Went to bed but this has been on my mind so here’s a thread on the virtue of vanity.

The word has a pretty clear history of negative connotations and this is a perhaps a vain effort to reclaim it, nevertheless I am adamantly earnest about this
I’ll start by conceding the obvious: of course there are ways in which vanity can be bad, a cope, a distraction, an unhealthy fixation on appearances at the expense of substance.

I‘m saying that there’s also the opposite error: fixation on substance that disregards appearance
Jimi Hendrix always dressed like Jimi Hendrix. I believe that this is an example of AESTHETIC RESONANCE: he didn’t make a distinction between substance and appearance, the two informed each other in a yin/yang loop. Harmony across the spheres!

(click through for pics).
There is a reason cathedrals are built to be beautiful, and it’s not mere frills or ornamentation. It’s an expression of a fundamental human appreciation for elegance, awe, splendor, harmony. These are real and valuable things that move the spirit poetryfoundation.org/poems/44477/od…
It is possible to create beauty through loving attention and touch. Not all arrangements and configurations are equally beautiful - you can, with your hands and eyes, arrange an existing set of things in a beautiful way that moves and inspires
It’s amusing that follower count, capital raised, office headcount etc have been described as “vanity metrics”. The highest, enlightened form of vanity cannot be reduced to metrics. What is the real estate value of Central Park? That’s a trick question, the answer is fuck you 😂
It’s interesting to consider the phrase “but it was all in vain”- the sense that ultimately one’s efforts were wasted, bc they did not achieve the intended result, or perhaps they were transient, fleeting. Ozymandias, etc. You could spend a lifetime meditating on this. In vain 😜
gaze upon these works, ye mighty...
a thread-of-threads of the work of artists who inspire me to seek beauty and romance in my own life’s work:
riffs on taste, the source of all that is beautiful. people always crack up when I point out that we have KFC today in part because some guy was obsessed about fried chicken. good enough was not enough


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More from @visakanv

23 Nov
Can’t sleep, time to do a fresh reboot of VV’s talking points
1. Do it 100 times.

Write 100 songs, cook 100 omelettes, talk to 100 people. It never seems like a huge deal until you try it yourself. It’s manageable, and yet it stretches you, and you’ll be observably different at the end of it. Effective way to get a foothold on a new thing
2. Play long games.

This is kind of a remix of 1. Thousands of people will want to start a substack or podcast. Something like 1% of them or less will stick with it consistently for 2 years. If you commit to things for 10+ years, you develop what appear to be superpowers
Read 62 tweets
23 Nov
I’m enjoying it so far - a few episodes in - and it does make me feel good to watch a smol nerd achieve success even as she suffers hardship and loss. When you first buy your first set of X supplies from your winnings at playing X, that is a delicious feeling that not many taste
I remember the first time I was “paid” for playing live music in a bar, with beer and spaghetti. It‘s a contender for the most delicious meal I’ve *ever* had in my life, and I’ve had been privileged enough to have had a couple of ridiculously expensive meals over the years since
I do think it genuinely feels good to see someone receive the opportunity to exercise their talents at the highest level, triumph over their doubters, be supported by some friends and loved ones, and achieve greatness - even if they incur painful costs along the way
Read 4 tweets
23 Nov
With each passing year I get slightly more comfortable accepting the fact that most complainers don’t really want to do stuff. but still it makes me sad because it means I have to revise my assessment of people in general. I can still love them, but I can’t respect them as much
I spent a lot of my teens and early 20s trying to encourage complainers to do stuff. It was very unproductive and frustrating. I’ve since found that life is 100x better by seeking out people who do stuff. I kinda still have a soft spot for complainers bc in my heart I’m one too
this actually intersects with this previous thread. In a sense it’s disrespectful to “manage” or “deal with” someone in a way that’s presumes they’re diff than who they are. But how do you “really know” who someone “really is”? We barely know ourselves. Yet the 🌍 spins madly on
Read 12 tweets
23 Nov
interesting thing to try and suss out: is a friend framing a POV in a deliberately contentious way for engagement, or is that just how they see and think about things? And what is their actual preference for the kind of engagement? I bet there’s an old Russian novel about this
I suppose it’s more intuitive if you talk about this in terms of “drama”
the “if it quacks like a duck” Occam’s razor interpretation is, if a person is always surrounded by drama, well they must at some level enjoy drama, or its pursuit.

But also I think it’s true that some people genuinely disdain drama yet have an intrinsically contentious POV
Read 5 tweets
22 Nov
help me with a book title? (suggest an alt if you have a better one!)
huh, very surprised at the results so far (9% 22% 20% 47%). still only ~50 votes tho
I like the least popular option the best 😂
Read 6 tweets

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