Jul 23, 2018

Arthur Brooks recommends taking a politics cleanse

At 1:04:00 in his interview with Ezra Klein (a):

Brooks: I've got a piece of advice for people listening to us. I'm gonna prove to everybody listening to us – including you & me – that the stakes are actually lower than we think they are.

Here's the piece of advice: it's called a politics cleanse... kinda like becoming an ideological vegan for a couple weeks. Just two weeks.

The communists or the fascists or whoever won't take over in that time. It's okay.

Do yourself a favor – don't listen to anything about politics, and don't read anything about politics, and don't have any conversations about politics...

At the end of two weeks, if you actually do this – and it's hard – but if you actually do this, you're going to come back and find a bunch of things.

You're going to find that the world has gone on like a Mexican soap opera. You pick it up two weeks later and nothing's actually changed.

The second thing you're gonna find is that you were used by powerful people for their profit. That's actually what's going on. People are trying to whip you up and get you into a frenzy all the time... for their profit...

There's people in the outrage-industrial complex that are making tons of money, and getting powerful and famous. And they feed on your brain waves.

And the third thing you're gonna find out is that you're wasting tons of time that you coulda been spending cultivating relationships of love in your life. And that should be the true source of your sustenance.

Klein: ... sure that's true, but there's a deep privilege associated with it. I'll use myself as an example. I'm not at risk of deportation, right? I can step back from politics for a couple weeks. I'm not at risk of losing my healthcare. Y'know, I'm in pretty good shape.


Brooks: [Right,] there's kinda a privilege in not paying attention. You're lucky if you don't have to deal with the politics...

Here's the reason we should still do a politics cleanse. It's important to be able to figure out what is turned up to 10 and what isn't.

See, what's going on right now is people in politics & people in media are using every single person listening to this podcast. They're basically saying: "everything I am talking about right now is equally important as what's going on at the border, as what's going on in foreign policy, as tax policy."

Those are big things! Those are big things right now!

But y'know, there's that famous scene – probably the most famous scene in the movie Spinal Tap. Where the guitar player has the amplifier that goes up to 11.

"Why's it go up to 11?"

"Cause it's louder."

Everything is at 11 all the time. You need to be able to distinguish... what's actually noise... and what actually is a big deal.

So being able to distinguish... discrimination on these things – is part of what it means to be a person who is truly engaged.