Friday, June 25, 2021

On Medium: From Academic To Freelance Writing: Coping With The Culture Shock

Read on how about how capitalist standards have corrupted both academic and freelance writing.


  1. Pattern, which you're describing, from your writing experience, is applicable to many fields. The main argument which I hear (from those fields) is that, by marketing measures, consumer already formed interest in particular product, therefore, with that logic, there is no need to invent or change anything, rather than to use what already sells well, maybe in different package. You may see, in many fields, some new trend, like tsunami, overwhelms across countries. Somebody (leading brand for example) invents or puts something into common practice, hypes it out, and if it sells and if it works, echo-tsunami of parroting act sways across businesses, such practices become common.
    It is perfectly understandable, it is safe, but if you inquire and push hard enough into people's minds, it always goes to — that people need to put food on the table. Capitalism rests on survival and fear of managers, and average managers are afraid of risk-taking. They spin their wheels, while waiting for others to invent the progress, push the medium further, otherwise it is risky and life-threatening. But from the higher moral perspective — what we are doing here, with our limited time, in average jobs, constantly re-constructing the same wheel in different package (superficial content, or variations of the same), by caprice of somebody's else invention. I might look at it as if myriads of average "creative" jobs are just holding economy enough to help the elite few have a platform for true creativity and inventiveness. Elite's Sandbox of True-Playfulness built from fear, sweat, and blood of averages. Tug your bootstraps and compete with that, while maintaining your average job — and you will succeed and become like they are — that is the promise of self-help industry. Or, meditate your ass off, and enlighten yourself away from material desires, and realize your divinity — new-age promise. Both of them are huge business now too, selling you your divinity.
    I understand concepts of 'best practices' or 'common practices', but should we wait for somebody? Reality doesn't puts borders on creativity, it is neutral, but from where a good taste may form? Still we compete with huge groups, companies, corporations — for absolutely everything, as little cells in a huge impersonal machine.

    1. There's certainly reason to take up some such cynical perspective. But we have a sense of what's good or bad for the character, what enrichens our experience and what corrupts us.

      I see roughly two kinds of writing, the kind which panders and which is more likely to become popular in an infantilized society, and the kind that enlightens both the author and the reader. The latter often delves into unpopular truths, so it's reserved for outsiders in the cultural underground.

  2. Hello, I hope that your work on that essay concerning life-affirming philosophies is going well. I wanted to reference a blog I found this that I believe is quite relevant to the topic at hand. This person (a supporter of pessimistic philosophies, particularly antinatalism) has written extensively on stuff like Nietzsche's views and the allegedly irredeemable nature of our existence.

    I think it would be useful in your future work, particularly when addressing some life-denying claims. I think that you would find this blog and the article I shared to be pertinent. Although, this person also seems to think that Buddhism is mostly pessimistic, which is not really an accurate representation of Buddhism in my opinion. As a Hindu, I don't even think that it makes sense to call Buddhism pessimistic, particularly since it seeks to elevate life, not deny it. However, I do understand that complication can arise due to the limitations of translation. Here in India, we don't even have a word for "pessimism". Nevertheless, I do enjoy the writings of people like Schopenhauer or the author of this blog, as it helps me think in a more refined manner about my optimistic, life-affirming views. I hope that you have a wonderful day and a great life!

    1. Here's another one:

      This is run by a promortalist/efilist. It's quite shallow in terms of its writing (IMO), focusing solely on desires and how ending everything is the best thing ever. I don't understand how these people manage to be so inconsistent. They claim that non-existent beings don't have any needs, but forget the fact that this also means that they have no need against suffering. This would mean that the absence of suffering wouldn't be bad. Needs themselves don't need to be seen as absolute suffering, but that is exactly what these radical pessimists insist upon. Reading stuff like this makes me glad that blogs like yours exist, for they serve a reminder that there is still hope for intellectual and moral honesty. They also seem to hate Albert Camus, I guess because of his affirmative view towards life.

    2. Yeah, I'm just trying to find a place to publish the life-affirming article.

      I'll keep that pessimistic source in mind if I write on antinatalism. I sort of had my fill of unqualified pessimism, though, when I engaged with Inmendham at length some years ago. I don't know what else I can learn from it.

      I've written some articles on Buddhism. I'm not an expert in it, but I think the core Buddhist philosophy is pretty subversive, so it's pessimistic or destructive towards anything that rests on egoistic illusions, which is roughly all of popular Western culture.

      No word for "pessimism" in India? That's interesting. Is there a word for "optimism"?

    3. The first blog I mentioned isn't the sort of mindless pessimism that Gary espouses. It's got some depth and seems quite interesting. The guy doesn't just write on antinatalism, so you might find the first blog to be useful for the life-affirming article you are currently writing. The author of that blog writes extensively on people like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer with literary prowess that seems to reach close to yours (although, you're still better, in my opinion).

      The second source (the counterintuitive conclusions blog) is clearly obsessed with ending humanity, so you will see a lot of stuff about "pleasure", "assault", and "biological addictions" there. Still, I find it fun to read this stuff, primarily because it reminds me of how single-minded some people can be.

      Buddhism and Hinduism (which I follow) aren't exactly life denying. That's the popular image people like Schopenhauer and Lottie have given it. Of course, the efilists and promortalists are trying to hijack the philosophies for their own views. However, their shallow attempts lack any understanding of the philosophy and the context, making it fairly obvious that they will not persuade anybody who is intellectually honest. To summarise very briefly, Buddhism and Hinduism (at least the branch I follow, Advaita Vedanta) seek to transcend our current limitations towards whatever the ultimate reality (Hindus would call it Brahman). But there are even atheistic Hindus, so I cannot generalise. After all, many Hindus are religious pluralists who believe that many path can lead to the ultimate truth (as propounded by Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda).

      Technically, we do have translations for those words now. However, they are fairly recent constructs and people rarely use them. In Hindi,they would probably be translated as आशावाद (Aashavaad: optimism) and निराशावाद (Nirashavaad: pessimism).

      Thanks for the reply!

    4. I have no idea if my comment went through, so I am going to reply again:

      The first source I mentioned is definitely a bit more nuanced than the sort of blind pessimism someone like Gary and the owner of the second blog display. The level of his literary prowess is nearly as high as yours (although, I believe that your writings are better). Considering that he also writes on people like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, I think that it would be a useful source to check out. I generally read this stuff because I love reading things that challenge my views, allowing me to understand my perspective in a new light.

      Buddhism and Hinduism aren't necessarily about denial and negation. They are actually about transcending the limitations of our current existence by realising the true nature of the ultimate reality. Some pessimists, like Schopenhauer, interpreted these philosophies in a pessimistic manner. Unfortunately, this understanding continues to prevail in the minds of many people.

      We do have translations for optimism and pessimism now: optimism—आशावाद; pessimism—निराशावाद. However, these words are not used frequently.

      As always, I hope that you have a wonderful day!

    5. The author of the first website seems to argue from utilitarianism, the moral goal being to end suffering. I think that's somewhat lame since I'm more of a Romantic: suffering is needed to produce great art, and it's necessary in the enlightenment process. We talk about the need to end suffering when we've been infantilized and feminized as postindustrial consumers.

      My understanding is that Hinduism is very eclectic. There are indeed many branches and traditions in Hinduism. I wrote an article on the Hindu synthesis. What interests me is whether world-renouncing asceticism can be reconciled with the other Hindu traditions and philosophies.

    6. I presume you are referring to the Metaphysical exile website. He does seem to have utilitarian views. However, they are certainly better than the views of the author of the second blog. That guy seems to fixate on desire frustration and fulfillment, particularly the former.

      I think that many people in the West would have a somewhat difficult time in seeing the synthesis of Hinduism. I did read your article a long time ago. While it was interesting, I think it did have some limitations because there are no clear boundaries between the ascetic form of Hindu dharma from the worldly form. For instance, the pursuit of wealth and beauty (in an ethical manner) is also considered to be a method of achieving moksha. Furthermore, the world isn't necessarily an illusion in the sense of being completely unreal. A more accurate way to perceive it would be to consider the world to be a limited form of reality. Again, it's not possible to translate words like maya into English. This is probably why many radical pessimists think that Buddhism supports their views based upon faulty or inaccurate interpretations. The pursuit of knowledge, the pursuit good actions, and the pursuit of devotion are also considered to be valid paths for realising our oneness with the ultimate reality. As previously mentioned, Hindus have a wide range of beliefs which are nevertheless unified by their cultural context and the underlying quest towards realising the true nature of the self.

      Best of luck for your future endeavours and have a wonderful day/night!

  3. I hope I wrote "the level of literary prowess". If not, here's the correction with my sincere apologies.