Sentimentality is a prediction of how we’ll feel in the future. We prime for nostalgia by making a guess about the wants and feelings of a future potential self; one that maybe misses this restaurant or perhaps regrets leaving that relationship. We take photos to assuage these maybe hurt feelings, and cling to mementoes to ensure possible future longings have something on which to center. A focus on the present, on the other hand, manifests as a greater concern about the here and now. It’s an embrace of the short-term experience — what’s actually happening, versus what may happen at some point — and makes no predictions. It’s the result of feeling, doing, and experiencing, rather than assuming, anticipating, and worrying. It’s that last word in particular — worrying — that I associate most with sentimentality. People collect and maintain and stress over the strangest things, all in the pursuit of some potential happiness; some unknowable ‘maybe’ that will justify the storage space rented, the hours lost, the stomach acid churned. And this is a shame, because such concerns inherently result in less attention available to spend on the present. Sentimentality often means ignoring those you care about now in hopes of having the right people around you someday. It means missing out on fully experiencing a moment today, in order to take the right series of photos to remind yourself what’s happened, tomorrow. It means collecting souvenirs of events at the expense of actually taking part in the action. It’s no wonder, then, that sentiment is often a grossly distorted image of the past: it’s a picture taken by someone who wasn’t truly there; wasn’t fully experiencing that which they were photographing. It’s a xerox of a moment, lacking the fidelity of a true memory, and warping our perception of each new ‘present’ as a result. Because what ‘now’ could possibly compete with a blurred ‘then,’ with all the blemishes and scars softened by time and flawed remembering, all the context blinked away?
When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life.
Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
Food is the only thing we talk about,” Salazar told me. “It’s the only thing we actually share as a city, from the poorest guy to the richest guy. One of the theories is that we suck at soccer, so the one thing we have to be proud of is food.
Her whole life is a performance art piece where she plays a noxious brat with great skill, and poses herself, either eerily like one of her mother’s dolls, or sexually, like her father’s nudes. And as the carapace of fame around her has expanded, she has shrunk within it…Reading this book, you realize that Lena Dunham has been playing “Lena Dunham” for a long time. She is not real.
The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”