The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 7
In my line of work taking on Critical Social Justice and other forms of increasingly dominant societal insanity, I get asked a lot of questions. If there’s one question I’m asked more often than any other, it’s how don’t I go crazy looking at this stuff every day? To be fair, I’ve flown pretty close to that sun, but I didn’t fall in, and so I’ve reflected quite a bit on it. I thought it might help people to spell out some of the answer.
Because I was probably pushed pretty close to the brink more than once, I’ve had a chance to figure out what aspects of living in today’s Age of Narratives, of which Critical Social Justice is just one important and ugly part, really threaten my sanity. Honestly, a lot of it is the media more than the work, and this doesn’t just me the media, but also social media, alternative media, and the rest of our whole media landscape. That said, I positively identify cable news as a serial and mostly useless offender and think you should just turn it off. News is noise, at least for the present moment.
I try to step away from politics and take care with my social media interaction as well, since it seems like those things do little to promote anything worthwhile in the world while making life unbearable from a perspective of subjective experience. For those things, I insist that partially unplugging is necessary to stay sane within our prevailing Age of Narratives.
Regarding the work, which is what people really want to know about, there are two things I do to stay sane. I did my homework to understand the insanity itself on its own terms, to learn its logic, to get into its head. What we understand might exasperate us or frustrate us, but it doesn’t make us crazy. I also did my homework to understand the alternative: consistent liberal principles. These combined let me avoid the gaslighting, know what I stand for and who I am, and make it clear that, despite all the wild narratives flying around me, I really am able to occupy some outcrop of rock on the mountain of the moral high ground. Knowing the seas we’re sailing in and where I can put a foot on dry land keeps me sane, and it can keep you sane too.
Previous episodes of this podcast are available here.