Letters from an Epicurean (4)

Everybody wants to be loved, to fit in. The fear that happens once you start swimming away from the shore, that you’re not going to find a next island, before your strength gives out. I think it’s very rational to be afraid of thinking for yourself, because you may very well find yourself at odds with the community on which you depend. And I think for some of us it’s just a compulsive behavior. It’s not even necessarily the smartest evolutionary strategy. It’s just hard to do it any other way.” — Eric Weinstein (link to the full interview)

A beautiful passage! And I’d recommend listening to the entire interview.

But, no, not everyone wants love. Few things are as irritating and unpleasant as the wrong type of love, the unwanted love, the love that is not coming from a respected source, a well-informed source, or a well-intentioned source. A love that comes with an agenda for you, placing you within and in the service of a scheme.┬áConsider, for example, how rebellious kids say no to the love of their parents. They are not refusing love. What they are refusing is its high cost, namely control. And, that is not the only love against which we rebel. We would — or, at least, we should — also rebel against the love that is the reward of telling a lie.

When I heard Eric Weinstein, I remembered you quitting your job. And I remembered my own decision to decline the VENI. No, we are not refusing the idea of fitting in. We just want a different fit, a more truthful fit. We are not refusing a place in our community. We just want a place that is more true. Rebellious, for us, is a way of expressing I can do better than this. The present community might not have a place for that, but we hope that a future community might. We swim away from the shore, toward the hope of a future community. That “next island” is not a different place to find. It is a future to create.

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