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Editor’s note: At a time where everyone is in hysterics over the fear that artificial intelligence has arrived to take our jobs, our dignity, and our raison d’etre, we asked Jasper AI to write a few words about our favorite coping mechanism.

Absurdism is the most rational method for dealing with the world today because it recognizes the inherent uncertainty and unpredictability in life. In an absurdist worldview, there is no single overarching explanation or meaning that can be attributed to any given situation; instead, individuals must accept a certain degree of ambiguity and randomness and use it as a tool for forming their own interpretations of reality. This means that on some level we must embrace our lack of control over many aspects of our lives while simultaneously making sense of them through our own individual understanding.

The idea behind absurdism stems from its rejection of traditional causes and explanations. Instead, absurdists view life as carrying no ultimate or deep purpose, instead simply existing as something which should be accepted rather than questioned or opposed. It’s not about nihilism—the idea that everything has no value—but rather the notion that life exists without clear answers or absolutes, which can make it difficult to find meaning in day-to-day experiences. Despite this difficulty however, absurdity shows us how accepting such uncertainty can lead to freedom from constraint by allowing us to form original perspectives on challenges we face each day; refusing to succumb to society’s predetermined roles but rather finding solutions based on our own.

Optimist Day is the first Thursday in February, so you might think we’d be making plans to toss confetti and dance the samba. But we’re not optimists. We’re SuperOptimists. As such, we celebrate our contrarian view of optimism at off-peak times, when there are no lines at our favorite restaurant and there are plenty of seats available on the M5 bus.

The Tuesday before Optimist Day is a good time to reflect on the difference between plain old ordinary optimism and our supercharged, quantum state belief system. Herewith, we offer the following explanation, culled from the transmitters’ original manuscript, to clarify what is meant — in broad terms — by SuperOptimism.

In the Figure 1 diagram , you will see the mental states that are commonly experienced by human beings. They range from a state of despair to a state of joy. The “gates” to these opposites, joy and despair, are optimism and pessimism.

Hence, the three working definitions which help us to better understand the significance of placing the word “Super” before the word “Optimist.”

Optimist: One who usually expects a favorable outcome.

Pessimist: One who usually expects a negative outcome.

SuperOptimist: One who has learned the mental discipline to reframe any situation into a favorable outcome.

Therefore, we may extrapolate the following: If the situation is good, the SuperOptimist reframes it as “even better.” If the situation seems bad, negative, gloomy, sad, doomed, or awful, then the SuperOptimist reframes that so-called “bad” situation into one that is just as “good” as a good situation. Or better.

Sometimes it will seem very difficult to reframe an event (parking ticket, bad haircut, influenza, divorce) in a SuperOptimistic way, but fortunately for us, humans are very good at building habits into habitual behavior. Simply stated, if you can make a habit of being a SuperOptimist for 5 minutes today, you can be one for 10 minutes tomorrow, and 20 the next day.

Here’s to celebrating SuperOptimist Day each day you’re above ground. (Which includes today assuming you’re reading this.) Best wishes.

 

 

 

Quit vaping. Start making real money in the stock market. Quit dating losers. Start learning how to code. Get off social media.
2023 is here, and with it the pressure to halt all our bad habits, right all our wrongs, improve our posture and lose 15 pounds.
But is attempting the impossible the best way to start the day, much less the decade? We think not. In our view, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with ringing in the new year by eating an extra helping of gourmet chocolate while watching reruns of “30 Rock”.  (If that’s what you enjoy doing, of course.)
Here’s the resolution the SuperOptimist always adopts, whether it’s New Year’s Day, Arbor Day, All Saint’s Day, or just another Wednesday: “All is well, life is swell, and I’m good just the way I am.”
By starting the new year accepting every screw-up, flaw, and mistake as the price of being human, you have a 130% better chance of enjoying the first days of the fresh annum.  So ignore all those life coaches with their exhortations to improve everything about yourself.  If they want to drink celery juice and get on the scale five times a day, that’s their problem, not yours!
Remember, the definition of resolution is “the firm decision to do or not do something.” Why not make a firm decision to make no decisions about your future, and enjoy the first month of the year without putting undo pressure on yourself?
By starting 2020 this way, you might find this turns out to be “your year” after all.*
*If you are compelled to figure out how to improve your life in 2023, we suggest looking back on what worked in 2022.  Here’s a short quiz to separate the pluses from the minuses. By doubling down on the good stuff, you’ll assure yourself of more personal victories in the coming year.
MY PERFORMANCE REVIEW 2022
 What was the best thing I experienced in 2022?
 What was a huge waste of my energy?
 What activity gave me the most pleasure?
 What was my bravest failure?
 What can I try that I haven’t?
 What error can I avoid now that I see it?
 What did I fear in 2022 that I survived?
 Did I handle the bad shit well?
 How many times did I feel joy?
 Who did I like hanging out with?
 Who would I prefer never seeing again?

Inside The SuperOptimist Guide to Unconventional Living, you’ll find an eclectic assortment of experiments and activities to help you challenge the steady drip-drip-drip of pre-programmed thought that humans have developed over the eons. 

With estimates now placing 89% of our brain function as habitual reactions to circumstance — checking our phones, working at repetitive tasks, binge-watching television, wearing shoes — The SuperOptimist Guide is designed to upend social constructs that have become calcified in homo sapiens. 

By adopting a practice of “daily self-provocation,” this book encourages the reader to explore big questions, gaze into other dimensions, and seek out new adventures — with positivity, humor and spirit intact. 

Kirkus calls the book “Playfully counterintuitive…At every turn, Whitten and Morton vigorously urge their readers to shake off old habits and embrace new ways of thinking. An idiosyncratic but ultimately uplifting approach to life and all its complications.”

This new volume should appeal to anyone attracted to creative pursuits, philosophical musings, white magic, Zen Buddhism, transcendentalism, left-field thinking, right-brain experiments, or post-humanism. And amusement. That too.

While positivity is a the central objective of SuperOptimism, it’s often by saying “no” that we can achieve some of life’s most empowering results. Consider all the insidious little things that waste time, do us no good, or ruin our chances for a better outcome. These are habits we are socially conditioned to perform, yet add nothing to our lives. Certainly there are at least 65 things you do every day that you don’t care much about. What if you said “no” to these soul-sucking activities that pull you away from your essential purpose?
If you explore the radical power of saying “no” more often, you may become a NOHEMIAN — a person who has changed their habits to say no more often. It’s based on the old cultural idea of “bohemian.” Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary, or spiritual pursuits. In this context, bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds. A more economically privileged, wealthy, or even aristocratic bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as haute bohème (literally “high Bohemia”).

Nohemia is directly related to Bohemia, as it too is an unconventional lifestyle in a world of “yes” men and women. Saying no means you are less controlled by the outside influences imposed on you by other people and more responsive to your own internal, authentic nature. You are able to assert yourself by turning your back on nonsensical social mores and the small insults a person must endure in the course of an average day.

The best way to learn how to say “No” is to sit down with a piece of paper, reflect on your day, and write down things that you can say “no” to. Your list may look something like this:

1. No TV after 11 PM
2. No fake bullshit corn chips, only real corn chips.
3. No self-doubt.
4. No answering phone with unrecognizable number.
5. No Facebook.
6. No pointless hairspray.
7. No cheap pizza, ever.
8. No use of weird-smelling soaps.
9. No cleaning the kitchen floor.
10. No Black Friday shopping (in person)
By saying “No,” you are putting yourself in the driver’s seat, displaying conviction where others choose to waffle, bend and break. Watch how many people want to ride shotgun in your car once you do! As for Fear of Missing Out? From our experience, there’s always another bus a’ coming.
*If it’s difficult to say “no” directly, here are some other ways to get the point across.

Opening Day is normally associated with the beginning of the major league baseball season, bringing a sense of hope that at the very least, sub-freezing temperatures are behind us and spring has finally arrived.

But we see no reason why the pastime should only be relegated to balls and strikes. Here are some suggestions for celebrating opening day outside of a ballpark, tavern, or Best Buy electronics store.

Open a window. Not only can open windows boost mood by letting in some fresh air, the very act can be good for the environment. Indoor air pollution has been described by the EPA as a primary environmental health problem. In addition, the American College of Allergists states that 50 percent of all illnesses are caused by polluted indoor air. So grab that sash and fling wide the windows. You’ll be glad you did.

Open a jar of sauerkraut.  In addition to going great on a hot dog (the classic opening day meal of baseball enthusiasts), sauerkraut has amazing health benefits that might actually negate the harmful qualities of the frankfurter.

Open your “third eye.” Known as the ‘Ajna chakra’, the third eye is a source of intuitive wisdom and has the potential to lead you to the highest form of intelligence. Try some third eye meditation, with eyes closed, focused on the area between your two actual eyes. Once you start seeing a bluish-white light, you’re halfway there to healing your chakras and getting in touch with a further dimension of existence.

Open your browser and search for “Smead Jolley”.  There’s nothing more enjoyable than discovering arcane knowledge about some of the more colorful players of yesteryear, Smead being one of them. Jolley was an outfielder in the 1930s who once committed three errors on a single play.* But did Smead let his ineptitude in the field get him down? No! After getting dumped from the majors due to his poor fielding skills, he spent the rest of his career hitting the cover off the ball in the Pacific Coast League.  Back then, the PCL paid their established players in a manner commensurate with the majors, so Smead did okay for himself.  Not only that, he was inducted into the PCL Hall of Fame in 2003.  Oh, and his nickname was “Smudge.” You can’t ask for more from a ballplayer.

*First he let a ball roll through his legs in the outfield. After allowing it to carom off the wall, the ball rolled back between his legs in the opposite direction. When he finally recovered the ball, he heaved it over the third baseman’s head and into the stands. **

**Although the ump took pity on him and only scored it two errors.

 

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd. — Miguel de Cervantes

That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another. — Adlai E. Stevenson

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.  — Steve Jobs

When someone calls you a fool, do you take offense? Or thank them for their perspicacity?

The wise among us realize that our foolish nature is something to be embraced — and as often as possible. The godmother of show business reinvention, Cher, says, “Unless you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.”

Elon Musk was thought to be a fool to the 10th power when he began an electric car company from scratch, and a reusable rocket ship company after that. Both agree that you must free the wild child inside you rather than timidly hide beneath a veneer of “respectability” if you want to make your mark.

So the question is, how will you embrace foolishness today? What pranks are you planning to shake up the status quo? What could you do tomorrow, next week, or next month that will have the office, locker room, or family den buzzing with conversation (after the shock wears off)? And is one day really enough to play the fool card, or should we advocate for more time to really explore this vitally important side of life?

At the very least, the United States could follow the example set by the city of Odessa in Ukraine.  Here, the first of April is a holiday, complete with a festival that includes a large parade, free concerts, street fairs and performances. Festival participants dress up in a variety of costumes and walk around the city playing pranks with passersby.*

Based on the ideas generated by the fools among us, one could argue that businesses giving their employees the day off to act foolishly could wind up generating the brainstorms that lead to a better planet for all. (Or a 22% boost in productivity, one of the two.) Let’s try it and see what happens.

*In 18th Century Scotland, they did Odessa one better, as the April Fools tradition was a two-day celebration, starting with “hunting the gowk” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) and followed by “Tailie Day,” which involved pranks played on people’s backsides, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them. Not that we want to give you any ideas.

 

Based on the latest murderous rampage by the Russian impaler-in-chief, we wondered if humans are unique in their lust for killing their own kind. After all, what kind of animals are foolish enough to lay waste to those who resemble them?

The good news (or bad, depending how you view it) is that people are not alone in ripping one another to shreds.  In a study by José María Gómez of the University of Granada, violence between humans can be attributed to our position on the evolutionary ladder. Mammals have a built-in thirst for their own blood, it seems.

These days, the meerkat is the most savage of warm-blooded vertebrates, with about 20 percent of their deaths being chalked up to murder. One reason is that meerkat mothers kill the offspring of other females to maintain dominance (a favorite reason of autocrats as well). Also high on the list are the red-tailed monkey, the long-tailed marmot and the long-tailed chinchilla. Does Putin have a tail he’s not telling us about?

Yet humans can’t be found on this list. Between 500 and 3,000 years ago, we would have been at the very top, with up to 30 percent of people meeting their maker at the hand of their fellow sapiens. Now thanks to laws, cops, legal systems, prisons and social mores, less than 1 in 10,000 deaths is inflicted by the person next door (that’s .o1% for those doing the math).

So we are not as lethally violent toward our fellow man as meerkats are toward each other. But the Gomez study argues that over the course of human history, we are still more apt to commit murder than the average mammal.

Finally, a UK advertiser has pulled its campaign featuring a billionaire meerkat from the air in the wake of the Ukraine invasion. This has more to do with the meerkat in question being a cute, lovable Russian than it does to our comparison above. But it’s good to know what a meerkat is capable of.  The same goes for dictators from Moscow. As Putin attempts to return “Mother Russia” to its former state, let’s hope the path forward doesn’t involve us all revisiting our mammalian roots from 3,000 years ago.

 

Jeff Bezos is a failure.

There, we’ve said it. This may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, where the amount of money a person has is the measurement by which people are judged. But anyone building a 411-foot yacht that burns 132 gallons of marine diesel an hour  has obviously got issues (though apparently the environment isn’t one).*

Maybe that’s because poor Jeff and his fellow clueless billionaires don’t have the capacity for healthy introspection. Or the ability to transcend the material world to find even greater happiness within. If only Beezos had turned to omphaloskepsis, he might have saved himself $500 million — and be looked on as a real success.

Omphaloskepsis is another word for navel-gazing.  While this pursuit has gotten a bad rap from the money-changers as a useless waste of time, that is only because they’re not aware of its transcendent power, both as an aid to meditation and a way to contemplate the vast cosmos from which all life is connected.

After all, the navel literally represents the location of one’s birth, since it’s made up of scar tissue from the spot where the umbilical cord was attached. By focusing the attention there, you can experience a rebirth of the spirit as often as you like. For centuries, many seekers of higher truth have practiced gazing at the navel to induce a trance-like state.  The Hesychasts, a sect of “quietists” from c.AD 1050, believed that through deep contemplation of the body, the divine light of God could be seen.

Yoga practitioners know the navel as the site of the nabhi chakra, which they consider a powerful center of the body. It’s also a place to exercise “gut feelings,” like if you’re contemplating building a superyacht in Rotterdam and haven’t given thought to whether it will fit under the Koningshaven Bridge, now considered a national monument.

*”Eieren gooien naar superjacht Jeff Bezos ( Throwing eggs at Jeff Bezos’ superyacht)” is a call to the international egg-tossing community to bombard Bezos’ boat on June 1. More than 20,000 people have signed up to participate thus far.

What day of the year combines haggis, whisky and poetry? Why, it’s “Burns Night,” the January 25th celebration of the poet Robert Burns’ birth. Many mark the occasion by attending a Burns’ Supper, a night that includes a tasty meal, performances of Burns’ work and a speech in honor of the great Scottish Bard. To throw your own Burns’ Supper, here are suggestions for the order of events:

Once everyone has arrived, the host should say a few words of welcome. Then everyone sits and Burns’ Selkirk Grace is said:

Some Folk hae meat that canna eat,

And some can eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

So let the Lord be Thanket!

Following grace, the appetizer is served and the haggis is piped in. In case you’re not familiar with the Scottish dish, haggis is a pudding containing sheep’s heart, lungs and liver, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach.

The host performs the famous Burns Night poem Address to a Haggis, everyone toasts the haggis and the main meal is served, followed by dessert.

After dinner, the first Burns recital is performed, then the main tribute speech to Burns is given, referred to as “The Immortal Memory.” Afterwards, a second Burns recital is performed. And let’s not forget the “Toast to the Lassies,” followed by a “Reply to the Toast to the Lassies,” before the final Burns recital is performed.

At the end of the evening, the host thanks everyone for attending, and then “Auld Lang Syne” is sung, hands joined at the line “And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!.”

And should you wish to memorize a few stanzas of Burns for the big night, you could do worse than Holden Caulfield’s favorite, “Comin Thro’ the Rye.”

Comin thro’ the rye, poor body,
     Comin thro’ the rye,
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie
     Comin thro’ the rye.
[CHORUS.]
          Oh Jenny ‘s a’ weet poor body
               Jenny ‘s seldom dry,
          She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie
               Comin thro’ the rye.
Gin a body meet a body
     Comin thro’ the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body —
     Need a body cry.
          Oh Jenny ‘s a’ weet, &c.
Gin a body meet a body
     Comin thro’ the glen;
Gin a body kiss a body —
     Need the warld ken!
          Oh Jenny ‘s a’ weet, &c.
[Second Setting]
Gin a body meet a body, comin thro’ the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body, need a body cry;
Ilka body has a body, ne’er a ane hae I;
But a’ the lads they loe me, and what the waur am I.
Gin a body meet a body, comin frae the well,
Gin a body kiss a body, need a body tell;
Ilka body has a body, ne’er a ane hae I,
But a the lads they loe me, and what the waur am I.
Gin a body meet a body, comin frae the town,
Gin a body kiss a body, need a body gloom;
Ilka Jenny has her Jockey, ne’er a ane hae I,
But a’ the lads they loe me, and what the waur am I.