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Jun 1, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

I didn't even know books not being worth reading was a elite intellectual meme lol. Well, these rationalists are the same people who drink Soylent right? Joyless nerds? I'm not in the rationalist scene, if anything I'm in the irrationalist scene

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It’s been argued to me a lot; but I’m a cohort traitor, I drank Soylent for years! The take I’ve most been exposed to is pretty defensible: β€œthe majority of non-fiction books could be dramatically shorter with no loss of value.” I can’t disagree that much with that, but I did think the great books addition was interesting and worth quibbling with, if only as an e.g. of a strength potentially being a weakness (in some limited sense).

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Jun 1, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

You drank Soylent?! I pretend I do not see it

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I *loved* it. This was about 2-3 years after it was a thing, and I got all of my Soylent from colleagues who'd gone "all in" at some point but had realized it wasn't what they were after. I hate eating; I am completely insensitive to myself and my physical condition; and I hate things that expire, require any modification to posture or setting, or leave any sort of cleanup. Soylent was banging for me!

But it turns out I'm not *wholly* insensate, so when I stopped having easy access to others' leftovers β€”which lasted forever, BTWβ€” I stopped it altogether. I'm not paying to feel like shit; I only do that shit for free.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

β€œBut I’m 100% certain that if you gathered some passages from Marcus Aurelius and hired a halfway intelligent blogger to produce content made to sound like Marcus Aurelius, nobody would be able to tell the difference.”

A bit of an aside, but wait until he finds out about Ryan Holiday lol. I’ve read some of his stuff and I’ve read Aurelius, and boy are they very different experiences.

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Jun 5, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

Christ, Mills, I don’t know where to start. I don’t even know how I happened upon this post but, wow, and thank you.

A couple of things; my beloved is a therapist, he hails from The Black Country (in the UK), called so because it was full of iron foundries, and everything was coated in black soot (as an aside, the molten iron would glow red in amongst the black at night; Tolkien based Mordor on the place). In The Black Country, culture dictates that love and respect are expressed by offering up cold, hard truths. All that to say, your therapist went Black Country on your assβ€”may we all be so blessed.

Also, the incident you described reminded me of something I read in a book by Richard Rohr (I think it was Breathing Under Water):

TheΒ preferred ego patternΒ is:

sin ----> punishment ----> repentance ----> transformation

TheΒ grace patternΒ is:

sin ----> unconditional love ----> transformation ----> repentance

And, actually, a third thing (there could easily be many more, I’ve watched Tree of Life upward of 40 times). When I read β€œI felt a familiar set of sensations: the β€œrising” metabolism, the feeling of pitching forward as one’s posture arranges itself for combat, the surging, transporting ecstasy of violence gathering” I was shocked by how eagerly my own body responded to these words, especially the β€œecstasy of violence gathering”. I (delusionally) think of myself as being relatively peaceful, and this was a wonderful reminder of how unintegrated the rageful and violent parts of myself are. I’m so glad to have found your writing. Thank you again.

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God, what a great comment to read! She really did go Black Country on me a lot; a later therapist once observed that β€œit sounds like she decided to raise you,” which may have been so (and in any event was effective). She ruled!

Need to get into the grace pattern!!! Also: I was highly likely to subscribe to your publication just based on how wonderful this comment is, but the line in the description β€œJust kidding, birds aren’t coming for you” sealed it.

Thanks again!

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Jun 2, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

banger

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May 31, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

Re: Hanania and great books, I agree with your take. There is no substitute for seeing for oneself how the greatest thinkers in history actually thought and worked through their ideas. Many other good reasons to read the great books, although I went to a great books college so I'm biased.

I wonder if a lot of this comes down to how much someone actually enjoys reading, as opposed to seeing it merely as an instrumental means to knowledge acquisition. I got the sense in his essay that he is more the latter, but that's just speculation. I'm sure it's related to your great point about one's ability to internalize the author and immerse oneself in the world of the book. The greatest of the greats-- Homer, Plato, some parts of the bible, Cervantes, Shakespeare, pretty much require that ability in order to actually enjoy them.

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Good insight here. I think you’re right about Hanania. I think a lot of people ask of a book, β€œwhat’s in it for me?” A better question might be β€œwhat’s in me, for it?”

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Mar 18Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

I like what you wrote here, Mills, about Hanania. The dubious logic of his unnecessary extension caused me to unsubscribe to him. I’d been giving him the benefit of the doubt on the identity politics stuff, but dismissing Shakespeare was a dealbreaker for me.

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Jun 10, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

Loved this!

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Jun 9, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

Reading your pieces always feels like a children's fun house - I mean this in an absolutely complimentary way. I can enter a few different ways, explore particular rooms, go down a slide or two and get tied up in a ball pit. Which is to say, I enjoyed this one a lot.

"But because I love Malick, I was willing to endure and entertain elements of the film I’d likely not have tolerated, or sought to interpret favorably, in another filmmaker."

I totally agree with this sentiment, especially when it comes to Malick. I don't necessarily look forward to his films, but I know they're made with the utmost care and craftsmanship, and I appreciate certain artistic choices, whereas with another filmmaker, I'll deem the same choices a mistake. Maybe this comes with being foundational to a style? I can't count the times I've used the term "Malick-like" as a knock against a film, but Malick himself with Malick-like the hell out of a movie, and I'll love it...

That being said, I skipped Knight of Cups and will remedy that small misfortune this month!

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β€œChildren’s fun house” is my dream vibe for writing; I have this terrible problem with heaviness, intensity, overdetermination, etc. in my prose, and I’m always hoping to figure out how to be a little more playful or multiple, less hectoring and didactic, etc. Thanks for the very kind words (and for reading!)!

I hope KOC isn’t a waste of time for you; maybe it was a movie particularly suited to me, I’m not sure, and I’m not sure why that would be. But LMK if you do check it out, stoked for any / all takes!!!

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Jun 5, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

I mean, really good therapists are the paid-for parents we actually needed (said with no shade at all to the parents we got).

So happy to have discovered you guys, and to have you over at D&B. I’m about to re-read this beauty of a post. Thanks again, Mills

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Jun 3, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

Anger is a boner made me laugh. Accurate though.

I've only watched "A Hidden Life" which I thought was a great movie. However, now I'm curious to watch these two movies.

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Jun 1, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

This was great in so many ways. But what I appreciate most is the nuance of it all. That, and the undecided - yet keen to ponder - humility with which you explore the ideas present in Malick’s film.

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Jun 1, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

Lmao Hanania - imagine having no understanding of STYLE!

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Style is a perfect element to exemplify this phenomenon! I think the debate comes down to: is there information / knowledge / something of value in style? And I (and many) think the answer is β€œyes,” while many others β€”particularly rationalists, but I don’t want to over-identify Hanania with that sceneβ€” think not.

And in fairness, although I am confident in my β€œyes,” I’ll admit that there’s at least an interesting question there, especially for people not naturally mimetic or aesthetic or whatever! I do think it’s amusing from him given how much his own style is, I suspect, part of his popularity!

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May 31, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

Here's a serious question, since you alluded to it. As a young viewer did you identify the most closely with White? It seems that way from this anecdote.

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I always identified with Exley, probably for physiological reasons but also because when younger I thought of myself as "intense" rather than "angry" (lol). With the fullness of time, I think it's safe to say that the character I am actually most like is Dudley Smith.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

β€œHanania is, these paragraphs imply, on the hunt for discrete insights, or knowledge, and he notes that can get these as effectively from β€œscientific papers and news magazines” as he can from non-fiction books. Each insight is, he suggests, basically fungible.”

Ugh. This ruthless drive for *efficiency* and parcelled-up nuggets of information. You nailed it. 🎯 Such a great piece.

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I should say that living out here in the SFBA has changed me a bit; I kind of like this type now! It's not my type, and I think I generally frustrate and disappoint them, but I can get into it as a mode or scene, alien and often really misaligned with me in values and aesthetics but complete unto itself and with some qualities.

Considering writing a short memoir: "Rationalists I Have Known and Loved Despite It All."

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Jun 1, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

Makes sense, I tend to think of it as The Software Engineer’s Way - but possibly that is unfair. I haven’t met many software engineers that read a lot of fiction/novels.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž

I hope you stuck with the therapist. She’s good.

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Oh I did. I saw her twice weekly for seven years, then once weekly for eight; finally, she was contacted by her state board about whether I was out of state (I was) and we had to conclude our relationship. I've never found another like her. She saved my life.

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May 31, 2023Liked by Mills, 𝔄𝔯𝔠π”₯𝔒𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔒𝔰𝔰 𝔬𝔣 π”’π”Ÿπ”©π”žπ”©π”¦π”ž, Omar Khalid

Well you had many good years with her. Years ago, I had a great therapist. I once asked her about myself, β€œwhat if there’s not really anyone inside me?”

Without skipping a beat, she said - β€œI can assure you there’s someone in there. I’ve had many vacant patients - after a few sessions, they start dressing like me.”

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Hahahaha, wow, that's very much something I used to talk to her about; her response wasn't as funny, but it was similar. I wonder how many people feel this way?

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