Sheila Heti, “Why Go Out?

Why do we go out? Because if what we want more than anything is to attain self-confidence, health, energy, and peace of mind, we should stay in. We could be like little Buddhas, meditating and masturbating and watching TV. And we could imagine ourselves to be brilliant, and kind, and good speakers, and good listeners, and utterly loving – and there would be no way to prove it otherwise.

I’ve re-visited this essay about four times in less than a year and it still sees right through me. I spend a week alone and imagine myself the zen paragon of humankind. Then I head to a bar and speak to one other friend and the illusion crashes, the Matrix glitches: sure I can still re-direct bullets, but they tend to ping straight at loved ones.

No matter what age any of us is now, we are going to be bored and lonely during what remains of our lives.

We are so lonely because we don’t have enough friends and relatives. Human beings are supposed to live in stable, like-minded, extended families of fifty people or more.

Your class spokesperson mourned the collapse of the institution of marriage in this country. Marriage is collapsing because our families are too small. A man cannot be a whole society to a woman, and a woman cannot be a whole society to a man. We try, but it is scarcely surprising that so many of us go to pieces.

So I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It does not matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need.

Kurt Vonnegut’s commencement address to Fredonia College, May 20th 1978

I don’t ever feel acutely lonely cause I can mostly entertain myself flying solo and reach out to anyone whenever, not to mention that my friends are magical legends of support and care and interest in my life. But I often think about how unfair it is that we don’t all live in a village together.

Okay so maybe I’ll move onto those British sitcoms after reading Vonnegut’s bibliography. BUSY DAY

How To Ruin All Friendships

In case you need to flee into the woods and want to make sure nobody tries to find you:

  1. Using the “edit” function, change all of your old Facebook comments into violent demands for race war or rape war or what have you.
  2. Screencapture the list of people who liked your original comment.
  3. Start sending e-mails to employers!
  4. Laugh all the way to your willing solitude!