I have ideas to relieve boredom. I want to make videos of me laying on my bed, like my head hanging off the bed, on my back, eating cornbread staring blankly at the ceiling and sometimes at the bread occassionally getting up without changing my facial expression to do push-ups or sit-ups. That’s what I do sometimes. The videos will show me picking up Good Morning, Midnight or Like Life and reading a few pages and setting them down. The videos will show me eating cashews. The videos will show me cleaning the floor or windowsill with toilet paper. I will put these videos on Youtube. I want to make a series of videos showing me eating food or listening to music.

I have other ideas to relieve boredom. I can’t think of any right now.

I created a website that has a lot of my art on it and that relieved boredom.


I drank coconut water and that relieved boredom.


I have mostly constant philosophies that dictate my actions in concrete reality most of time and that relieves boredom.

For example that I only want to be published by independent publishers. I want to see how many people I can get to buy my books without being published by a publicly-owned company. This isn’t self-righteous, or moral (it is also moral, but as a means for something else, from my current perspective), it is a personal thing, like a personal game I play in my head. It relieves boredom.

Yes, it makes sense to do this and I can defend it morally, if I also define a context and a goal and the word “morals,” but I cannot defend it comprehensively, or non-sarcastically, because the universe doesn’t tell us what to do, it doesn’t know what to do (except continue to perpetuate physical laws, like gravity; if that is what the universe is “telling” us to do then it would mean people “should” stop their consciousness so that they can become something that does things based only on the physical laws of the universe). People have their contexts and their goals and their perspectives which dictate their morals. They get those contexts from other people, from books, from TV, from Noam Chomsky, Moby, or George W. Bush, who get them in turn from other people, etc., going back to the first conscious thing who got them from something no one knows anything about which is how that is defined, “something no one knows anything about.” There is always the knowledge, to me, that one has “made-up” their context, and therefore their morals, from nothing, their rules from nothing, from nothingness.

Sometimes I’ll get frustrated or angry with someone for things like hypocrisy or if they are being self-righteous or something. Or if their actions do not actualize what they talk about. But then I try to think about all this, what I typed here, and I don’t remain angry or frustrated, I don’t want to (I still do though sometimes). It would be like playing monopoly and getting angry at someone who is playing chess for not participating in your game of monopoly, like me taking a monopoly board and going everywhere forcing everyone to play. They are just two different games, chess and monopoly, created not by the universe but by other humans. Each has its own rules; each is equally “true.” But outside of those games is nothing, there are no rules, and a person can switch games and that is normal, I would be less comprehensive in my view of things if I got angry or frustrated about that.

Sarcasm or irony are the only tones I can process something with, knowing all this, having taken this context of including more than one game, of trying to be outside of all games, or as many games as possible. Then entering each game with the knowledge that all are equally “valid” from “where I was” which was “outside of all games.”

This is not “nihilistic.” My actions are not based on nothing, they are not arbitrary. A game must be played at all times. Killing a homeless person to relieve boredom, that is a game, it is the game of the context of your own body, of your brain wanting to relieve boredom, which is a goal, which is not arbitrary, it is based on brain chemicals. (Eating a hot dog fulfills something, breathing fulfills something, I don’t think “nihilism” is a word that can be applied to a human, unless maybe if that human is insane and messed-up to the point of not having urges to satisfy even physical urges.)

I play the game of wanting to have a more comprehensive context than most people, one that includes animals, people I can’t see, and future people not yet born. So I eat organic, vegan food; try to give little money to corporations or else exploit them more than I give them money; and want to only be published by an independent publisher. But I know I am playing a game. I think I am playing this particular game because to me, knowing what I know, it relieves boredom more (because my brain needs to think more, which distracts me from boredom; and because it lets me be around people who aren’t as “boring” to me, which relieves boredom relatively), and because I think it will make me live longer and enjoy things more, than if my choices were based on a smaller context, like if I only took into account myself in a time-frame of “right now” which would mean I would satisfy all physical urges immediately. And because of other reasons also.


One thing to complicate this is that if I want to play the game “even better” (to relieve boredom even more, and more effectively). If I want to have an even larger context, to include even more kinds of animals, and people even further in the future, I might need to disacknowledge all I’ve just typed, and try to forget all of it. Because maybe I will “try harder” (or else actualize my philosophy even more effectively in concrete reality) if I don’t feel sarcastic. For example more people might buy my books, and support independent publishing, if they don’t read that actually I’m just “playing a game” when I tell people to buy from Melville House and not Amazon. And in terms of boredom someone who does not feel sarcastic, for example an activist or senator or hardcore Christian, is even less bored. They are relieving boredom a lot, and probably almost never feel bored, because all their actions have non-sarcastic meaning. Based on this post maybe it is what I actually want, to not be sarcastic anymore but to be a hardcore Christian with no sarcasm. But I am not sure if it is possible for me to do that. But maybe it is possible. Sometimes I am doing something and I am very serious, I am not sarcastic. If I prolong those moments and focus on them more I can become a self-righteous politician probably. And I won’t be bored.

But for now it feels “bad” if I block out any knowledge I already know (does that mean my “ends” is not just “to relieve boredom?”). And I need to block out knowledge to become non-sarcastic, to do political things and think I am “right” and to call art “good” or “bad” without sarcasm and think I am “right.” That whatever work of art is actually “the best.” This is complicated. Have a nice day.

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Tao Lin is the author of ten books of poetry and prose. His next book, Leave Society is forthcoming from Vintage. He has a blog, a website, a Twitter, and an Instagram.

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