Anyone who read Harry G. Frankfurt’s On Bullshit or On Truth couldn’t wait to read its seemingly logical counterpart, Assholes: A Theory by Aaron James. Both philosophers cover alarming American cultural trends, such as the insidious force of “bullshit,” a noted lack of appreciation for the truth, and the so-called freedoms that we abuse on a daily basis in a truly asshole-like fashion.
As much as language is a tool for us to crack things open, it sets limits. There’s a reason why you understand everything I’m saying: we have all agreed that these words refer to the same thing.
While words like “are” and “is” presents facts, we also have words called “modals” that comment on how reality should, could, or might be.
Jesus, our store manager, was at the forefront and I sat at the very end, the Judas brewing in the corner, unwilling to follow a direction that feels like I’m fighting against the current. To add some weight to the metaphor, none of my other coworkers looked nor spoke directly to me. Who could blame them? If I couldn’t be a cook, I was useless in their eyes. And without any use, who are you to a group of people, anyways?
So often, it feels like Marx was kind of right: we’re trying to run past what society demands of us so we can just have a moment to fall deeper into ourselves. To process. To make. To develop. Whether you’re the starving artist trope or a busy individual trying to develop a new scientific theory, we’re all fighting to get to spend time with our human potential, our estranged pet in the modern day (unless you’re denying it, then that’s a whole other story).
My moment of impact this week occurred after watching The Truman Show for the second time in at least a decade. This moment, which is still unfolding, occurred as Jim Carrey delivers his Oscar-worthy performance as Truman Burbank having a nervous breakdown in the process of hunting for truth in an entirely fictitious world. The rolling waves and thundering night sky you see in the GIF there are man-made, the product of a television set that Truman doesn’t even know he was raised on.