Lacking Finesse, Lacking Mindfulness

Originally published at: Lacking Finesse, Lacking Mindfulness – Peak Prosperity

Shared by Chris Irons of QTR’s Fringe Finance, originally posted here.

While I can count on one hand the number of captivating in-person conversations I’ve had over the last few months (years?), today I lucked out and was gifted a few minutes to catch up on life with someone I genuinely find interesting and feel heard by.

We ruminated about what was new in our lives and traded ideological cliff notes. At one point, we broached the subject of the beauty of simplicity in life.

Readers of my blog and listeners of my podcast know that for years, I’ve been partially ascribing the decay of Western civilization, led by the political left, to our belief that overanalyzing and overthinking the excruciating minutiae of “problems”—whether they be day-to-day issues, political, social or otherwise— can be effective.

Instead, I’ve argued, our obsession of identifying “intellectual solutions” has thrown the engine of evolution into reverse. Like the Titanic, we don’t just come to a dead stop and start regressing as a society in a way that’s so obvious that it’s easy to recognize. Rather, progress slowly erodes, then civilization reaches an evolutionary standstill, and only then do we start to slowly regress—tearing down the principles, values, and educational foundations of society little by little.

In 2024, we are a nation of people whose evolutionary biology stands at stark odds with the world of abundance that surrounds us. What would Cro-Magnon man think of problems like choosing between a Diet Coke and Coke Zero at a car dealership vending machine while trying to determine whether to buy a Chevy Suburban or a Cadillac Escalade? Or which filter to use when taking your 21st selfie of your dog for the day — and then whether you should post it on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or all three?

These are slightly different than the nuanced issues we had to worry about thousands of years ago and, therefore, evolved equipped to deal with.

It is this widening gap between our age-old hardwiring and modern-day societal expectations, led by sociological and cultural cornerstones like Jerry Springer, Brazilian butt-lifts and The Golden Bachelor, that has caused us to lose sight of what living in a calm state or having a satisfied mind means.

For Cro-Magnon man, calm was food that night, a warm fire and not dying. End of list.

Today, calm is something we desperately tell ourselves we feel when we reach a certain number of social media followers, despite never snapping out of the anxious and panicked state we are in. Calm comes in 1.7 second increments, when a dopamine hit from a bite of a Cheesy Gordita Crunch™ and a sip of a Mountain Dew Baja Blast™ futilely attempts to register in any way on our biologically hijacked rewards system, only to have the same success of that of an infant who has yet to take their first steps trying to scale Everest.

And our modern day inability to find calm and satisfaction is what drives people (myself included) to moments of feeling like they aren’t good enough, aren’t doing enough, aren’t getting what they are entitled to and aren’t being recognized or making a difference.

As a result, many people constantly living in a panicked state spend their days looking for the thing they think is going to “fix” them and bring them a feeling of content, despite the harsh reality that real equanimity can only come from within. Rather than being introspective, and courageously looking deeply into oneself, people push themselves toward career goals, relationship goals, material things and the like. They keep up with the Joneses. They develop addictions. They buy shit on Amazon.

Thoughts of “fixing” become fixations, and fixations become patterns—patterns which many people continue stuck in for the rest of their lives, regardless of whether they achieve the things they set out for in the first place.

Similarly, many people fall into the trap of trying to “solve” not just their own problems, but all of the world’s problems. Others become determined to figure out the meaning of life as a whole, striving to comprehend the entire compendium of all human knowledge with very real-sounding aspirations of fixing the world — which are ironically just layered over compensating for their own unprocessed insecurities.

And why not? It’s something we’re told as a kid: you can change the world.

I’m not saying that an individual effort can’t alter the course of history, but I am saying it has given people a false sense of their ability to control the world around them.

I quote the legendary George Carlin, talking about “saving the planet”:

We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails. And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet.

Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of fucking Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths.

Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?

The planet isn’t going anywhere. We are! We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam.

The planet will be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas. The planet will be here for a long, long, long time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed.

And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children.

Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?”

Plastic, asshole.

The key point is: we aren’t in control, no matter how much we would like to be.

And when people fail to recognize that surrendering control is truly the path towards peace of mind, they substitute it with various stages of pseudo-intellectual faux-academic white noise in the form of focusing on an obscure topic, subdividing it into the smallest possible parts where it retains properties of the idea, then analyzing it further into sub-subatomic particles of human thought.

In other words, they overthink shit. They spend 470 pound-feet of brain torque for a problem that could be solved by a distracted 11 year old playing Xbox in the next room, riffing off the top of his head and carelessly yelling out ideas like his mom just called him for dinner and he’s yelling back “one more minute!”

People who can’t surrender control redline that engine and arrive at their own “solutions” that not only fail to adhere to the guardrails of logic but often times wind up as a vortex of reason and the polar opposite of common sense.

How else would a smart and highly evolved civilization arrive at “solutions” like segregated college campuses to fight racism, taking on more debt to pay off our national debt, taxing unrealized gains, setting up injection sites to end drug use and letting criminals out on cashless bond while defunding the police to make us safer?

These social non sequiturs are the result of what our idea of an “intellectual” is now.

In days past, thought leaders had simple solutions to even the most complex problems that have been irrefutably time-tested, like when Einstein figured out that e=mc². No one challenged that solution as being too simple because it’s just 5 characters long and no one has “fixed” it further because it just works.

Even philosophy had an elegant simplicity about it, which is why many people now looking to find a state of calm wind up going back and reading Buddhist texts, stoicism, or transcendentalists. Philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Emerson and Thoreau are proof you could think deeply and arrive at simple, powerful, yet humble and understated observations.

Life is available only in the present moment.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

But today, accolades are distributed not based on the merits of ideas regardless of how much anthropological jargon is used, but based on the ideas that are the most complicated and esoteric sounding, regardless of how effective and reasonable they are.

In fact, for all the lotus tattoos and yoga retreats, it appears to me that mindfulness and simplicity is often cast aside by many modern day “intellectuals” who incorrectly believe there are no simple or easy solutions to complex problems and that people who think otherwise are simply unenlightened, undereducated bumpkins.

During the course of our conversation today, my friend also asked me about religion. It took me a second to try and put into words why I have a belief in a power greater than myself — but eventually, the answer arrived: it creates a circuitous loop of logic in my mind that offers me permission to myself to not worry about things that are out of my control. From there, that allows me to live in a simpler, more mindful, and calm manner than I otherwise would.

A week or two ago, I wrote an article examining the flawed logic, general uselessness, and cowardice of today’s activists, regardless of cause.

When I watch a couple of teenagers deface a 200-year-old priceless work of art, when I see groups like “Queers for Hamas,” or when I see protesters having visible issues controlling their rage as they scream wildly into the open air about whatever their particular grievances are, I don’t see people that are calm and satisfied. I see people who are genuinely scared and suffering in their lives, only to have turned to the school of over-intellectualization and panic for an “answer” that will very likely make whatever their issue is worse instead of better.

“Activism is a way for useless people to feel important, even if the consequences of their activism are counterproductive for those they claim to be helping. and damaging to the fabric of society as a whole.” — Thomas Sowell

For these people, the school of appreciating every day just because we’re alive and breathing simply doesn’t exist. They are held prisoner and tortured by an insatiable, unexplainable dissatisfaction that they can’t put their finger on. For them, there is no stopping and giving thanks — there is only an irrational, synthetically engineered baseline feeling of whatever oppression is trendy that week that feeds off of their insecurities and anxieties like a malnourished tapeworm.

Which brings us to the present day political sphere, where Donald Trump leads Joe Biden in polls heading into the summer before the election.

The problem now for many “intellectuals” on the left side of the political aisle is they have over-analyzed themselves into a collective cult of both sociological regression and decadence that is so obvious that many people who would otherwise be in the center of the aisle can’t help but notice. Then, they’ve congratulated themselves for it, given each other awards and convinced themselves they’re geniuses.

For example, Paul Krugman actually thinks this is funny:

I wouldn’t worry about the “dibs” on that one Paul. I’m not exactly sure it’s going to be first in line to be ripped off and used royalty free without attribution by a world famous comedian, if you know what I’m saying.

I’ll level with the left. The Democratic Party is right about some things when it comes to Donald Trump: he can be an asshole, he’s said some chauvinistic shit over the years, he’s a cutthroat businessman, he’s a narcissist, and he lies.

But herein lies the failure of finesse by the left. They don’t have the simplicity of mind to recognize that their targeted ends of keeping Trump out of office do not justify the far more egregious means that they employ.

Now, many parts of the nation that simply saw an asshole, narcissist and liar a couple of years ago are now seeing an asshole, narcissist and liar who was all but framed for being a traitor, impeached twice for frivolous reasons, has been dragged through the mud by the media every single day that he’s been in the political sphere, and who now is facing 34 felony charges for a private contract that was entered into 10 years ago over an immaterial amount of money — at the same time crime across the country has been all but legalized by liberal district attorneys.

New York DA Alvin Bragg has spent his career decriminalizing crimes but, in Trump’s case, has elevated a misdemeanor past the statute of limitations to 34 felony counts. Georgia DA Fani Willis has accused Trump of corruption while handing out taxpayer cash and high-prestige job titles to her boyfriend. The recent Trump trial was justified by our current president last week by saying that “nobody is above the law”, but the body of corruption and criminality contained on Hunter Biden’s laptop alone makes it clear that actually, there are some people who are very much above the law.

It’s a page right out of the aforementioned overanalytical fixation pattern book.

And while I’ve always thought the term “Trump Derangement Syndrome” was idiotic, the left isn’t doing themselves any favors. The hyperbolic term alludes to a level of cognitive distortion where all bearings and calibration of what is right and wrong fall by the wayside of an obsession to “fix” the problem of Donald Trump.

Taking a criminal charge that would otherwise not have even been prosecuted and turning it into an legal circus act that could see the leading candidate for president theoretically serve prison time not only shows an unhealthy pattern of obsession with “fixing” the problem the left erroneously believes they have the solution to, it shows a complete and total lack of finesse and the mindfulness that could work well to revive the Democratic Party and its base.

Like him or not, Donald Trump brings with him a host of simple policy solutions that aren’t overthought, at a point where we don’t have the luxury of any more time for intellectual masturbation or unnecessary complexity: close the border to stop illegal immigration! Put more police on the street and remove lenient DAs to tackle petty crime! Drill fucking holes in the ground to bring oil prices down!

The left wants to argue the fact that Trump is a caveman, with caveman ideologies. But the truth is they have “overthought” us so far off the path of reason, that the solutions our nation requires are really are that simple.

So easy a caveman could do it.

So I ask: If a person arguing that Donald Trump is unhinged is correct, but that person is five times more unhinged than Trump is, which of the two are going to look like they’re making the most sense when you step back, squint your eyes, and look for clarity in the political Magic Eye puzzle?


So many words, so little said.

Complete version of George Carlin’s rant. Best 7+ minutes I have ever seen!


Only 3 comments to this. What a shame. Beautiful, thoughtful, clear, and Simple!

Thank you for sharing this, Chris:)