The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@%! (2023) Movie Script

[ominous music]
["Momento Mori" by Karl Steven
and Mark Perkins playing]
[Mark] You're going to die one day.
[automated voice] Stand clear.
[Mark] I know that's kind of obvious,
but I just wanted to remind you,
- in case you forgot.
- [automated voice] Push to shock.
[Mark] You and everyone you know
are going to be dead soon.
[defibrillator charging up]
And if you go around giving a fuck
about everything and everyone
without conscious thought or choice...
Well, then you're gonna get fucked.
["Momento Mori" by Karl Steven
and Mark Perkins continues playing]
Everyone in their Instagram post
wants you to believe
that the key to a good life
is a nicer job, or a faster car,
a prettier girlfriend,
or a selfie at the beach.
The message is that a better life
is about more, more, more.
Buy more, own more,
make more, fuck more,
- be more.
- [screams]
To give a fuck about everything
all the time.
Give a fuck about your new TV.
Give a fuck about low-fat milk.
Give a fuck about 5G and the G8.
Traffic on the 405
and the balance in your 401K.
Give a fuck about your SPF and the ozone,
the EMI and your BMI.
Avoid gluten, but don't piss off Putin.
Maximize EPS, but don't mess with the IRS.
Is this brand the best? Is it GMO?
Fairtrade? Who's the CEO?
Should we picket?
Is this a riot or a fucking parade?
[distorted music intensifies]
This is me, Mark Manson.
And I wrote a book.
It had "fuck" on the cover.
It's about the sufferings
of my not-particularly-exceptional life.
Shitty teenage years,
getting dumped,
friends dying,
a culture that sucked me into a drain hole
of my own pain and entitlement,
and ultimately,
the "fuck you" spiritual advice
I used to drag myself out.
[wind gusting]
And by some weird twist of fate,
people actually read it.
And now a studio is paying,
I don't know how much money,
to put me in a freezing pool
while girls kick water in my face.
It'd be a hell of a lot easier
if I could just hit you
with seven pithy rules
or six easy steps to life success.
But to really get into this stuff,
you've got to feel it.
And to feel it,
well, I guess I'm gonna have
to dig up some old painful shit.
So fuck it. Here it goes.
[Mark] Oh, my God! It's full on.
Double rainbow all the way across the sky.
Oh, God.
[birds chirping]
[suspenseful music]
[dog barking]
[Mark] So, I grew up
just outside of Austin, Texas.
[kid giggles]
And I had a very happy childhood.
Up until I was probably, like,
10 or 11 years old.
And around that time, my family life
kind of started coming apart,
and I got very rebellious.
[upbeat music]
It was Texas.
It was horses and Bibles and football.
And I wasn't really into any
of those things.
So, I wore Marilyn Manson T-shirts
and listened to heavy metal
and smoked pot and...
mouthed off to adults.
And that... that was me, you know.
That was...
That was the little shithead Mark.
[upbeat music]
So, it's February 1998.
I'm in eighth grade,
and there's a knock on the classroom door.
And I look over
and it's Mr. Price, the vice principal.
I remember he poked his head in
and he was like,
"Excuse me. Sorry for interruption.
Mr. Manson, please come with me."
[rock music]
So, I stepped out of class with him,
and I thought, "This is weird. Like...
Like, usually... usually I go to him.
He doesn't come to me."
And so I get out in the hall with him,
and... and he's like,
"Take me to your locker."
And I'm starting to freak out. I'm like...
"This is not normal.
Like, this is not how things usually go."
All right, which one are we talking about?
What locker?
[young Mark] S-27.
[Mr. Price sighs]
[Mark] He opened my locker,
and he just clears the whole thing out.
See now, I was a middle-school kid.
So I had, like, all sorts of,
like, pencils and drawings
and notes from girls in class
and stuff, you know.
He just, like,
dumps all my shit on the floor.
It just, like, sprays everywhere,
and starts rummaging through it.
And I'm like, "Damn! This is serious."
And as he's digging through all my crap,
there's, like, a very awkward silence.
He looks at me and he's like,
"Do you know what I'm looking for today?"
And so I just play stupid.
I'm like, "What?"
And he's... he's like,
"Drugs. Do you have any drugs today?"
And in my little, like, pipsqueak voice,
I'm like, "No, no. No. No drugs.
I-I don't know what you're talking about."
And, uh, I can tell
he's about to let me go,
but he's kind of looking down
on the ground at all this stuff,
and I don't... I don't remember if he...
if it was an accident
or if he was, like,
stepping on the backpack on purpose,
but he steps on my backpack,
and he feels something's still in it.
And he's like, "What is that?"
And I was like, "What is what?"
[zipper rattles]
And the truth was is that I had
cut a hole in the backpack,
between the pockets,
and stuck the drugs in there
and then kind of sewn the bottom shut,
but it was kind of... it was
so you could kind of easily get it open.
And he found that hole
and he found the drugs,
and he ripped it out,
and he threw 'em on the desk.
I don't remember what he said,
but I remember the look,
and it... and it had the look of,
"You're fucked."
[handcuffs clinking]
[somber music]
The next thing I remember,
basically, is being handcuffed,
handcuffed and escorted out of the school.
And I remember the cop, he's like...
he's like, "How old are you?"
And I said, "13." And he was like,
"What on earth made you do this?"
As we're walking out,
this girl, her name was Becca,
this girl's coming in,
this, like, really cute girl
I used to flirt with.
And she sees me,
and she's like, "Oh, hey, Mark."
And, like, smiles. And I'm like, "Hi."
And then she goes, "Hi, Mr. Price."
And then she looks over at the cop,
then she looks back at me, and she's like...
[dramatic gasp]
And, like, completely, like, loses it
and, like, runs down the hall.
[indistinct radio chatter]
[electronic music]
In all the rebellious stuff I did,
it always felt like I had an exit.
You know, it's like,
"Oh, if shit gets too serious,
I can always just, like,
drop everything and go back to normal."
And that was the first time
that I was, like,
"Wow. Things are never going
to be normal again after this."
I got thrown in, like,
a juvie jail for the day.
And I sat there all day
waiting for my parents to show up.
Yeah. I just remember my mom coming in,
tears streaming down her face,
and something fundamentally changed.
My whole, you know, the false confidence,
the bravado of a shithead 13-year-old,
like, it all just deflated.
It just... I just felt empty.
I felt like a little boy.
Just totally helpless.
And I was.
[ominous music]
[thunder rumbles]
I think we live in a culture today
of what I would describe
as "delusional positivity."
It's been very fashionable,
especially in the self-help industry,
but in the wider culture at large,
to simply believe things
you want to believe
because they feel good.
And we're encouraged to do this
at every turn,
whether it's, you know, beer commercials
or some guru standing on stage,
telling you that you can achieve
all your dreams, yada-yada-yada.
I find this attitude
to be very dangerous and damaging,
because the fact of the matter is
is that life is always going
to suck a little bit.
And it turns out, the more we learn
and understand about our psychology,
the more it turns out
that our... our brain is kind of playing
this game with us.
Generally speaking,
things in the material world
work very algorithmically.
You know, it's like if you want X result,
you need to do A, B and C to get there.
It's like a Lego set,
like, you find the steps,
and then you follow the steps,
and the thing happens.
Where that breaks down and stops working
is in the experiences of our own mind.
So, take happiness, for example.
There's no formula for happiness.
There's no X, Y, Z.
Do these things every day
for three weeks and you'll be happy.
Right? Like, it doesn't work that way.
- [indistinct chatter]
- [applause]
Happiness is not algorithmic.
It's not a solvable equation.
But our mind plays this game with us.
Our mind tells us
that as soon as you get X,
everything is gonna be great.
Or as soon as you get rid of Y,
everything is gonna be fine.
And we believe it.
And it's not true.
[upbeat music]
You know, it's... it's like
there's always this little carrot
dangling in front of us.
Man, I just...
if I can just get a raise at work
then, like, things are gonna be fine,
you know?
And then you get the raise at work,
and it's, like,
all these new responsibilities happen.
People are reporting to you,
you're having to work on weekends.
You're like, "Shit.
If I could just get more vacation time,
then everything will be great."
[crowd murmuring]
And then you get more vacation time,
and it turns out that,
well, damn, there are
a lot of places to go on vacation,
and you're dissatisfied
with pretty much any place you pick,
'cause the one on Instagram looked better.
And you're like, "Shit. I need to go
on vacation to the one on Instagram."
And then you go there
and it turns out the weather is bad.
And so there's just, like,
there's shit wherever you go.
There's always a problem.
There's always dissatisfaction.
[upbeat music]
Yet our mind keeps playing
this game with us.
It keeps dangling the reward
in front of us,
convincing us
that if we can just take that next step,
then we'll live happily ever after.
[dog growling]
Psychologists call this
the hedonic treadmill.
It's this idea that we keep running
to accomplish something
that's gonna make us feel better.
But the fact of the matter is
we're spending all this energy
yet getting nowhere.
So, this idea that we're gonna somehow
find some magical solution
to... to dissolve our suffering,
to dissolve our...
our dissatisfaction permanently,
I... It's just bullshit.
[solemn music]
Happiness is great, but it's kind of blah,
because it's when you're happy,
it means nothing needs to change.
And so, I think it's important to learn
how to sit with your negative emotions,
because it... it's like
cross-training for your mind.
You know, you're always...
everything you try to do in your life,
you're gonna bump up
against challenges, setbacks.
You know, people are gonna do
awful things to you,
accidents are gonna happen,
and so the more you're willing
to sit with those feelings,
the more prepared
you're gonna be in the moment,
when something goes wrong.
And this is why I... I always say
that happiness does not come
from getting rid of your problems.
Happiness comes
from solving your problems.
If at any point you believe
you don't have any problems,
if you're ignoring your problems
or avoiding them
or escaping them in some way,
you're likely harming yourself
over the long run.
[eerie music]
And this is why negative emotions
are more interesting and useful
than positive emotions.
Because you can't always trust
your positive emotions.
[eerie music intensifies]
[music stops]
I remember they got me out of...
out of the... the jail,
and there was a McDonald's
across the street,
and we went and sat in that McDonald's...
for three or four hours,
and they made me tell them everything.
They told me I was never gonna see
any of my friends again.
They told me I was never gonna go back
to that school again.
Essentially, I mean, for a 13-year-old,
that's... that's basically like
telling you your life's over.
So, I lost my friends,
lost my school, lost my legal rights.
And then three months later,
my parents got divorced.
And so my family fell apart.
[somber music]
And so in the span of about six months,
everything I understood about my life
and who I was...
collapsed at roughly the same time.
Like, just everything went to shit
at the same time.
From that point,
you know, there was a deep,
deep sense of hurt.
I went to basically being a lonely kid
with no friends, no family.
A lot of the other guys start
picking on me,
you know, beating me up.
And I spent the vast majority of my time
getting high, playing video games,
playing music,
basically being on my own.
People would come over and just...
sit with me and talk, like,
it was like I wasn't there, you know.
It was like there was
this meat robot that was, like...
pretending to be Mark,
but Mark was somewhere else.
I had a lot of social anxiety.
I used to think to myself, "Man,
I wish I knew how to talk to people."
[ominous music]
I had so many completely
irrational beliefs...
about how the world worked.
I had trouble believing and trusting
that people actually liked me
or were interested in hanging out with me.
But because I was unaware
that I had created this prison for myself,
I just felt very helpless.
I became this, like,
very insecure, kind of...
strangely meek guy...
with a sense that something
is fundamentally wrong with me,
but that I'm somehow
at the center of the Universe.
[eerie music intensifies]
[music fades]
[indistinct chatter]
[geese honking]
[pigs snorting]
["Pay Your Way In Pain"
by Sr. Vincent plays]
I once knew this guy named Jimmy.
[camera shutter clicking]
Jimmy was a real go-getter.
Here we are. Welcome home, baby.
- [camera shutter clicking]
- [Mark] He seemed to always know
these incredible people
in powerful places, you know.
He always had business ventures going,
trying to find some new angle.
Always onto the latest new thing.
He was a super-positive guy,
a lot of fun to be around.
Great dude to party with.
Mmm. She's tasty to arrive in.
Like the guy was just always on.
[sucks teeth loudly]
I want you to remember this moment.
Don't forget this fucking moment.
[Mark] He seemed to completely lack
the insecurities that I had so much of.
And for a while, that was an incredibly
empowering thing to be around.
He and I had a lot of fun.
The problem was
is that he was a total fraud.
Like, just... full stop,
hundred percent fraud, top to bottom.
[electronic music]
He would do things like
talk companies into bringing him on
as an angel investor,
you know, and giving him advisor equity
because of all these other start-ups
he'd supposedly worked for.
But he hadn't actually worked
for any of those start-ups,
and he didn't actually have any expertise.
He just talked his way into it.
Next thing you know,
these people have given a percentage
of their business to this guy.
He never shows up for work
and never does anything.
You know, there was always some great
business idea that was gonna take off.
It was gonna be the next Uber,
or the next Facebook, whatever.
And no, he was just, you know,
picking up some girl,
and taking her to some restaurant,
and spending 1,000 dollars on dinner.
So, the question is,
is Jimmy a successful guy?
Is he happy?
On paper, he's... he's everything
that we consider successful.
But on a moral metric,
he's a disaster.
["Number One" by Playgroup playing]
So, how did this happen?
You know, back in the 1970s,
self-esteem kind of became
all the rage in psychology.
There were a number of studies
that were done in the '60s
that found that, generally,
kids who felt better about themselves...
got better grades in school,
got better jobs after school,
made more money, committed less crime.
Self-esteem kind of...
it became celebrated as this, like,
panacea for all the social ills.
Like, we just need people
to feel good about themselves.
And then everything else
will take care of itself.
[children shouting]
And so, this is when you start
getting grade inflation in schools,
you start getting
participation trophies in sports,
you start getting parents telling
their little Timmy and little Susie
that, "You can be whatever you wanna be.
You're... you're brilliant as you are.
Don't let anybody tell you otherwise."
And a whole of generation of teachers
and parents and leaders did this,
believing that they were raising
kind of this psychologically elite
generation of people
who were gonna feel great,
and do amazing things in the world.
[children shouting]
But then you jump 20 years later,
and the data came in.
And it turns out
that raising people's self-esteem,
it doesn't create a generation
of Bill Gates
and Martin Luther King Juniors.
[electronic music]
It creates a generation of Jimmys.
Jimmy was always positive.
Jimmy always felt great about himself.
Jimmy always thought
he deserved whatever he got.
And that's insane.
Society cannot function
if everybody is like that,
if everybody believes they have a right
to take more than they give.
Jimmy is entitled.
And entitlement,
it's when you feel as though you deserve
the benefits of something
without giving up the cost of something.
When you feel like
you should have the results
without having the sacrifice.
You know, Jimmy's problem was
that he thought
he should be a total badass
and a huge success,
without actually putting the work in,
without actually doing anything.
[ominous music]
entitlement is a way to protect ourselves.
It's a delusional belief to remove you
from the reality of yourself,
the reality that life is fucking painful,
you're limited, and no matter what you do,
it's always gonna be that way.
[wind gusting]
And so, when that is too painful
for us to accept,
we... we create these delusional beliefs
that somehow we're special, we're unique,
we deserve special treatment.
That our problems are problems
that nobody else can understand.
That our talents are talents
that nobody else can understand.
That it's the world
that's holding us back.
That we would be great
and everything would be perfect
if it wasn't for... for that guy
or that group or that situation.
It's a protective layer for ourselves
because it... it prevents us
from returning
to that point of that intense pain.
It's like a circuit breaker goes off
in our brain and-and we almost...
like, we have to escape it, you know.
We-we have to find an exit route.
You know, I didn't...
I never knew Jimmy well enough
to figure out what had gone on
in his life to make him that way.
But, like, you're talking
about a guy, like,
he didn't seem to even understand
the notion of friendship or trust.
Like, trust to him, like,
seemed like a... a...
like a way to get fucked over, you know.
And so, it just makes you wonder, like,
what in his background hurt him so badly
to make him protect himself?
But, like, to me,
it was incredibly validating
to have somebody like that, you know.
I can be that guy who's saying
whatever the fuck he wants,
I'm that guy who can walk up
to any girl he wants.
Like, just completely shattered
everything I knew about life in reality.
[uneasy music]
Entitlement is...
It's easy to fall into because it...
it feels good.
It's satisfying, in a...
in a weird sort of way.
You know, like, we all...
We like the idea that we're somehow
the exception in the world, you know?
Like, we-we like the idea that...
our problems are somehow unique
or insurmountable,
because it-it suggests that
there's something...
uniquely meaningful
about our own existence.
We're constantly allured by this message
that we are somehow deserving
of everything that we desire.
You know, there's not a conspiracy theory,
it's not, like, a nefarious plan.
It's just, I think,
when that happens to be
what wins people's attention,
and you've built an economy off
of monetizing people's attention,
you end up with a culture
that is largely built
on the message of entitlement.
Traditional self-help says that
every single person is special and unique
and can be extraordinary and I...
...I find that tyrannical,
like, I find that
to be a very confining idea,
'cause it promotes entitlement in people.
I think what's actually very liberating
is recognizing that
none of us are very special.
We're all very mundane,
we all deal with the same problems,
we all suffer in very similar ways
to each other.
[indistinct chatter]
But the problem is that
with social media and the internet,
we are constantly exposed
to the top 0.0001 percent
of performers in everything.
[skydiver] And we are good to go.
[upbeat music]
If you think about
most of our existence online
and what we're exposed to, I mean, it's...
You go on Instagram
and you're just greeted
by ridiculously good-looking people
in ridiculously good-looking locations
doing ridiculously awesome things...
pretty much 24/7.
[man shouts]
[people shouting]
And you go on Twitter and it seems like
the fucking apocalypse has just started.
- [alarm blares]
- [crowd clamoring]
And then you go on Facebook
and seemingly every single person
is either getting married
or having a kid at the exact same time.
This is the human highlight reel
of social media.
[grunts loudly]
Meanwhile, you're sitting
in your fucking living room,
hand in your underwear,
wondering what the fuck went wrong.
How did this happen?
Why is my life so fucking mundane?
And it's like... You feel like a loser.
But there's no reason to,
because that's what
everybody's life looks like.
We're all sitting in our living room
with our hand in our underwear,
scrolling the exact same shit
on our phones.
It's just, like, this is not reality.
[gun firing]
There's all of these narratives
out there that-that...
that kind of convince us that,
"Hey, you deserve
to be this special guy or girl,
and if you can just embody that life,
you'll be problem free.
You won't have to deal with pain again.
You won't have to sacrifice or struggle."
And that's bullshit.
And look, the reason this message,
like, "Life fucking sucks,
you're always gonna have to sacrifice,
you're always gonna struggle,
you're always gonna have problems."
The reason this... You don't hear this more
is 'cause it doesn't sell.
You can't sell a car by telling people,
like, "Hey, buy this car.
You're still gonna be miserable,
even though you bought it."
Like, that doesn't move merchandise,
that doesn't help the bottom line.
And I don't think the problem
is necessarily with, you know,
capitalism or the system or whatever,
the problem is with us.
Like, we just don't understand
how our own minds work.
And so we've got to get straight
with ourselves.
I think there's
an undue psychological pressure
to feel as though
we're extraordinary in some way,
that we're doing something extraordinary.
And I think this pushes
a sense of entitlement,
it pushes a sense of,
"Well, I deserve to have these things.
I deserve to be happy.
I'm great at something.
People should know that."
[solemn music]
I think if there was just a simple
cultural acknowledgement
of, like, "Yeah. Most of us suck
at most of the things we do,
and that's fine,"
we could escape these things.
But in my case, I covered up
my baggage and my insecurities
with a sense of entitlement.
And, you know, because so much of my pain
revolved around intimacy
and relationships and trust...
I just became kind of an entitled...
...with a lot of relationships in my life.
From that pain, and from that place
of just not knowing
what the hell to believe,
not being able to trust anybody,
I was, like,
"Well, fuck it. I'm...
I'm gonna get what I want."
[uplifting music]
[ominous music]
[music fades]
["Peaches & Cream" by Beck playing]
I just went into full over-compensation.
I was kind of your classic, like,
selfish player.
You know, I cheated on girlfriends,
I... I was always the guy
who would just disappear.
My 20s is just like
a-a fucking battlefield...
...with, like, bomb craters
where my relationships used to be.
It's just like strewn corpses
of old friendships and romantic partners...
[plane whooshes]
...that I just completely decimated...
[people screaming]
...mostly due to my own entitlement.
[metallic clanging]
I remember one time, in... in college,
I kind of, like, stole my buddy's girl.
I was at a mutual friend's place,
and I was sitting on the couch with her,
holding hands,
and he walked in the room,
he took one look at me and her,
and immediately turned around
and walked out of the house,
and he never spoke to me again.
And I just remember being like, wow.
Like, this dude just, like,
he's just jealous, you know,
that, like, I can get his girl,
and he can't get her back or whatever.
Like, I-I... to me, it was...
I couldn't see it through,
like, a normal human's eyes.
I can only see it through, like,
my kind of obsessive, entitled eyes.
[somber music]
I basically have this, like,
four year period in my life,
where I have no friends from that period.
Like, I have friends
from before that period.
And I have friends from after that period.
But that... There was, like,
four or five years there
where none of those people
talk to me anymore.
["Outlaw 84" by Alex Roberts
and Stevie Lee playing]
So, I... I'm a huge metal fan.
And one of the interesting things
about heavy metal is that
arguably the two greatest bands
were originally one band. want to say to everybody out there?
Metal up your ass!
[Mark] Dave Mustaine was the original
lead guitarist of Metallica.
And he wrote a lot of the songs
on Metallica's first and second records.
The problem was... was that
both Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield,
who was the lead singer
and songwriter of Metallica,
they're both young, rebellious kids.
And so, they would both get drunk
and just beat the shit out of each other.
And so in the midst of recording
their first... Metallica's first album,
Metallica just decided, "You know what?
Let's get rid of Dave Mustaine."
[thrilling music]
So, they woke him up one day
by just handing him a bus ticket.
And so mid-album, like, the day
before they're gonna start recording,
Dave wakes up with a hangover,
and they just hand him a bus ticket
and say, like, "Get the fuck out."
That's how he found out
he was out of the band.
[rock music]
And so he rode this, like,
three-day bus back to LA.
And on the bus, you know,
this fire started to build up inside him.
And by the time he got back
to California, he had decided,
"You know what?
I'm gonna start a new metal band.
It's gonna be a better metal band,
and it's gonna fucking kick
Metallica's ass."
And so sure enough, he got back,
he found better musicians,
he started writing better songs,
found better producers to record with,
and he produced
what became known as Megadeth.
[man] You guys ready for Megadeth?
[crowd cheering]
[electric guitar playing]
[Mark] Now, Megadeth went on
to sell millions of albums.
They've toured the world dozens of times.
They've played in stadiums.
They're one of the biggest rock arena acts
there's ever been, yet...
["Requiem" by Dvok playing]
The band he got kicked out of
was Metallica,
an even bigger rock band
that sold even more albums,
and played in even more stadiums,
and was even more famous.
And so, this put Mustaine
in a really bizarre situation,
where he had achieved unimaginable success
by almost any stretch of the imagination.
But, like, the defining value
that was kind of steering his career,
which was to be better than Metallica,
was never achieved.
["Requiem" by Dvok playing]
[crowd cheering]
He was giving a fuck
about the wrong thing.
He was so focused on one upping
these other guys
who had... who had insulted him,
who had hurt him,
that he missed all the amazing things
that went on at the same time.
[ominous music]
It puts... it puts a person like him
in a situation
where he can sell 20 million albums,
and play to 100,000 people,
and feel like a failure,
whereas any other rational person
would feel like a great success.
[gentle guitar music]
My first girlfriend I ever had,
we were doing long-distance,
doing the phone thing,
seeing each other,
like, every few months or whatever.
It sucked.
But, you know, we were madly in love
and when you're that age,
you think love conquers everything.
So you're, like,
"Oh, it's gonna be all right.
We're gonna make it."
And we did this for quite a while.
And suddenly one week, she's like...
not... she's not around.
You know, she's giving excuses and...
She's always got...
Something's always come up and...
She's not answering her phone,
which never happened before.
So it started to feel really weird
and I would try to confront her about it,
and she'd kind of blow me off or...
you know, make a big thing out of it,
so I didn't know what was going on.
And then one day, I...
I just get a phone call
from a number I don't recognize,
and I pick up the phone and it's this guy...
I can't remember his name.
It's, like, Derek or Eric or something.
Anyway, he's like,
"Hey, man, we don't know each other,
but I know your girlfriend,
and we need to talk."
I'm like, "Okay."
He's like, "She's been cheating on you."
And I was like...
Obviously, I'm skeptical at first,
and so I'm like, "How do you know?"
"Well, I know because she was cheating
on you with me first,
and now she's cheating on you
with another guy."
I'm like, "What the fuck?"
He's like, "Don't worry.
I'm gonna prove it to you."
And so, this guy,
he's in front of her house with the phone,
knocks on her door and he's, like,
holding the phone by his side
with me on it.
He knocks on the door
and she comes to the door,
and he, like, confronts her.
And he's like, "What the hell
are you doing with this guy here?
I thought you were with me,"
or whatever, and they start arguing.
And she's like,
"I'm not with you anymore, I'm with him."
And then he's like,
"What about your boyfriend, Mark?"
And she's like,
"Oh, you don't know anything about him.
It's none of your business,"
and like, blah, blah, blah.
And then he, like, pulls out the phone
and he's like, "Mark's right here."
And she's like, "No, he's not."
And then, like, he, like,
makes her take the phone,
and then I'm like,
"What the fuck is wrong with you?"
And so she and I are, like, screaming
at each other and all this stuff,
and then she dumps me,
like, right there on the spot.
I laid on my bed crying
and I think I was just in shock.
I mean, obviously, I was crying for her,
but I was grieving just this loss
of this, like, naive view of the world...
that if you were in love,
everything was going to be okay.
All of that just got smashed
in that moment.
[ominous music]
I thought I had a really
great relationship with my girlfriend
and so the fact that this could happen,
was, like, just too much.
It was, like, caving in on me.
I don't think I told anybody
how angry I was.
I didn't know how to express it
without, like, losing myself.
[solemn music]
You know, you start developing
these beliefs of, like,
"I'm fine. She was just a horrible person,
and I didn't deserve this."
And there's this perverse kind
of certainly that emerges.
You know, each failed relationship I had,
I just used that as further evidence of,
"Ah, well. This is just...
this is just how things are.
People are shitty."
"Love never works out." You know?
It was... That's how I saw things.
You know,
it's the classic victimhood entitlement.
What happened with Dave Mustaine
is... is a great example
of how we all react
to extremely painful situations.
You know, the-the pain
of getting kicked out of his first band,
and-and feeling like...
like he wasn't worthy of them,
it... it forced him to construct
this world view.
This world view of,
"I'm gonna be better than them.
Everything I do
has to be better than Metallica."
And we all do this in one way or another.
We-we suffer a great amount of pain,
we create a world view
to help us escape that pain,
and then we forget
that we created the world view,
and so we're doomed
to repeat a lot of our failures.
[ominous music]
[horn blaring]
["Loner Boogie" by Boy Azooga plays]
In the closing months of 1944,
after almost a decade of war,
the tide was turning against Japan.
Defeat seemed inevitable.
[music rises]
The Americans arrived
with overwhelming force.
Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda
of the Japanese Imperial Army
was deployed to Lubang
with the near impossible task
of defending the island.
Just 22 years old, Onoda had trained
with the elite Futamata Commando Unit.
He was given the express instructions
to halt the enemy advance...
- [plane zooming]
- never surrender,
and under no circumstances
take his own life.
[suspenseful music]
Within days, most of the Japanese soldiers
had either been killed or taken prisoner.
But Onoda, his burly sergeant,
and two young privates evaded capture,
and stole away into the mountains.
From there,
they launched a guerrilla campaign
attacking supply lines...
- [gunshot]
- ...stealing food,
- and harassing stray patrols.
- [soldier] Incoming!
[newsreader 1] August the 6th,
the first atomic bomb hit Hiroshima.
[newsreader 2] The representatives
of the Emperor of Japan...
[Mark] Half a year later,
Japan surrendered,
and the deadliest war in human history
came to its dramatic conclusion.
[indistinct chatter]
The US Military dropped leaflets
announcing that the war was over,
and that it was time
for the Japanese soldiers to go home.
Onoda read these leaflets,
but he was convinced they were fake,
a trap set by the Americans
to flush them out.
The Philippine locals,
sick of being terrorized,
armed themselves.
Local police patrols are stepped up
and in a bloody skirmish,
Onoda's sergeant is shot and killed.
Onoda and his last remaining companion
vow to avenge the death of their friend.
- [soldiers shouting]
- [gun firing]
The attacks escalate,
and for the Japanese government,
the exploits of the fugitive lieutenant
were kind of becoming a diplomatic crisis.
[ominous music]
[man shouting in Japanese]
A massive recovery operation is funded.
Letters and pictures
from the missing soldiers' families
were scattered across the island,
along with a letter
from the Emperor himself,
imploring the two men
to give themselves up.
But once again, Onoda refused
to believe the information was real.
Once again, he believed
it was all a trick by the Americans.
Once again, he stood his ground,
and continued to fight.
[man shouting in Japanese]
In a desperate last ditch effort,
Onoda's brother is flown from Japan,
and escorted into the mountains.
[distant shouting]
Onoda watches as his brother calls out
his childhood nickname...
and sings their old school song.
Could he have been wrong
for the last 15 years?
Could his comrades have died for nothing?
Could the Filipinos that he killed
been innocent?
[suspenseful music]
It's too painful to consider.
Onoda dismissed his brother
as a convincing fake,
sent by the enemy to confuse him.
[gun firing]
[tense music]
A decade later,
a shootout with local police.
[man grunts]
Kozuka is killed.
[ominous music]
Onoda, having spent half his life
waging an imaginary war
in the jungles of Lubang...
was now alone.
[tense music]
So, the only real job
I've ever had is, um...
I got a job at this bank
and it was absolutely soul destroying.
We were going around one afternoon
and-and people were saying,
"What are you..."
People were asking each other,
"What are you gonna do
once you start making six figures?"
And everybody was like,
"I'm gonna buy a BMW,"
or, "I'm gonna... gonna get a boat
on the lake,
and I'm gonna take it out
in the summer," and all this stuff.
And then it got to me and I was like,
"Well, I think I'd take a year long
sabbatical and travel around the world."
And they're, you know, it was like...
You know, like everybody
was just looking at me like...
"What's wrong with you, man?"
And it was at that moment that I kind
of realized, like, I shouldn't be here.
[ambient music]
And so, in 2009,
I... I set off to live around the world.
[indistinct chatter]
You know, I did want to see the world
and understand different cultures,
and meet different types of people,
but there was also...
kind of this compulsive avoidance
of commitment.
I was afraid to get too close to people.
I was afraid to be over-committed
to a single place or person
or community or even city.
[indistinct chatter]
And so I just kind of bounced
around the world...
- [camera shutter clicking]
- a lottery ball.
You know, spending three months here,
and two months there,
and six weeks here and one week there.
I ended up visiting, like, 60 countries,
learned a couple of languages,
met hundreds of people,
had a lot of great times.
My life was organized around
maximizing quantity of experiences.
You know, go to more countries,
do more things,
go to more parties, date more girls.
Like, it was always more,
more, more, more, more.
There was almost
this compulsive desire, you know.
It was, like, this constant urge,
like, it was never enough.
There was never enough attention
or affection or sex or love...
that could ever, like, satiate
my craving for it.
But then it led to these insane situations
where... where I actually
would find somebody,
that we would have a little bit
of functional intimacy and chemistry
and that scared the living shit out of me.
And I would run the other direction
as fast as I could.
[ambient music]
If, like, a cocaine addict stumbled
across a snowman made of cocaine,
like, you'd just, like,
bury your fucking head in it.
I think socially and emotionally,
I just... I felt very lost and, um...
and I was too young
to really understand why.
In the course of-of writing
all these years, I always...
was-was jealous of people
who had rules and laws named after them.
And I was like,
"Well, I want to be a cool kid,
so I'm gonna name a law after myself."
And-and, so I created something
called Manson's Law of Avoidance,
which is essentially this.
People will avoid
an action or an experience
in proportion to how much it threatens
their identity and their world view.
And the interesting thing
about Manson's Law of Avoidance
is that it's true for both...
both positive and negative actions.
And so on the positive side,
you get people self-sabotaging,
like, "No, I don't want
to be too successful.
I don't want... I don't want
to buy something that's too nice.
I don't want to live somewhere too fancy.
Like, that... that will...
That's too threatening for my life,
for the security of my life right now."
And similarly, they avoid things
that involve a lot of risk.
You know, it's like, "I don't want
to take a chance in another city.
I don't...
I don't want to break up with this person.
It might hurt too much,
it might make things too difficult."
Essentially what Manson's Law says is that
the... is that the...
the resistance to change is proportional
to how fundamental something is
to how we see ourselves,
and how we see the world.
You know, in my own case,
my relationships were all dysfunctional,
every single one of them.
And part of that is just because I thought
dysfunctional relationships were normal,
that that's
how all human relationships were.
And so, I couldn't even
correctly identify the problem,
because I had constructed a world view
that prevented me from seeing the problem.
It was too fundamental for my identity.
[thrilling music]
["Taiyouga Kowaino" by Kaoru Hibiki]
In 1972, a young man named Norio Suzuki
first heard of the legendary
Lieutenant Onoda.
Suzuki was an adventurer,
an explorer and a bit of a hippy.
[man singing folk song]
["Taiyouga Kowaino"
by Kaoru Hibiki continues]
Many Japanese thought
Lieutenant Onoda sounded too insane
to actually exist.
Others thought
he was the stuff of fairy tales,
invented by those who yearned for a Japan
that had long since disappeared.
But for Suzuki,
the idea of finding Onoda
was a new and worthy adventure.
[shouting in Japanese]
Sure, local forces had been scavenging
the jungle for almost 30 years
with no luck.
Thousands of leaflets
had been met with no response.
But fuck it,
this deadbeat college dropout hippy,
he was gonna be the one to find him.
[quirky music]
Unarmed and untrained for any sort
of reconnaissance or tactical warfare,
Suzuki traveled to Lubang, and began
wandering around the jungle by himself.
His strategy? Shout out Onoda's name,
and tell him that
the Emperor was worried about him.
[gun clicks]
He found Onoda in four days.
[harmonious music]
Now, why Onoda, after 30 years
and millions of dollars
of rescue operations,
decided to reveal himself
to a lowly backpacker is hard to say.
Perhaps it was the loneliness,
or perhaps he saw in Suzuki
his own adventurous younger self,
a self that was still worth saving.
[solemn music]
On the 9th of March, 1974,
Hiroo Onoda was finally ordered
to terminate hostilities
by this long-retired commander.
He crumpled under the weight of his pack
and began to weep uncontrollably.
"Am I the chosen one?"
We all love to believe
that we're the chosen one.
Because we're all kind of living out
our own little story,
our own little hero's journey.
And so, in our own minds,
we are the chosen one.
And it feels good.
But this is the cheeseburger
and fries for your brain, you know.
Like, that's...
That's the junk food for your mind.
It tastes, like, really good going down,
but it-it makes you unhealthy
and lethargic.
And, at some point,
this world view will fall apart.
Like, that falling apart has to happen.
[ambient music]
Something funny starts happening
as you get away from heartbreak.
For one, you start dating other people,
and you start noticing patterns.
[ominous music]
And for me, it was,
I started noticing that...
a lot of the shit that
I blamed my first girlfriend for
was popping up with other women
I started seeing.
And it made me start asking myself, huh!
Maybe it's not their fault.
Maybe it's something I'm doing.
And so it caused me
to start reflecting on my behavior,
and my intentions.
It took a number of years
for me to look back
and realize, like,
"Wow. I was such an asshole."
And, um, there was a lot of, like,
guilt and shame of like,
"Wow. I can't... I can't believe I did that.
Like, who does that?"
And as awful as that shame
and guilt felt, it was useful.
Like, I needed that.
A 58 year old woman has filed a civil suit
against a local Mexican restaurant
after she fell off the eatery's
famous plastic donkey statue.
[presenter] Two men who rushed in to help
a woman trapped in her SUV as it burned
are now suing that woman.
[somber music]
I can't go to Jonathan's right now
cause I got a ticket.
Cause, apparently, you're supposed
to pull over for an emergency vehicle,
and I didn't know.
And it's so much money,
and I only have 47 dollars.
A lot of people... recoil from this idea
that we're responsible for everything
that happens in our lives.
But it's true.
We just are.
[man] Don't push your stroller
into my legs.
You pushed your stroller right into me,
and all I said was, "Excuse you."
And then you said,
"[beep] you, [beep] you..."
[Mark] You hear stories
of people like this.
All these terrible things
that have been inflicted upon them.
[manager] Are you going to act reasonably?
[man] Second time round,
you guys expect me to be reasonable?
[Mark] They don't want to accept
that, like, life is always going
to suck a little bit.
[man] Why would I wait 45 minutes
if my food is right there?
And I paid for it,
so let me just get me my food.
And everybody has their shit.
But it's up to us as individuals
not to blame others for this stuff.
- [woman] Hey, Peggy. What's up?
- [Peggy] I don't care.
- [man] Yeah.
- [woman] What's going on?
[Peggy] I don't care no more.
I don't care. I lost my husband.
[beep] everybody.
[woman] Okay.
[Peggy] Adios!
People do get offended or upset
when you imply that they're somehow
responsible for a tragedy in their life.
I mean, again, it's not their fault,
but it's their responsibility.
You know, you get a horrible disease,
somebody gets cancer,
a family member dies.
Awful things do happen in this world.
The problem is, is that people
who fall into this mentality,
they disempower themselves from actually
doing anything about their problems.
Their goal is to simply
find new outlets to blame,
like new people
to, like, push their responsibility
for themselves onto.
Why is it okay for women to say,
"Oh, you're five feet?" on dating sites,
"You should be dead"? That's okay?
- [woman 1] Who said that to you here?
- [woman 2] Nobody.
You think I'm making that shit up?
Everywhere I go,
I get the same [bleep] smirk.
With the biting lip.
They're doing it because they're in pain,
because something really hurt them
at some point in their life.
And even though we kind of detest
their behavior and their attitude,
they're still deserving
of empathy and understanding.
Due to our legal system, we're accustomed
to equating fault and responsibility
as being the same thing,
but they're not.
[woman] Jennifer Connell sued the boy
over an injury she received
during his eighth birthday party,
when he leaped into her arms to hug her.
We're not always at fault for our pain,
but we are always responsible
for our pain.
We are always interpreting our pain.
We are always reacting to our pain.
[somber music]
While it's not my fault
when my first girlfriend dumped me,
I shared responsibility
in the failure of the relationship.
[man] I paid for my sandwich.
I'm getting my sandwich.
Call the police. I paid for my sandwich.
I'm grabbing my sandwich.
[man] I'm right! You're wrong!
Dude, want to step outside?
You want to step outside?
[man shouting indistinctly]
- [woman] No. Can you...
- [people screaming]
[girl cries hysterically]
[alarm blaring]
[girl screaming]
- [shouts in anger]
- [man] [beep] you!
It's not my fault.
I've got a perfectly good ticket.
I have a right to catch this bus!
[muffled screaming]
[sobbing softly]
[breathes shakily]
[Mark] Every awful thing
that happens in our lives,
you have a choice to make.
How are you going to react to it?
How can I make this meaningful?
What can I do about it?
How can I move forward?
Now that... that's like...
That is a tough pill to swallow
and it takes...
It takes a long time
for most of us to swallow that.
But it's true.
And in my case, it was a very, very
hard thing for me to admit to myself.
But once I did,
it was so powerful.
It forced me to...
to take responsibility for my choices,
and for how I behaved.
It freed me to change to not make
those same mistakes going forward.
Responsibility is essentially admitting
that you can make
a different choice next time.
And so until you adopt
that responsibility,
you're gonna make the same choices
over and over and over again.
[rhythmic suspenseful music]
["Speed Up Susie" by Alistair Bruce,
Henry Friend and Ted Brett Barnes playing]
[Mark] Lieutenant Onoda arrived home
to a hero's welcome.
- He became a kind of celebrity.
- [applause]
He was shuttled around
from talk show to radio station.
Politicians clambered to shake his hand.
[solemn music]
But despite the adoration,
he was confronted by an undeniable truth.
The Japan he had been fighting for
no longer existed.
Thirty years of life wasted.
Hiroo Onoda's is a precautionary tale
about certainty,
of being too sure of how things work.
He's a man who,
despite the fact that the war ended,
the Empire collapsed,
and the modern world completely changed,
he never left the past.
Every event that occurred,
he simply reinterpreted it
to fit his prior world view.
[ominous music]
I think most people tend to see the world
in terms of, like, right and wrong.
Who's right, who's wrong,
and... and there's kind of no middle ground.
I-I prefer to think of it in terms
of everybody is wrong all the time.
And it's just a question
of who's slightly less wrong.
And I don't think we... we ask that critical
question of ourselves very often,
because it's not just true of society,
it's also true of us as individuals.
Things that I was certain were true
10, 20 years ago,
now I look back at and I laugh at.
[pensive music]
I was certain that my relationship
with my first girlfriend was perfect,
and we were in love,
and everything was gonna be great.
I was completely wrong about that.
So instead of constantly looking
for certainty,
it's more effective to look for doubt.
What can you potentially be wrong about?
What beliefs could be improved upon?
What could potentially change?
Those are the more effective questions.
It's paradoxical, but the most
functional and healthy relationships,
it's two people who are able
and allowed to say "no" to each other,
to disappoint each other.
If you need to feel certain
about everything in your life,
then you're not gonna have
the ability to trust people.
You're gonna try to control people,
you're gonna try
to manipulate them into, like,
doing exactly what you need them to do.
Like, finding out you're wrong is... it's...
it doesn't feel good, but it's necessary.
It's necessary
to become a better human being.
One of my favorite psychologists
and researchers
is a guy named Kazimierz Dbrowski.
He was from Poland during the Cold War,
so he was behind the Iron Curtain.
And it's really interesting because
if you look at the psychological research
that was happening
during the 20th century...
[somber music] the West,
it was very much focused on positivity.
How do we make people feel better?
How do we improve people's self-esteem?
How do we make people happier?
Whereas in the East, it was much more
about negative experience.
It was about how does pain
and suffering affect people?
How does trauma shape them
or change them in various ways?
[somber music]
And Dbrowski,
by being a researcher in Warsaw,
he had access to World War Two survivors
and Holocaust survivors to study.
And so he ended up
interviewing hundreds of them.
And he found something
incredibly startling.
The majority of people
who survived the war
and survived the Holocaust
eventually attributed those experiences
as benefitting them.
They basically said that those
experiences, as awful as they were,
made them better people.
It made them more grateful,
it made the more compassionate.
It improved their sense of self-respect.
This always presents
like a very uncomfortable thought,
which is, like, that something
so horrible could produce a good result.
One way to think about it is,
it's kind of like
the pressure that forms a diamond.
Like, you can't form a diamond
without a certain amount
of pressure on something.
[uplifting music]
Everybody wants the same things.
Like, all of the positive experiences
in our life,
they're pretty universal.
We all want to have money.
We all want to have great relationships.
We all want to be liked by others
and be super popular
and be rich and have cool shit,
and everybody is clapping
when we walk into the room.
But that's not very interesting.
What's interesting is what struggles
we're willing to take on
to achieve those things.
[indistinct chatter]
Everybody wants to change, right?
Like, everybody...
everybody buys a self-help book or...
or goes to a seminar or whatever,
because they're like,
"Yeah. I want to change."
And they're kind of marketed this idea
that change is like a...
is like a party, you know?
Like, you can fucking sing and dance,
and... and walk out of the building,
like, you know,
twirling your feet or whatever.
It's, like, no, change is fucking brutal.
[muffled grunting]
["Anaana" by Cari Cari playing]
[ground rumbling]
Because if you actually change,
if you actually fundamentally change
your world view...
[thunder rumbles] are forced to give up
so much of what you believe to be true.
You're forced to sacrifice
huge chunks of your identity.
That's not fun shit.
It's fucking hard.
[starting pistol shots]
[people cheering]
I mean, think about people
who run marathons.
Look at these guys at the 18 mile mark,
and they're still going.
If they were being forced to do this,
you would be calling
the Human Rights Commission.
But marathon runners love this shit,
and their triumph is only possible
because they chose this struggle.
[crowd cheers and applause]
I chose this,
I chose to take on this suffering,
I chose to take on this struggle,
therefore, that choice makes
that struggle meaningful.
It makes it something important
or powerful for you.
It's because you struggle,
because you suffer, because you sacrifice
that they end up standing out
as the most worthy
and meaningful moments of your life.
[baby cries]
You know, life is always gonna have pain,
it's always gonna have struggle.
But if you can train yourself
to not give a fuck about the pain,
you become unstoppable.
The emotional difficulty of change
is always directly proportional
to... to the scale of change,
or-or to how core it is to your identity.
It's not fun.
It's not fun at all.
[in Egyptian Arabic]
[clicks tongue]
[phone ringing]
[upbeat music]
[keyboard clicking]
[Mark] So, if I could create a superhero,
I would create Disappointment Panda.
Have you ever seen those viral
Egyptian cheese commercials?
Disappointment Panda is kind of like that.
[in Egyptian Arabic]
[Mark] But instead of
making people eat cheese,
you'd be making them eat harsh truths
about themselves,
that nobody wanted to hear.
You know, he'd say,
"Making a lot of money
might make you feel good,
but it won't make your kids love you."
Or he'd say, "You're not really sick,
you're just avoiding the pain
of having driven your wife away
by your constant complaining."
And then if you didn't listen...
Well, he'd have ways of making you listen.
The fact is that we need
to eat our problem cheese.
If we're not willing to face
and admit our problems,
then we can't change and we can't grow.
Disappointment Panda is the hero
that none of us want,
but we all actually need.
Because we all have truths in our lives
that we avoid hearing,
that we don't want to confront
or don't want to admit to ourselves.
Yet, it's by confronting or admitting them
that we can actually open the way
to become better.
A lot of people don't like hearing this.
Like, we like to hear
that our problems can be solved forever,
we like to hear that
there's some formula to be happy,
live happily ever after.
But I'm sorry,
but Disappointment Panda says,
"No, there's not.
This is simply how life is."
And so, if we're forced to have problems,
then we might as well find the problems
that we enjoy having in life.
You know, when everybody hears
this idea of, like-like not giving a fuck,
you kind of imagine this, like,
cool dude kicking back, like,
"Yeah. Fuck it, man. Like, whatever."
Like a beach bum or something, and it's...
That's not what it is.
You know, you have to give a fuck
about something.
You have to care about something
in your life.
The question is, what are you
choosing to care about?
Because when you choose
your problems in your life,
when you... when you find problems
that you like having,
that's when you suddenly find yourself
not giving a fuck.
[light music]
When you don't give a fuck
that you're making these sacrifices
for your family.
When you don't give a fuck that it's hard
to practice for another hour.
When you don't give a fuck
that you have to get up
early in the morning
and put in more time at work.
When you've found the struggle
that enlivens and enriches you,
that's when you've achieved
non-fuck-giving mastery.
There's one thing I started to realize
after traveling quite a bit
is that-that at some point,
there's diminishing returns
to new experiences.
In that moment, like,
that's a terrifying thought.
It's a really terrifying thought.
But what you discover
is that there's actually
a newer, more subtle kind
of freedom in that commitment.
I was... I eventually was forced
to face my commitment issues.
For the simple fact
that there was nowhere else left to run.
I had literally run around the world...
escaping any sense
of commitment to a person or a place.
So, when you run out of places to run,
it's like,
"Well, shit. I've got to pick something."
[solemn music]
When I was 19 years old,
I went through probably the most
transformational experience of my life.
Josh, I-I met him at music school.
He was actually kind of the first friend
I made at music school.
He lived across the hall
in the dorm from me.
He was kind of like
an older brother figure for me.
Very extroverted,
bigger-than-life energy, you know?
[Mark] He was a natural performer.
Like, at music school,
it's a very strange dynamic
because there are a lot of status games
that are going...
People are very competitive.
"Oh, this band is more obscure
and technical than the band you're into."
"I prefer late-period Brahms
versus early-period Brahms."
And like, you know, all this kind
of pretentious stuff that happens.
And I'm hanging out in my dorm room,
and all of a sudden, the guy across
the hall, like, blasts "Billie Jean".
Like, full blast.
It kind of makes a statement.
It kind of says, "I don't give a fuck."
"Fuck your pretentious music."
[Mark] He was just this big,
boisterous, fun-loving guy
who just wanted to sing and play drums
and, like, have a good time
and just didn't buy into all the bullshit.
To me, it was just magnetic
to hang around him.
[Mark] He was much more
confident than I was.
Kind of a role model.
[electronic music]
There was a place,
maybe 45 minutes outside of Dallas.
Out, kind of near this lake.
And, um, Josh, like, he told me,
"Dude, they just have
these crazy parties every weekend."
And there was this... there was a cliff
kind of like overlooking this lake,
and people would jump off that cliff
into the water.
So, we go to this party.
And then I asked him if he did it.
And he was like,
"Oh, yeah, yeah. I've done it before."
I was like, "Oh, cool."
And then,
he asked me if I wanted to do it,
and I was like,
"Uh... I might watch you first."
You know, like, that sort of thing.
And at some point during the party,
I met... I met a girl
and kind of got into her, and...
we got separated.
And the last time I ever saw Josh,
I was walking up towards the house...
with the girl and he was coming down.
And I said, "Hey, I'm gonna go
get some food. Do you want some?
He was like, "No, man. I'm good.
I'll catch you later."
And so, when I said,
"Hey, where can I find you?",
he was like, "Seek the truth for yourself,
and I'll meet you there."
So, I just, like, laughed and, like,
"All right, dude, whatever."
"I'll see you at the truth."
You know,
as if we all know where the truth is.
And, uh... and so then,
I went up to the house,
and then when we came out,
everybody was gone.
And so it's, like, this weird, surreal,
like, "What the fuck?" type moment.
And so we walked down to the water,
and I started looking for Josh
and I can't find him.
[indistinct radio chatter]
There's, like, ambulances
and police cars and stuff
with the lights going,
and there were a couple of guys,
like, in the water, swimming around.
And then I remember I walked up
to, uh, this guy and this girl,
and I asked them.
I'd seen them talking to Josh earlier,
and I asked them.
And the girl just starts crying,
like, just bawl...
Like as soon as I asked her,
she just starts bawling.
And then at that point, I'm like,
"Oh, my God.
It's him.
Like, he's the one who went down."
And I must have walked around the water
for, like, an hour, I guess.
And... it just starts dawning on me,
like, he's not here.
[electronic music]
I remember a police officer came up to me...
and asked me if I knew him
and I said, "Yeah."
I don't remember what she asked,
I don't remember...
I think she gave up.
I got in my car
and I started driving back to Austin.
And so I called my dad.
I was working for my dad that summer,
and I called him
and I was gonna tell him, like,
"Hey, I'm... I'm not gonna make it
to work today."
And then I just fucking lost it.
[sobbing continues]
I-I felt like a little boy...
crying to his father.
You know, it's like, you know,
when you're like a little, little kid,
and you just grab your parent, and just
like cry everything out into them.
Like, it was like that.
I've been depressed many times
in my life, but, like, that was...
I've never, like, felt a bleakness.
Like, just a pure... nothingness.
[solemn music]
I used to have dreams of him.
I remember I had this one dream...
where he and I were sitting
in a jacuzzi together.
And I remember telling him,
"Hey, man, I'm...
I'm really sorry you died."
[Mark] He was like... he's like,
"Why do you care that I'm dead,
when you're still so afraid to live?"
And I woke up from that dream
just, like, a fucking mess, total mess.
But I had this very
powerful realization that,
if there's no reason to do anything,
there's also no reason to not do anything.
Like, there's no reason to be ashamed,
there's no reason to be afraid.
And so that fall, I-I really...
it really changed me a lot.
You know, before he died,
I was a very, like, prototypical...
stoner... middleclass stoner kid, you know.
Like, too cool for school,
too cool to care.
I thought I didn't give a fuck, you know,
but it's like I actually gave
way too many fucks.
And that's why I was scared
to really do anything.
And when he died,
it was a wake up call of like,
you've got to care.
You've got to pick something and care."
'Cause it can be gone...
any moment.
It doesn't matter how old you are,
doesn't matter how...
how fit you are, or whatever, like...
It can... When it goes, it goes fast,
nobody is prepared for it.
When I... when I think about Josh,
I-I just... I think he'd be proud of me.
I think he kind of felt like
an older brother to me too, you know?
I think he kind of saw
that I needed to be pushed.
And he was that friend who pushed me.
He would fucking love this.
He would love every second of it.
[soft sigh]
I have this weird tendency
whenever I visit someplace...
I want to stand
as close to the edge as possible.
[wind gusting]
There's kind of like
this unconscious awareness your body has
whenever you're close to an edge
that could kill you.
And as soon as you're within,
you know, say ten feet, that...
your body is in alert status.
It just kind of...
it sends this jolt of anxiety through you.
And then you're forced
to confront that anxiety,
and then you take another step.
[rocks rumble]
And each step,
the anxiety just start compounding
to the point where your hands are shaking,
your scalp is sweating,
your brain starts flashing...
visions of it all ending.
That's what I find
when I get close to a cliff edge.
It brings me back to that place
of pure thankfulness for being alive.
But there's really only
a few things in life
that are ever worth giving a fuck about.
[pensive music]
[breathes deeply]
Only in the face of death,
all of the superficial
and bullshitty values that we buy into
start to fall away.
You start to realize that
that the dumb status games you play
no longer mean anything.
Or that the achievements and accolades
that you struggled for so many years for,
nobody cares about when you're gone.
When we avoid the question of death,
that's when we get highjacked by silly
and superficial and hateful ideas.
It's when we become certain in ourselves,
even though we have no clue
what's going on.
The gravity of our entitlement
pulls all of our attention inwards,
to become obsessed with our problems,
to convince ourselves
that our problems are somehow
at the center of the universe,
that we are at the center
of all injustices,
that we are the ones
who are destined for greatness,
that we are the ones
who deserve something over others.
[uplifting music]
Without acknowledging
the ever-present gaze of death,
the superficial begins to feel important,
and the important
starts to feel superficial.
Thinking about death removes all that.
It forces you to see
that 99 percent of the shit
going on in your day-to-day life
doesn't fucking matter.
Death is the only certainty in life.
Therefore death must be the compass
by which we orient
all of our values and decisions.
How are you using your time?
How are you using your limited fucks?
Who are you going to be with?
This constant remembering
of my own mortality,
for me, it's the most effective tool
for unraveling everything.
My sense of entitlement,
my closed-up identity,
my irrational certainties.
By remembering
that it's all a bunch of dust
that will soon be gone...
[bird squawking]'s easier to let go.
[mellow music]
It's this ability to choose ourselves
in an endless ambiguity
that makes us great.
You don't have to go do something
to feel these things.
You don't have to go be something
to realize these things.
You simply are them.
The more I think about my own death,
the brighter life gets.
The quieter the world becomes.
The easier decisions become.
You, too, are going to die one day,
but that's because
you are fortunate enough to have lived.
And you may not feel this right now.
You may not feel any of this.
But go stand on a cliff sometime
and maybe you will.
["Happy (Make You Happy)"
by Max Sedgley playing]
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy
["Happy (Make You Happy)"
by Max Sedgley continues playing]
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Make you happy baby
Happy baby, happy baby, happy baby
["Momento Mori" by Karl Steven
and Mark Perkins playing]