At the Core of It

You probably didn’t know that most of the “experts” quoted in news stories are connected to the reporter through a PR firm which they pay thousands of dollars to every month. The PR firms subscribe to services where reporters basically troll for perfectly tailored quotes in exchange for a few generous superlatives after the person’s name. It’s where a lot of book blurbs come from, or the part in someone’s bio where it says “James has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and the Washington Post.”

You probably forget that someone with even mediocre credit could lease a Jaguar for $349 dollars a month and a couple hundred down at signing.

You probably never stopped to consider that the average Digg user looks like this.

Remember: Women in porn take Xanax between scenes to numb the pain. Celebrities rent the cars the day before the taping of an episode of Cribs. A commentator barely skims the material he’s debating on television and thousands of people write and yell and simmer over remarks he pulled out of his ass. Or somebody has five-figures of credit card debt and a soul-crushing job, but people hear his big title or where he went to college and they feel jealous, inadequate and awful.

Think about the things people are sincerely outraged over – how regularly, if you truly examined the root of the issue, would you see that it was only shadows? Shadows of half-truths, lies, exaggerations, flippant responses or rationalizations.

You want to be respected, be in the papers, have a nice car, have an avalanche of traffic, wonder why your life isn’t like a porno or a tv show. Well, the funny thing is that “reality” seems to require the suspension of disbelief as much as fiction does.

I’m just saying that when you really look at it – and I mean really look at it, as in the facts and figures and averages – the things we think are important are comical. Intellectually, it’s time you admit to yourself that it’s all a big fucking farce. Only after you’ve done that you can start to understand that spiritually.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.