Fact: Our Brains Can’t Handle So Much BS At One Time

Does Twitter give you a skull-shaking headache these days? It seems that nowadays there is always a lot to take in. Take last week: the disgusting Transgender Military Ban, Scaramucci’s WH meltdown, the fight for the Skinny Repeal, and now ballistic missile strikes from North Korea. How is it that I nostalgically miss when Twitter was just everyone freaking out over Amanda Bynes asking Drake to murder her vagina. Those were simpler times.

Now, the minute two events happen simultaneously, people are so quick to yell, “Distraction! This is a distraction from [insert clusterf*ck of the week here].” I’m sure another one is happening right now as I type this.

Please.

The amount of information we now have thrown at us in our fingertips all day is too much for one brain to fully comprehend. No, really.
A couple of months ago I read a book called Thank You For Being Late by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Ignore how snobby that sentence sounds, and focus on this. The only thing enlightening and relevant thing I found in its 461 pages was a concept known as Moore’s Law. Moore’s Law is a theory from 1965 from Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel, and it was used to exponentially chart the growth of both speed and processing power in a microchip. Moore theorized that about every two years the speed and power of the microchip would double, and so on. The accuracy of Moore’s law in the course of the next 50 or so years, led it to be a term used to describe exponential growth in a changing landscape, and essentially the rate of which the market churns out things, that in which, we process.

Maddie, what the f*@k do microchips have to do with anything right now? Let me explain.

In the book, Moore’s law is best illustrated by an annoyingly repetitive metaphor about a king and a peasant wagering on some grains of rice. A king meets a peasant, who is conveniently the inventor of chess, and is so amazed at the game that he bets the peasant he can win. The peasant agrees, but says he only wants to feed his family, so he bets that the king reward him with a grain of rice for each square of the chessboard, except double the amount on each square moving forward, so one on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, and so on… The king agrees without realizing that double yielding the rice over 63 times, actually adds up to about 18 quintillion grains of race. Well, Friedman asserts that we have now entered a “second chessboard” of innovation/acceleration, meaning that the “rice” we now have at our disposal is beyond quintillions of what we once started with. Stay with me. I’m getting there. Friedman met with Eric Teller, the CEO of Google’s X research and development lab, to discuss Moore’s law and its relevance to acceleration in technology and social movements. Teller, who rode into their meeting on roller blades, enthusiastically created a graph to illustrate the how accelerations in Moore’s law and in the flow of ideas are together increasing the pace of change that is challenging the ability of humans to, well, adapt.


What we are seeing here in Teller’s graph, is that, “even though human beings, and societies have steadily adapted to change, on average, the technological change is one accelerating so fast that it has risen above the average rate at which most people can absorb all these changes.” The result, is well, cultural angst and those Twitter-induced headaches. We simply cannot adapt as fast as what is being thrown in our direction. It is impossible to wholeheartedly and fully focus on all of these concepts at once, in a news cycle, on a Twitter feed everyday.

So, if you’re feeling like you’re constantly playing catch up, you’re probably just operating at an average level of adaptability. Next time you’re at a party and someone complains how “they’re so out of the loop” explain Moore’s Law to them, maybe even bring some prop rice for some showmanship; you’re welcome.

Relating to Lana Del Rey is a red flag, and I’m doing alright.

There have been so many things I have wanted to write here, I promise. I have lists of ideas scribbled on napkins, ripped notebook pages, and bulleted lists clogging up my iPhone notes. It’s just…that I can’t write them. For some reason, within the last month or so I’ve built up a stigma about posting to this blog. Everything I write for it, I delete. If this makes the cut, it’ll be a miracle. I don’t know if this thing started back up recently because The Funyun now has over 1K followers on Twitter (I kind of have a feeling deep down that’s definitely not it) but in the past I have grappled with the whole “writing for an audience” vs. “writing for me” type of thing. I’d like to think that I write for me but also like, aren’t we all writing so that someone reads it and receives it well? Was this ever a thing I did that was “just for me” ? You can’t answer that. I certainly can’t answer that. Here comes the crippling self-doubt and existential meltdown that at 21 years old I am appropriately having. 

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I’m in a very transitional part of my life. If I’m being honest, I don’t really know who my friends are. I don’t do a lot of things for fun. I recently just left a job that I was working at pretty much full time. Since the end of April I was either at work, doing other creative work, or asleep. I have friends, sure. Although often it seems that my best friends have their own best friends, if that makes sense. This is just something I’ve gotten used to after using the past 3 years throwing myself from one work environment into the next, trying to fool myself out of an anxiety disorder. Spoiler alert: you can have the best grades, the best job, and still be an anxious mess. How unfair, right? Anyways, I am sitting here, age 21, just thinking about how at age 13 I was probably in the same mindset. Isn’t it funny how life works out?

I have still been writing, and enjoying doing so on a platform where I feel less paralyzed. This summer I’ve been writing for Mack In Style, a lovely fashion and lifestyle blog. That’s been great. You can find that writing here, here, and here

I’ve started going to therapy a while back. It turns out pretending to relate to Lana Del Rey lyrics wholeheartedly can often be a sign of something else. For a while I was a die hard Marina Diamandis and Lana fan that I swore their often sad aesthetic accurately portrayed the anxious mess inside my head. I wanted to embody Lana, in a way. In high school once a guy told me that I looked like Lana at school one day and at the time I thought was the nicest thing. The fact I even remember that compliment says something about my obsession with her. This week Lana’s new album Lust For Life came out, and I found myself staring at the ceiling listening track by track thinking back to the times when I angstily thought she understood me. Honestly? Her music has phonetically not changed at all. The songs sound exactly the same. It didn’t bother me, but the fact that I am now recognizing how beautiful and romanticized her angelic voice makes depression sound did bother me. She makes sickness sound so sweet. As a teen I totally bought into it; that somehow my discomfort was beautiful and cruel in a way. It wasn’t. That is bullshit; but those intrusive thoughts are easily brought to surface when your mind is already halfway there and a practical angel sings you into validating those sad thoughts. 

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Anyways, off the Lana tangent, I also stopped going to therapy. I’m still figuring my mind out. If I learned anything from what has been the hardest school year of my life is that I truly am my own biggest roadblock. 

I have a bright future. I work really damn hard, but that’s all not going to matter if I am not mentally there for myself. I’m not sure how to be there for myself yet. Outsiders love to tell me their own remedies to anxiety, I’ve noticed. Drink water, try this natural thing I like, make new friends, go out – and while it’s nice of them to think of me, most of that advice isn’t going to personally help me, but rather just give the person offering advice a better feeling about the whole thing. I’m learning that I need to learn what makes me happy. It seems crazy to some that I’ve forgotten what does. 

I’m working on it, I promise. 

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