Every Thing Is F*cked: A Book About Hope

By: Mark Manson

Every Thing Is F*cked shattered my previous record for most index cards added to my Commonplace Book: from 232 pages, I pulled 138 of them. This was nothing short of astounding, as the previous record holder, The Power of Myth, was less than half that number.

Why so many index cards? Because Mark Manson's new book brims with shocking, actionable wisdom.

My copy came with the purchase of a ticket to the Phoenix stop of Mark's book tour. There, he harped on the point that on his previous global tour, wherever he went, he found people everywhere more or less thought their country and the world was quite f*cked. He argues that this is not a product of politics, but rather the most paradoxical oddity: that because humanity has been more peaceful and prosperous than ever before, our extreme political climate is actually a result.

Mark thinks that hope is this grand paradox. In order to have hope, something must need fixing, otherwise there would be nothing to hope for… Therefore, hope holds us in perpetual dissatisfaction. The better things get, the more sensitive we must become; the smaller our problems, the bigger we must make them. To maintain hope, we have to make “mountains out of mole hills.”

Thus, Mark argues we must abandoning hope, and instead, embracing what is. Of course, we should still take action, we just need to find the motivation to do so in other things, like principles, and the fact that we’re all temporary beings limited by a biological clock.

It also covers a breadth of topics from freedom to how our values are formed to how to start your own religion. It's a counter-intuitive, awareness-expanding, mind-boggling read.

I highly recommend it.

My 10 Favorite Index Cards:

“One day, you and everyone you love will die. And beyond a small group of people for an extremely brief period of time, little of what you say or do will ever matter. This is the Uncomfortable Truth of life. And everything you think or do is but an elaborate avoidance of it. We are inconsequential cosmic dust, bumping and milling about on a tiny blue speck. We imagine our own importance. We invent our purpose—we are nothing.”
“Basically, we are the safest and most prosperous humans in the history of the world, yet we are feeling more hopeless than ever before. The better things get, the more we seem to despair. It’s the paradox of progress. And perhaps it can be summed up in one startling fact: the wealthier and safer the place you live, the more likely you are to commit suicide.”
“Every problem of self-control is not a problem of information or discipline or reason but, rather, of emotion. Self-control is an emotional problem; laziness is an emotional problem; procrastination is an emotional problem; underachievement is an emotional problem; impulsiveness is an emotional problem.”
“But here’s what you do have, Thinking Brain. You may not have self-control, but you do have meaning control. This is your superpower. This is your gift. You get to control the meaning of your impulses and feelings. You get to decipher them however you see fit. You get to draw the map. And this is incredibly powerful, because it’s the meaning that we ascribe to our feelings than can often alter how the Feeling Brain reacts to them.”
“How we come to value everything in life relative to ourselves is the sum of our emotions over time.”
“Everything being fucked doesn’t require hope; hope requires everything to be fucked. The sources of hope that give our lives a sense of meaning are the sources of division and hate. The hope that brings the most joy to our lives is the same hope that brings the greatest danger. The hope that brings people closest together is often the same hope that tears them apart. Hope is therefore destructive. Hope depends on the rejection of what currently is. Because hope requires that something be broken. Hope requires that we renounce a part of ourselves and/or a part of the world. It requires us to be anti-something.”
“This is another permutation of the Blue Dot Effect. This is Durkheim’s “perfect” society. This is Einstein’s relativity with a psychological remix. It’s the concept creep of someone who has never actually experience physical violence losing their mind and redefining a few uncomfortable sentences in a book as “violence.” It’s the exaggerated sense that one’s culture is being invaded and destroyed because there are now movies about gay people. The Blue Dot Effect is everywhere. It affects all perceptions and judgments. Everything adapts and shapes itself to our slight dissatisfaction.”
“This is why hope is ultimately self-defeating and self-perpetuating: no matter what we achieve, no matter what peace and prosperity we find, our mind will quickly adjust its expectations to maintain a steady sense of adversity, thus forcing the formulation of a new hope, a new religion, a new conflict to keep us going. We will see threatening faces where there are no threatening faces. We will see unethical job proposals where there are no unethical job proposals. And no matter how sunny our day is, we’ll always find that one cloud in the sky. Therefore, the pursuit of happiness is not only self-defeating but also impossible. It’s like trying to catch a carrot hanging by a string tied to a stick attached to your back. The more you move forward, the more you have to move forward.”
“The only true form of freedom, the only ethical form of freedom, is through self-limitation. It is not the privilege of choosing everything you want in your life, but rather, choosing what you will give up in your life. This is not only real freedom, this is the only freedom. Diversions come and go. Pleasure never lasts. Variety loses its meaning. But you will always be able to choose what you are willing to sacrifice, what you are willing to give up.”
“Perhaps then, we will not only realize but finally embrace the Uncomfortable Truth: that we imagined our own importance, we invented our purpose, and we were, and still are, nothing. All along, we were nothing. And maybe then, only then, will the eternal cycle of hope and destruction come to an end.”

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