Carl Rustung

How to cope with life; inspiration, motivation, productivity


Peter Thiel: Back to the Future

Review of Ross Douthat’s “The Decadent Society: How we became the Victims of our own Success”, outlining “four aspects of decadence: stagnation (technological and economic mediocrity), sterility (declining birth rates), sclerosis (institutional failure), and repetition (cultural exhaustion).”

1 quote

Remaking remakes of remakes

“Repetition” names the condition of our culture, endlessly remaking remakes of remakes. Whereas the fifties, the sixties, the seventies, and the eighties all had distinctive by-the-decade styles in design, clothing, music, and art, from the nineties to now feels like one big remix.


Glaser on professionalism

Early in my career I wanted to be professional, that was my complete aspiration in my early life because professionals seemed to know everything - not to mention they got paid for it. Later I discovered after working for a while that professionalism itself was a limitation. After all, what professionalism means in most cases is diminishing risks. [...] Anyhow, when you are doing something in a recurring way to diminish risk or doing it in the same way as you have done it before, it is clear why professionalism is not enough. After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.

Too good

If you do something too good, then, after a while, if you don’t watch it, you start showing off. And then you’re not as good any more.

Holden Caulfield
The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger, 1951


Creative money panic

This character’s take on freelancing resonated with me, just replace writing with drawing.

Fortunately for me, formal education counts little for most artists (and, according to my experience, less than is commonly supposed for most other people). Though I wanted ‘to write’, I had little idea of how to earn money at it – and a complete mental blank, with unpleasant elements of panic, whenever I thought about trying to earn money at anything else.

Robert Aickman
“Meeting Mr. Millar” (Short story)
from “Cold Hand in Mine”, 1975

Bye, free time

Tried Erik Rood’s depressing free time calculator. Says I only have four years of free time left in my life, the rest is sleep, chores and work. Not the best timing, trying to enjoy a work-free summer vacation, suddenly freaking out about bullshit jobs and the ludic life and “I should have spent more time at the library with my sketchbook.”

I read once that hunting and gathering societies only work about 20 hours a week. Learning that got under my skin really bad. Wednesday is just as much a part of your life as Saturday, but you have to remind people of that. [...] My life is going to be filled with just as many Wednesdays as Saturdays, and I would like to claim more than 2/7ths of my life for myself, thanks.