Midnight Pub

Would you rub the crystal ball?

~nsilvestri

Hey, ~bartender. I've somehow managed to get into absinthe. I don't know how to drink it with the sugar cube and the fire or anything, but I do like the flavor, so I'll take whatever you got.

I'm an anxious mess the last several months. The last couple weeks in particular have left me existentially exhausted. But these negative thought loops make me think a lot. Not about anything that I want to think about, but thinking nonetheless.

One of the recurring thoughts is a question: if you had a crystal ball that could tell you the exact date you would die, would you choose to rub it and get the answer?

My long-term anxiety sees every month as less than guaranteed. Sometimes I can't even take a week for granted. If I had the ball, all I would have to do is ask, and know whether or not my anxiety is well-founded...but doing so puts a countdown on the rest of my life, regardless of whether the answer is in 6 weeks or 6 decades.

And I'm not sure whether not knowing or knowing too much is the greater curse. They say there's bliss in ignorance, but nobody mentions the fear and worry in ignorance, either.


ew

I definitely would not rub the crystal balls but rather dispose of them. I don't need to know everything, in order to know something.

reply

eaplmx

I don't have anxiety (meaning, low level and not clinical, since they say it's not binary but with gradual levels) but my wife does, and she had a whole treatment so I can talk from my side.

If you have all the answers, your mind will find other things to be anxious about. Anyway you'll want to have some certainties which has been difficult in our relationship, and more with my logical mind.

"No, I cannot guarantee everything will be alright, but I have to say that to you, since that's what you need"

That said, I'll recommend that anyone in your relationships should talk to a professional, since for people w/o anxiety is really difficult to empathize. I think it's like in my case people doesn't seem to understand how your body reacts to allergens most of the people don't. But as my wife says, at least I have a visible reaction.

reply

contrarian

I got some absinthe leaves to put in an infuser once.

My life is tragic so I would rub that crystal ball without hesitation. Knowing the manner of my death would be a different story however.

reply

tatterdemalion

Good evening, ~nsilvestri! I'm also a fairly new absinthe aficionado. My understanding is that the fire is a modern gimmick, and is actually harmful to the flavor (and alcohol content). The sugar thing is simple... it's fun with special equipment, but you can do it without. Measure a shot of absinthe into your glass, put a regular slotted spoon over the glass, and put the sugar cube on the spoon. Fill a carafe with ice-water, and drip it slowly over the sugar cube until it melts into the drink, and keep dripping water until the absinthe is completely cloudy and diluted by 3-4 times. The sugar is optional according to your taste, but the water is essential...

What absinthe are you drinking? I've got Lucid, which is a little too anise-forward for me, and St. George, which is perfect, but not as lovely a color.

As for anxiety about death... I don't know. Partly it's different for me because I've lived long enough already, and I can be indifferent to death, neither wishing for it nor fearing it. For someone else, it may or may not help to remember that consciousness is an aberration, that despite the illusion of self-hood, you're really just a physical system that's part of a deterministic universe, an uncanny puppet made of meat. Think about that puppet having existential dread; isn't it ridiculous? The puppet pretending it's not only a person, but a neurotic one. Hopefully, you can have a good laugh at its predicament, while also having some compassion for it being saddled with something as MALIGNANTLY USELESS as consciousness.

reply

nsilvestri

It is St. George! The first bottle of absinthe I ever purchased, actually. I haven't tried much else, but I went to a local small-batch distillery and tried their gins and it didn't quite have the complexity of flavor that St. George did, so maybe I spoiled myself from the get-go.

Being a conscious meat puppet is quite the oddity, isn't it? And yet, a conscious meat puppet with loves and hates and desires and fears all the same. And as long as I am a meat puppet, that matters to me, so anxious I will continue to be. I'm still fairly young (in my opinion) and things are going so well for me in life otherwise, so it makes the uncertainty sting a little more.

reply

tatterdemalion

I'm told there are better absinthes than St. George, but I haven't tried any of them, as they aren't available locally. The Youtuber "Ligeia Resurrected" has a good channel for absinthe reviews.

LigeiaResurrected (https)
reply

tetris

True ignorance is bliss. Uncertainty is stressful. I'd rub the crystal.

As for anxiety management (I hope you're doing okay in these pressing times btw), I find it a fun exercise to try to detach from myself and consider myself part of the large amorphous human organism, and look at how it's matured over time:

* Timeline of Human Developments
* Time Timeline of the Far Future

You and I might not be around in X years, but we live on in the patchy memory of others and will be a part of the human organism that stretches out over the planet and reaches for the stars.

reply

eaplmx

Wow, that timeline is amazing!

I've been thinking (or overthinking, IDK) on having a meaningful life, perhaps for 40 years more, and then I read about what has happened in the last 100 years (let's say, 1 generation) , 200 years (2 generations), and that gives you a huge perspective on you being a single person in a whole universe of time and billions of human beings.

Aaaaand after that inmense universe, we are a whole world for, we say, 50 people in this day.

reply

tetris

We are riding the wave of progression that our ancestors incrementally contributed to!

And I do mean our ancestors⁰, and not just yours or mine:

  • Go back 20 generations and you and I share an ancestor with Europe¹
  • Go back 80 generations and you and I share an ancestor with the World².
  • Go back 170 generations and we all share all the same ancestors³.

[Footnotes]

  • 0: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/humans-are-all-more-closely-related-than-we-commonly-think/
  • 1: (2022 - 1492) / 25, maximum estimate
  • 2: (2022 - 55) / 25, maximum estimate
  • 3: (2022 - -2200) / 25, maximum estimate
reply

eaplmx

That's an interesting 'modern' paradox. We share the same roots, and at the time we are individualistic, somehow different and unique, somehow extremely similar.

We want to be part of being a human, and at the same time being a single individual.

There are people amazed by the past, some others by the future. A few are enjoying the present. And some others have achieved to enjoy the 3 of them. I don't know, it makes you think and feel.

reply

tetris
A few are enjoying the present.

I like this. It's kind of a perspective changer. We've come so far, and yet a lot of us are not content where we are now. It is hard to be given the current wealth disparity and diverging political landscape, but one should still try to keep perspective of where we are now and what we should take for granted.

Thanks for this

reply

inquiry
> One of the recurring thoughts is a
> question: if you had a crystal ball
> that could tell me the exact date I
> would die, would you choose to rub
> it and get the answer?

Only if it came with a certificate of authenticity so I could finally say to others hellbent on wasting my time something like, "Um, I'd love to join you in that obvious-to-anyone-with-half-a-brain time waste, but as you can see <points vigorously and exuberantly at certificate>, I don't have nearly enough time to be blowing on <whatever someone else thinks might end the world if not accomplished immediately over the next half of forever>!"

You know?

> My long-term anxiety sees every month
> as less than guaranteed. Sometimes
> I can't even take a week for
> granted. If I had the ball, all
> I would have to do is ask, and
> know whether or not my anxiety is
> well-founded...but doing so puts a
> countdown on the rest of my life,
> regardless of whether the answer is
> in 6 weeks or 6 decades.

You've heard of the thief in the night, right? They could arrive before your next blink. I suspect remembering that ends countdown anxiety, the message being something like "Be here and now every here and now, 'kay?"

> And I'm not sure whether not knowing
> or knowing too much is the greater
> curse. They say there's bliss in
> ignorance, but nobody mentions the
> fear and worry in ignorance, either.

There's no fear/worry in the kind of profound ignorance referenced by that phrase. Yours must be some lesser, half-assed ignorance. Find a way to put both cheeks into it.

Kidding.

Sorta.

(Actually, I think the ignorance referenced by that phrase comes part and parcel with/in so-called "abiding in awareness" - as opposed to embracing the web of chains that might be described as "re-presentation-as-though-re-al". One must ignore(ance) the endless, descending fractal slope of conceptuality by turning awareness back upon itself, resting dumber-than-a-box-of-rocks blissful therein. But keep in mind that one drop of un-ignorance (i.e. a smidgen of a notion/concept) and it's blissful game over....)

(Also, "keep in mind" is bad advice, because the goal is absence of mind... but here we are seemingly in mind, so of course we're going to re-ference it as though re-al....)

<gurgling sounds>

reply