Cure for Fatalism
|Sachin Kesiraju||Jan 4, 2020|
As we enter the new decade I’ve been thinking a lot about the public narratives that attempt to define our near future — climate apocalypse, impending recession, cancel culture, socialist America. While these are undoubtedly challenging problems that possess the magnitude to threaten not only our individual freedoms but our survival as a species, I’m wary of how the media propagation of these ideas influences behavior (and by extension morale) at the local level. When the new generation instead of pondering “What am I going to do when I grow up?” asks “Won’t that only matter if I grow up?” then perhaps we as a society have manifested our alarmism into fatalistic paralysis.
As much as the media contributes to mainstream awareness, my observation with media reported crises is that they tend to breed self-limiting beliefs. When you look around and see the world repenting in the face of a seemingly bleak future it creates these nihilistic restrictions of the mind that rob agency (“what’s the point of doing anything if the world is doomed”). The real concern is when our culture over time creates acceptance for using imagined external circumstances to deflect personal shortcomings (I can already see the Vice headline for “How climate change ruined my marriage” — see also: Hanlon’s razor)
In investing, fund managers tend to be generally optimistic not for some irrational belief in the efficient markets but simply because apocalyptic thinking in investing is a lose-lose since everything goes to nothing. If you bet on the world ending and you’re right, all your riches won’t matter since you and the concept of money will cease to exist anyway. Since it isn’t profitable to think about how you might die, you might as well act like you’re going to live forever. In my view it’d actually be perfectly rational for the average person distressed by the constantly evolving crisis in the external world to adopt a similar view
the cure for fatalism is "act as if you have control over everything because if you don't then it doesn't matter how you act anyway" — @alicemazzy
What I’ve been consuming
Back from my trip to Europe, I’m currently spending some family time in Mexico. In other news, my little brother in high school got accepted early to NYU for this fall — feel free to send freshman advice (such as how not to dropout of college lol)