "meritocracy" idea fully out of myself just yet.  I don't think I liked this article.

How about this instead..... be the best you that you can be every day and let the chip fall wherever they fall after that. 

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:06 | 3024212 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Simultaneous post of the same idea as Dr. Engali!  What are the chances?

BTW- I'm glad you see me as "extrordinary".  Means a lot to me.  ;)

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:03 | 3024205 Global Hunter
Global Hunter's picture

Strained my achilles the other night playing goalie in my living room by myself, imagining I was helping the Leafs win the cup! 

I haven't strained anything today being ordinary, lighting a fire, smoking cigarettes and drinking bourbon: acting like the antithesis of a professional athlete.  The author might be on to something :)

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:21 | 3024278 Metalredneck
Metalredneck's picture

You have made more of a contribution than any Leafs player this year.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:03 | 3024206 The Gooch
The Gooch's picture

That's it. I'm going bowling tonight.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:04 | 3024208 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

I have an extraordinary ability of achieving mediocrity

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:03 | 3024209 Mr Joshua
Mr Joshua's picture

Being extraordinary is a bother, as you describe, mostly because people use other peoples expectations, demands, and values as the measure of their success. Being extraordinary is a great thing so long as you understand your values and why you need them. When you don't live for your own pleasure, but to serve others, then being extraordinary just makes you a victim.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:06 | 3024214 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Never wanted to be famous or infamous. Being able to blend in a crowd will be useful during the impending zombie apocalypse.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:24 | 3024290 Mr. Hudson
Mr. Hudson's picture

Rich and famous people will be targets of crazy, angry people.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:07 | 3024217 Sextus Empiricus
Sextus Empiricus's picture

"Ordinary" if often extraordinary in other aspects. 

I started my own site.  I'm looking to parlay it into something bigger.  I don't care about the money I make.  I see the pattern of the world and I want to help the next generation in the intellectual battle against the out-of-control Skynet-State.  I get to teach my son everyday and be a tutor to him, like Aristotle to Alexander the Great.  I don't worry about anything and I don't press those worries onto my son, either.  I get to be an example to him, like a real man should.  I get to speak my mind on real issues and take part in the intellectual revolution, thanks to the Internet.  I'd say a lot of people think I'm UNDERordinary, but I think not.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:08 | 3024220 wingmann
wingmann's picture

My motto is...Less stress through lowered expectations.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:09 | 3024224 TNTARG
TNTARG's picture

ZH, tell us all about T590-10!


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:11 | 3024228 Itch
Itch's picture

Its all a pile of shite, you're all peasants. You’re all going die horrible lonely and meaningless deaths, and that’s just the nature of things; we exist only to satisfy the implied determinism of our biological and sociological constraints. Paradoxically, until you can accept this, you will always be a miserable twat taking it up the ass. Now pat yourself on the back for being a realist. 

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:15 | 3024250 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Maybe so.  But how you die isn't nearly as important as how you live.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:23 | 3024286 Itch
Itch's picture

Yak yak, you probably read that in a terminal illness pamphlet. How you live is as meaningless as how you die, and probably twice as absurd.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:50 | 3024634 SoNH80
SoNH80's picture

Well, nihilistic abandonment is one way to look at things.  I prefer the Golden Rule aka don't hurt anybody, and Carpe Diem, aka have some fun.

The pure egalitarianism of death is something to appreciate and take heed from, not obsess over.  Even the Henry Kissingers and Larry Summers of the world "plotz".


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:56 | 3024926 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

As unsettling as people might find your words, it happens to be correct.  It's actually pretty liberating.  As Joe Rogan put it, we're all bacteria.

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 04:35 | 3026099 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

I'd prefer to be a bacteriophage - they seem to have more fun, and many of them look pretty good too (from a SciFi viewpoint!)

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:29 | 3024303 CH1
CH1's picture

You learnt that from an educated person!

I can always tell: if man is portrayed as low, stupid, and hopeless, the idea came from someone at a university.

Y'all are SO brilliant. You make people feel stupid and powerless! That means you are really smart!

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:45 | 3024337 Itch
Itch's picture


If you take the phenomenon of coming down on the wrong side of an existential crisis as being smart, you are twice as stupid as you look. Its like thisnow that the basic struggle for food, shelter and resources has more or less plateaued in the west, people have more free time for introspection; this new freedom to explore the self leads many to a state of cosmic panic and existential angst. The only reason that depression rates are higher in developed countries is because of the free time individuals have to figure out that existence ultimately makes no sense,( i.e. they have more time to figure out how fucked they are), either through the brutal narcissistic capitalist narrative they have been propagandised with since birth, or through the beautifully dovetailed reductionism that science and modernism presents to them... lets not
even go into the bilge they are drip fed on a daily basis aka distraction.

They find out that life, and the self, is gibberish… and that can be the straw that breaks the camels back; many moons ago people did not have the chance to concern themselves with such matters, everything was clearly structured and straight forward, the spread of information was slow…and even if they were presented with such revelations, they would in all likelihood just call it intellectual nonsense. That’s how they remained "sane"; strength in ignorance. But no more mate, its off to the funny farm for you.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:08 | 3024469 CH1
CH1's picture

I fundamentally reject just about all of the above, but I'll just go to this:

this new freedom to explore the self leads many to a state of cosmic panic and existential angst.

And it would be impossible for them to conclude anything positive about themselves, rather than degenerating into angst?

Is it impossible for them to see unlimited potential in themselves? Impossible to see wonder and beauty and excellence?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:22 | 3024529 Itch
Itch's picture

If you arrive at anything other than angst you are a mentalist, and if you see unlimited potential, wonder, beauty and excellence in yourself you belong in an asylum along with all the other positive people.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:24 | 3024533 CH1
CH1's picture

God bless ya, sunshine!

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:29 | 3024554 Itch
Itch's picture

...Im kidding of course.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:12 | 3024231 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Ah the simple life...

"Live simply so others can simply live".

Reminds me of the curse of beauty, and fame.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:12 | 3024232 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

So when you are on the floor and a cop has his boot on your neck, its no one's problem. another benefit of being an ordinary.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:14 | 3024248 wingmann
wingmann's picture

I've done so little for so long,I am now able to do just about anything with nothing.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:15 | 3024249 hustler etiquette
hustler etiquette's picture

Pastor Maldonado - "As a sportsman you always want more. It is just like with money - you already have a lot but there is still the craving for more. I think the wanting more in sports is even stronger than the drive for more money - it is more addictive"


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:22 | 3024260 ForWhomTheTollBuilds
ForWhomTheTollBuilds's picture

I thought this article was going to be about trying to capture greatness through consumerism.


When I went from being a "poor" student to suddenly having a decent income, I started doing my shopping with an eye for quality so that I might now enjoy what I had been missing. What amazed me is how little quality there is in almost everything "high end".  

Didn't matter whether it was  toaster, a car, a brand new condo with river view, it all kind of sucked when you lowered the brochure to see the actual product.  Only exception was getting bumped to first class on a flight to Europe one time. They actually treated me like rich people in the movies.  I would do that again if I didn't have to pay an extra $4K.


Otherwise, the Neil Young song "Piece of crap" comes to mind.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:18 | 3024266 I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

Achievable METRICS- Yeap in the AMERIKA it is all about metrics.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:20 | 3024270 I am Jobe
Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:20 | 3024271 Mr. Hudson
Mr. Hudson's picture

There is one activity that makes us all equal: everybody poops!

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:21 | 3024275 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

Being ordinary in DC:

A Federal Government Employee sits in his office and out of boredom, decides to see what's in his old filing cabinet. He pokes through the contents and comes across an old brass lamp. "This would look nice on my mantelpiece," he thinks, so he takes it home with him.

While polishing the lamp, a genie appears and grants him three wishes.

"I wish for an ice cold diet Pepsi right now!"

A Pepsi appears before him on his desk, so he picks it up and guzzles it all at once.

Now that he can think more clearly, he states his second wish. "I wish to be on an island where beautiful nymphomaniacs reside."

Suddenly he is on an island with gorgeous females eyeing him lustfully.

He then tells the genie his third and last wish: "I wish I'd never have to work ever again."

He's back in his government office.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:56 | 3024410 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



"Being extraordinary is a terrific bother, truth be told."

Maybe, but it beats the hell out of being poor and ordinary...


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 14:57 | 3024414 pursueliberty
pursueliberty's picture

What you own does indeed end up owning you.  I feel like a waste away a large part of life tending/mending/fixing/maintaining due to stuff I own.  I swear I fix something broken every damn day and I'm not a mechanic/tradesman. 


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:40 | 3024499 NuYawkFrankie
NuYawkFrankie's picture

The author does have a point


I'd sure like to be ordinairy, if for no other reason that to escape the tedium of:

- Having the shirt ripped off my back by wanton nubile females every time I try to take a stroll down the block.

- Being a confidant to "The Stars" - having to listen to their personal problems all hours. And yes, Kim can be a real pain in the a$$!

- Being the go-to-guy for some of the worlds wealthiest individuals & largest hedge-funds. ( Ray/Kyle/Warren/Reggie: if you're reading this, cant talk now -  but I might well be able to slot each of you  in for 5-10mins Monday-ish. Ciao)

- Being constantly implored - bordering on harassment - by the NY Jets to take over the QB position now that Tebow doesnt seem to be doing the biz.

- Having to masquerade behind a fake identity on web-forums for fear of crashing their servers should my real identity be known...

- Being pestered by Erin Burnett for a Special Guest slot on her show. (With salacious enticements, I might add)

- And last but not least: Not being able to take out Hillary on a date to a  nice secluded Pizza Hut - on All You Can Eat nite - without paprazzi popping outta the toppings and dogs snapping at her heels,,




Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:18 | 3024511 Real Estate Geek
Real Estate Geek's picture

People seek some sort of ethical-spiritual perfection in the famous, as if being extraordinary in some field automatically elevates a person to sainthood.

+1. I am continually amazed by the credence that media / society gives to celebrities’ opinions.  Most Hollywood stars are of average intelligence and are not particularly intellectual or well-educated.  Case in point:  Jenny McCarthy, famous for being a hot chick, is a high school graduate who doesn’t sound too smart to me.  But people listen to her yammering nonsense about autism.  And don’t get me started about Hollywood and AGW.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 15:44 | 3024610 crusty curmudgeon
crusty curmudgeon's picture

Time for a bit of wisdom from the big screen:  "With great power comes great responsibility."

Anyone who has ever studied the lives of Carnegie or Rockefeller, for example, know just how much the issue of what to do with their wealth consumed them.

With all of this lottery talk lately, I'd much rather win $1 million than $100 million.  $1M would make life easier on you.  $100M would change the way you think in unpredictable ways.  I'm not saying I feel sorry for the extremely wealthy, but I'm convinced it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:02 | 3024678 SoNH80
SoNH80's picture

I have encountered some extremely wealthy (8-9 figure net worth) individuals, through casual social encounters, as the spouses of close friends, as classmates.  Those that I have met are decent, thoughtful individuals very concerned about a few things-- personal and property security, wanting to be liked and having a good public reputation, the desire to make sure that their kids don't totally destroy their heritage and financial position... and constantly juggling their travel plans and chattels (vacation homes, cars, planes, etc.)  It has its pluses, but there are a lot of moving parts it seems.  Look at the 99-yr old rich lady from Park Avenue that ended up being beaten and starved by her daughter and various retainers.

The sweet spot is solid affluence: 7 figure net worth.  You don't fret about feeding the bill alligator, but you are well below the radar (if you so choose).  Also, your kids don't expect to live the high life from their modest high 5/low 6 figure inheritance, so they are less likely to kill you for your money through elder neglect, etc.


Fri, 11/30/2012 - 16:12 | 3024720 mkhs
mkhs's picture

Is this from Aesop?  Something like the shephard telling the sheep to be content as sheep, because being the shephard is so difficult?  Or is this Obama's program to reduce American exceptionality?

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 20:11 | 3025127 e-recep
e-recep's picture

less money means less comforts of life and less sex with beautiful women. so, thanks but no thanks. i have only one life to live and i want it to be a good one. fame? screw fame. i have enough ego boost already.

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