That’s it. The ‘blog of the year’ is accomplished. I’ll finish off, if I may, with some news of what’s to come next from Allen Incorporated…
First of all, the inimitable Danny Shine (aka ‘Megaphone Man’ to Londoners; here’s one of his most popular recent interventions) has just put up a chat he had with me, which you can listen to here. We talk about how Chris Witty became king, capitalism and socialism, living freely and whether people should have kids. At the very end, I make reference to ‘gatecrashing the Royal Festival Hall’. We met at the famous building in London to record the interview in one of the quiet public spaces they make available and found ourselves, while looking for somewhere to sit, in a concert hall box, watching a lovely rehearsal of Bedřich Smetana’s ‘Vltava’. A woman came in and asked us if we were with some group or other, and we said oh yes, we’re definitely with them, and she said, well, you’re very early, but do enjoy yourselves, simply do, and we simply did.
Now. The last three months here have been a bit heavy. This is because I had to get out these last few critical pieces (I won’t be writing any more ‘why x is bullshit’ essays for a while; I realise they’re quite tiring to read) and because all the light stuff is being directed into fruitier receptacles. I would like to direct anyone who misses, or who would like to read my friendlier, lighter matter towards my novel, Drowning is Fine. It has, to be sure, only one review to recommend it, but it’s a peach. Please take a look.
I’ll probably post the odd essay here in the future but I’m done now for blogging. I don’t have a great deal that’s really new to say in this way. If I embark on anything similar in the future it’s likely to be a podcast or radio show or something like that. I’m currently working on a second, expanded edition of The Apocalypedia, which should appear in 2022, and I have a vague plan to do a beginner’s guide to the whole lot, or a documentary, or a diorama.
I’m more interested in literature and film-making, which I don’t stop trying to get done, but my efforts run up against the professional establishment, not to mention money, which seems to be mostly in the hands of people who don’t want to give it to me. I am determined to do something with film soon though.
I’m also finishing off a wild, epic novel, which will see the light of day in 2022. I might start also a wild-living impro cult, along the lines outlined in my (admittedly challenging) Primalism manifesto. Not sure, but if you’d like to hear of any of this when it appears, please sign up to my mailing list or my telegram channel.
If you’ve enjoyed my work here this year, please consider making a donation (through paypal on the front page) or buying a book. Sorry if you’ve heard this before, but spreading the word is particularly appreciated as I have no other way to reach people. Feel free to write too (email address here — I reply to all my mails, all the intelligible ones at least, but forgive me if it’s only a few lines; I’m afraid don’t have time to do justice to the effort people put into writing to me).
I’m going to finish with an excerpt from a thing I wrote a little while back called ‘advice to my younger self’. I’m not sure he’d listen, or that anyone else will, or that anyone else should, but in any case, here are twelve points from a long list I knocked off one nostalgic afternoon.
Thank you all for your kind, kind attention,
Advice to My Younger Self
- Essential kindness or warmth is the only thing that matters with people. If you ‘come across’, on the surface, as angry or arrogant but underneath there is a friendly, likableness, humour (however dark) you’ll do fine. If, on the other hand, you come across as nice, charming or charismatic but there’s a hardness at the core, you’ll never get anywhere. Most people won’t consciously be able to tell the difference, and will say they don’t like the first kind of person and like the second — but that’s not how they’ll behave.
- An ability to [accurately] think like this;
a therefore b therefore c therefore d
is cleverness. It’s very useful in the world, but it’s of no use in life, because it’s not intelligence. Intelligence is an ability to [truthfully] think like this;
a is like b which is a bit like c which is totally unlike d
- Some days nothing works. Some years nothing works. So don’t work! Give up on a losing streak and wait until it’s right again. When it comes to creative work, it’s not unlike giving birth. There’s no point bearing down until your waters break.
- Get something on the scoreboard though. Don’t let a day go by without having done something genuinely useful, that you love. Leave entertainment to the evening; the day is for pleasurable work. If your work isn’t pleasurable — if it is for money, or is compromised by being in the world — do everything you can to get out of it; permanently if you can, temporarily if you must. The longer you go without meaningful activity, the more you die inside.
- You can’t get closer to nature than your own body. You love nature, but you must live in the city. Absorb natural beauty where you find it — sparrows, trees, clouds — to make it across temporal deserts one must drink daily from fountains of eternity. That said, it far more important to be where nature originates, in your senses. Many people lucky enough to live in beautiful, natural settings, may appreciate nature (i.e. can give it a price) but they are senseless.
- Don’t try and change people. They can’t be changed. If you get your timing right, and if you can be present and unattached as you do it, you can deliver a criticism which helps someone to change direction, but generally speaking the only way to change people is through your example. This applies to the whole world, which also cannot be changed (I mean by trying to change it).
- You are a hypocrite, a thief, a coward, a liar and a conceited, selfish, fool. We all are. The trick is to be conscious of these things. If you are sufficiently aware of your cowardly fear, for example, you’ll act or speak in spite of it. You’ll still feel the fear, but you’ll stand up for the truth, or ask her out for a date, or walk out of the relationship, or whatever it is you have to do. What people tend to do is to run from unpleasant feelings or numb their conscious awareness so that their faults don’t seem so bad.
- Numbness is death. Do everything you can to fight the feeling of being numbed. The reason, the only reason, to turn off your computer, leave your job, leave your relationships, give up your addictions or take off all your clothes and run into the street singing the theme from Wonder Woman is to be more vivid. Vividness, or aliveness, is more holy than ‘spirituality’, more beautiful than ‘creativity’, and more fundamentally good than ‘morality’.
- Don’t get sucked in. Don’t get sucked into other people’s anxiety; they’ll try to make you anxious. Don’t get sucked into other people’s moodiness; they’ll try to make you feel you are somehow to blame, or that they suddenly don’t like you. Don’t get sucked into other people’s addictions; they’ll try to get you addicted to the same things. Don’t get sucked into other people’s irritability; they’ll try to provoke you, start an argument. Don’t get sucked in to other people’s neediness; they’ll try to make you dependent on them.
- The only way to not get sucked in to other people’s problems, is, again, to be conscious. The only way to not be fooled by hucksters and tricksters, is to be conscious. The only way to not miss opportunities when they come — because they tend to only come once — is to be conscious. The only way to get over your own anxiety, moodies, addictions and neediness, is to be conscious. So be conscious. Let go of yourself.
- There is no tradition of truth. Tradition is for technique, and must be learned to be effective in the world, but for the truth, for psychological freedom, love and creativity there is no path, no teaching and nothing you can do to ‘get there’. Trying to get there — trying to be a nice person, or an honest person, or a kind person, or, God help you, an ‘enlightened’ person — is the worst kind of violence. ‘Nice’ people are a fucking menace.
- Nobody can tell you how to be who you are. You can listen to advice (such as this), you can seek reassurance and you can look for qualities common to all admirable people — above all courage, fortitude, sensitivity, generosity and humour. You can certainly be inspired by greatness, oh yes, and you can open yourself up to harsh criticism — in fact you have to do that — but the only thing anyone knows for sure is how to solve their own problems, not yours.