I like my books like I like my operating systems.
Hmm… maybe that’s a weird way to put it. Let me try again.
When I’m choosing which book to read, movie to watch, or series to start, I don’t want to have to faff about using another computer to download wifi drivers so I can find FOSS alternatives to mainstream programs that actually work.
Better, but still not really all that clear.
If I had to choose between Windows, macOS, or some derivative of Linux, I’m definitely going with Frank Herbert’s original Dune from 1965, and not the extended universe by Brian Herbert which he began publishing in 1999.
Look, what I’m trying to get at is, fear is the mind killer. Or time killer. Or both?
I recently finished reading the original Dune book. It was slow, but complete. Beautifully written, engaging, and imaginative. After 23 years of believing it was overhyped drivel that my adopted mom’s husband really wanted me to read, I now fully agree that it is one of the cornerstones of sci-fi literature. The 2021 movie only amplified my conclusion. Absolutely stunning.
But, naturally, as one of the most influential sci-fi books of the 20th century, Dune doesn’t stop at one book. The original novel is self-contained, but there are dozens of other books that expand the timeline immensely. There are eight books in the “official” series, though Frank Herbert only finished the first six, but there are many more prequels, sequels, and off-shoots by other authors that take us deeper.
I’m not interested in reading any of these.
Neither am I interested in reading the Dark Tower books by Stephen King, watching a new Walking Dead series that may or may not get cancelled early, or even try to keep up with the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Endgame was a perfect conclusion. I don’t need to keep going (though maybe I will… call it sunk-cost fallacy).
About a month ago I had a bit of a morbid thought – I don’t want to start a series and then when I’m dying say, “I’ll never get to see the conclusion to XYZ story!”
That’s probably not going to happen. After all, I’ll be dying and probably have more important things to think about, but in a way that points to how I’ve been approaching things lately.
Not just books, movies, and tv shows, but also my work, which scotch I’m going to pick up at the store, whether or not I join a new social network, and if I opt-in to beta updates to my PC OS.
There’s not enough time in life to let FOMO take over. If the Bene Gesserit teachings are anything to learn from, “Fear is the mind killer.” Trying to keep up with everyone and everything that’s going on, to me at least, means not keeping up with anything at all.
Maybe that makes me old, or slow, or judgemental. I don’t want to start something that doesn’t have an end (like Game of Thrones), or use something that takes my time away from my other interests (like setting up Linux), or consume something that isn’t high quality (like a fine scotch or cigar).
There are exceptions, of course. I’ll eat whatever food is put in front of me. I’ll go sit on a bench at the park for an hour and listen to nothing happening around me. I’ll go mining for hours in Minecraft instead of building an automated iron farm. Some might say these are “wastes of time”, but I enjoy them or accept them, so I do them.
Maybe someone loves messing around with Linux. That’s awesome – but it’s not for me. I’d rather not accidentally brick my smartphone with an experimental OS again, thank you very much. Maybe Game of Thrones is the best series you’ve ever watched or read. Great! GRRM isn’t really making me confident that he has any idea for how he wants to end the stories, though, so I’ll pass.
Writing a blog post that doesn’t really have a purpose or much of a conclusion other than, “live true to yourself”, though? Mmmmm, yeah… give me another hit of that!