If you Really want to be a Rebel, Practice Kindness.

One of the features of our times is that everyone wants to be a rebel. Wanting to be unconventional and opiniated is a sign of the times. Valuing independence is part of survival, after all. It’s considered cool to be a rebel and rebellion has become a part of everyone’s life. But the thing is that it is often being misperceived with being bold and free, whereas to a certain extent it is more an indication of feeling fragile.

When you row against the current for something that is important to you, it can be that you are just fighting for what you believe in, which is a good thing, and it is rooted in a strong personality. When you rebel just for the sake of rebellion, however, with no apparent reason, you are very likely feeling vulnerable and isolated, which is sad and deplorable.

I’m a member of that last club. My whole life I was a rebel, thinking that I was establishing a pleasurable life for myself, that I was challenging the status quo, while I was just trying to survive spiritually. I went against the grain and broke established rules, only to compensate for an inner weakness.

Certain rebel personalities are merely about asserting power and control over others, which in my view is even more shameful than doing it because you are trying to conceal your sensitivity. Rather than resisting the impulse to fight, to judge, to complain, this kind of rebel will always find a reason to revolt.

True rebels, however, are very different from the above variations. They are not against rules or what others say, simply for the sake of causing conflict. They will protest things because they believe in a cause, and can communicate about it with confidence. They fight injustice, and question accepted standards or customs, because they are smart enough to know how these came about, and how little sense they often make.

Because there is logic to the seeming insanity of true rebels. They know the value of independent thinking and are not afraid to stand alone, as they believe the group is usually wrong. They don’t accept the status quo without question. They are kind and intelligent, besides being very passionate, compassionate, and determined. Sometimes they may come across as arrogant, but they are in fact faithfully working for the general interest of the population as a whole. They are original thinkers, have an unlimited enthusiasm, and they show great courage when facing overwhelming opposition. They are heroes, to me, as they can provide a powerful force for positive change in the world. Our world would also be less colorful without them.

My entire life I thought that I was a member of that last group of rebels, but I wasn’t. Unfortunately I was one of the rebels who were trying to veil their inner weakness. Where did this weakness come from? I’d say most likely it derived from my upbringing, at home and at school. When I was young it was believed that parents needed to be very authoritarian and that teachers needed to be strict, if children were to grow up to be responsible adults. That this tough love often translated into mental and physical cruelty, was covered with the cloak of charity, because that was how it had always been, and it supposedly hadn’t done anybody harm. Today I am certain that my sense of powerlessness is stemming from those horrendous childhood experiences. My unruliness was nothing else than a compensatory system.

So, next time you meet a rebellious person, consider the idea that he or she might be somebody with a heavy past. Show some compassion for them. As for the true rebels, we have to value them for what they do and how they are, as they are humbly doing a dirty job for the rest of us, by healing the world one small deed at a time.

To Be or Not To Be a Cynic

People sometimes ask me why I am such a cynic.

Yeah… Why is that, I wonder… It’s not as if the human race has done anything to make me hold a low opinion of it…

Okay, maybe I have never seen things in rose-colored glasses, and I might have had a dark view on human nature and the future of mankind since I was seven, but that doesn’t necessarily make me cynical. It just means that I like to look at things as they really are. And they are awful, believe it or not. They are sickening beyond belief.


When you are intoxicated with overly optimistic expectations, a cynic can help you. When you think the world is a wonderful place, let us fix your mind, so you can open up to what is really going on. In short: we can help you opening your eyes so you’ll see what is truly there.

Your naivety and tenderheartedness is unpleasant, to say the least. Of course you think you are like a necessary counterweight against cynicism, but in fact you are just being silly. That is why we as cynics are always struggling to get our point across. Even if we are the voice of reason, we will commonly be dismissed, and our advice will often be ignored.

You yourself will probably refuse to take in what you are reading here, but that’s only normal. Given a persistent culture which continuously reinforces the “all is fine” propaganda, it would be strange if you didn’t trust that everything will be alright, in the end.

So, being positive is the more comfortable way to go. Nevertheless, this post is an honest effort to try to reach your warm, stupid and senseless heart and turn it into the cold stone that it ought to be. Let us try to achieve that, will we?

First of all it is elemental to take in that most human behavior is motivated entirely by self-interest, and that the greater part of the worlds suffering is human-caused. Man is in essence egotistical. Even in what seem to be acts of philanthropy, people only choose to help out others because of what they expect or hope to get in return.

Second: everybody lies. They lie to themselves and they lie to others. Their life is a lie, because that is what makes it bearable. If people would see their life as it is, they would jump of a bridge first chance they’d got.

Third: you are not better than anybody else. In fact, since you are reading this blog, chances are you are more untrustworthy than others and your moral code probably sucks. Only a dishonorable mind would be so easily enticed to visit a website called “The Secret Life of Everybody”. Ask yourself what you’re doing here, and admit to yourself just what a sleazeball you truly are.

If you can fundamentally empathize with the above three principles, you might be eligible to be (or to become) a cynic.

Just a warning, though. Being a cynic is quite a responsibility. You must cast away all nonsense and only allow reality to enter your mind. Again, the truth is out there, but it is seldom applied. That is why opinions of cynics have a negative connotation.

For example. To a cynic, the best thing that could happen to this planet is human extinction. If we all just would stop breeding, the world would be a much better place. There are those who believe that this is an adverse view, but I believe cynics are merely sensitive to what’s truly going on in the world, and since humanity’s competitive selfishness and aggression against nature has nearly destroyed the world, we cynics consider it to be better to wipe out humankind entirely, to salvage what’s left of the planet.

We love to speak our mind, without care or concern for social niceties. It is wonderful to be impulsive and to not overthink everything. Of course, we hurt people this way, but we feel a bit sorry for folks who never enjoy the profuse freedom that cynicism awakens. Just because positivists want to seem nice they put political correctness before anything else. It’s such an old-fashioned worldview, but we are here to defuse that attitude.

Now, to make sure you fully understand, it will be quite hard to be a cynic. Sure, the truth will set you free, but it won’t necessarily make you happy. Most cynics are too authentic to find happiness. We don’t care about people’s sensibilities as we do not want to live in a world of illusions and lies, and so, as an inevitable consequence, we are absurdly disliked. Being honest will hurt people’s feelings, but we think it’s better to hurt someone than to be a fucking liar, all the time. Once you’ve told the truth, you’ll find that everything else is like cheap whisky.

You might say that what I am telling you is a very bleak view on society, but if you were able to look through our eyes for only a day, you’d see what we’re talking about, and you’d feel just the same as us about the cruelty and barbarism that is lurking in human nature.

If you too like sincerity and prefer an authentic life, if you refuse to live in lala land, you should try to discover the cynic in you. If you find him or her, come and join us.


© 2018 – David Lee Kollberg

The Futility of Work

When you step back and look at society, it becomes obvious that we’re on the wrong track. We’ve accomplished great things with scientific progress and new technologies, making our lives slightly more easy, and we’ve even relieved a large number of people from suffering, but at the same time we are working our asses off, more than ever, only to make a few rich people all the more richer.

I feel we could do a lot better.

We have a schooling system which generally puts our children into a grading structure from the very beginning. We let our children work hard to prepare them to become a useful part of the economic machine. We want them to be happy, and strangely enough we believe they can only achieve that if they succeed financially, and to do this they need to learn as much marketable skills as possible. So we force our children to go from kindergarten to graduate school to college, to get those grades, to get more skills. We push them into learning programs that put a focus on marketability, so when they finish school they can become engineers or computer programmers or sales persons.

The result of all of the above, is that we are now a nation of slave laborers who are persuaded that the way to success can only be achieved by working hard in some bullshit job. We keep on laboring away, convinced that this will, eventually, make us happier. Only later in life we become conscious that everything we’ve been told was a lie and that we are living in a meaningless dystopia.

It is for instance a painful paradox that the older we become, the more money we usually have, but we also have increasingly less time to enjoy the freedom we can buy with that money. That’s pretty bizarre, since the purpose of earning money should be to do things that make us happy, like playing, doing nothing, hanging out with friends, experimenting, creating, and doing stuff that makes our life more meaningful.

Instead we join the rat race, often doing things that we hate to do. Work has become a mix of the job itself, the emotional benefit of accumulating money, the hunger for status, and the ability to afford a wealthier lifestyle than our neighbors. There’s a forceful idea that gets fixed in our minds. We believe that our ultimate goal is getting closer every day, this fabulous thing we are working so hard for, the ‘success’ that will give us freedom.

This goal can – of course – never be achieved. That is why many people in the west spend their entire working lives doing tasks they believe to be unnecessary or plain nonsensical, but they keep doing it anyway. The obsession of our leaders with maximizing economic growth, with keeping control over us by making us increasingly work harder, is a subtle form of slavery. It causes serious psychological distress which damages our personality in a far worse sense than we realize.

As we grow older, we have so much responsibilities and stuff going on, that we don’t have time left to engage in new, meaningful relationships, anymore. People start expecting us to behave very much like they do. They want us to be efficient and productive. The times of youthful exploration, of being delightfully immature, have faded away, and we’ve inevitably grown into the responsible adults our parents always wanted us to be.

Unfortunately being an adult seems to mean to be more effective and practical, to be hard-working, to be responsible and to act important. Let me ask you this. Who wants to be practical and efficient, hard-working, when they can have adventure and passion in their life?

People are essentially playful. To suppress this desire to play is unnatural, but we all do it, and in this sense we all bear responsibility in sustaining this senseless work culture, which contributes nothing beneficial to society, and which was only designed to push us into submission.

We gradually have reduced our leisure time to less than half of our waking hours during any given working day. We have sacrificed this free time to the sacred duty of being employed. We work to get higher up that ladder that corporations have installed for us, to keep us working more effectively and productively. We could be doing constructive and rewarding things, things that we perhaps dreamed of when we were young, but we go for mindless work, as we are told that this will be favorable to us and work is the only normal and honorable way to achieve anything worthwhile.

So… We worship our job, create a family, and get in the habit of doing more, to have more, so that (at least, this is what we believe) we’ll be more. This is of course a misconception. In fact, we get so caught up in earning money, in running by a to-do list, in boundless paperwork, that our perception of what is important gets totally distorted, and we forget our creative nature and our desire to play, while being driven to use extreme time management to get everything done.

As the so-called opportunities grow in our lives, we go faster and faster. We become workaholics, constantly moving forward, but we are not going anywhere. We are just treading water, trying to keep our head above it.

Social dynamics encourage a productivity that goes far beyond the amount of work we actually need to do, in order to feed ourselves, and have a roof to live under. We are encouraged to work for the bigger house, the fancier car, the nicer clothes, the cooler technological gadgets, etc, etc. Everybody knows this, but nobody talks about it. We all just go along with it, like mindless working stiffs, living to work, instead of working to live.

Deep down we know that being unproductive is vital to us and that efficiency and productivity is for robots, not for humans. When humans have time to reflect, to stand still and look around, we get to know ourselves a lot better. When we don’t worry about work, areas connected with introspection, creativity, and abstract thought flare up. We are able to seek a more stimulating scene with people who strengthen rather than weaken our character. In that sense, a fixed circle of friends (which is what most of us try to sustain) has some disadvantages. When your friends put work before anything else, they tend to infect you. If you are surrounded by workaholics, chances are that you are one too, or fast on your way to become one.

But where does this reflex of ours, to join the working community, come from? It’s because we’ve been continuously indoctrinated into believing that we have an obligation to contribute and to add our skills and effort to the improvement of society. The cultural norm has always been that, if you can work, you should work, even if there is no meaningful employment available.

Still, when I was a child, technological progress was said to result in us working less, with machines doing the work for us, and this is what actually would’ve happened, if capitalist thinking wouldn’t have gotten in the way.

So what the hell happened?

In the late sixties, the fear was increasing about a future society consisting largely of uncontrollable bohemians with too much time on their hands. The establishment decided to take action to prevent this, as they believed that more free time would undeniably result in more crime and degeneracy. So, we are now working harder than ever, more focused on the job at hand, wasting our talents in stupid careers that only generate more money.

We’ve shifted from a technology driven world, that would create a better future for everyone, to a venture capital system that amplifies labor discipline and social control. The control they have over us is so immense that we aren’t even aware of it, anymore.

To work, just for the sake of working, is humanity’s biggest, most tragic mistake, and still this is what we keep on doing. There is so much time, intelligence, and human happiness squandered, but even if we admit to it, we refuse to accept that this system isn’t sustainable.

We should ask ourselves if we would still be doing our job, if we didn’t need the money. If the answer is no, we are wasting our valuable time.


© 2018 – David Lee Kollberg

The Absurdity of Democracy

Why do we put so much faith in “the majority rule” when we elect our politicians? The majority rule, or as I like to call it “the demise of intellect”, has sparked the holocaust, gang rapes, police brutality, religious domination, chaos and destruction at protests, debatable military interventions, torture in interrogation rooms and the election of certifiable idiots like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump as presidents.

The Tyranny of the Majority is what is wrong with democracy. If 51% of the citizens vote in approval of something, the other 49% must live with it, no matter how unfair, impractical, unjust, or just plain evil that something might be. I’m often not in agreement with the majority, but all the same it is the majority that will make the important decisions, no matter how significant or reliable the minority is that disagrees.

Even if we know that no less than a third of the electorate can be objectively designated as badly informed voters (in other words, they are freakishly stupid), we keep on endorsing democracy as the only acceptable political system. The fact that a third of the voters doesn’t know what’s going on, doesn’t read any newspapers, doesn’t watch the news and only gets its “facts” from social media, will apparently not change our commitment to democracy. So we tolerate this massive number of morons to elect a bunch of other morons to preside over us and subsequently we have to suffer the consequences for four or more years. Even when a large portion of the public is simply too ignorant for democracy, it remains the political system we embrace.

Regardless of the madness of electing people via a democratic system, I distrust politicians. They all have the same haircut, they wear the same hideous ties, they sound the same, support comparable dogmas and they often went to the same universities. They are out of touch with the public’s wants and needs and only serve the interests of themselves and the people that belong to their own crowd. Accordingly there is only a small group of civilians that has social, political and economic advantages from their relationship with the political elite. And guess what? You are not in that small group.

Furthermore, the political game is manipulated long before you can cast a vote.  Most parties benefit the ruling class, and the ruling class decides who will be electable. A lot of campaigning money comes from private companies and wealthy people. Since there are laws that limit sponsorship for political campaigns, they donate tons of money to foundations and institutions that also will put forward their preferred candidates. In the end the people get to choose between the bad and the stupid, and it is a “choice” which gives people no power at all.

We are constantly brainwashed that democracy is wonderful, that it is the same as freedom, but it’s pure nonsense. We may have more so-called freedom here than they have – let’s say – in Russia, but the only difference is that we have a slightly longer leash. In reality we are just as uninfluential as the Russians and in many ways we are less relaxed, as we have to work a lot harder for only a fraction of additional freedom.

But democracy is even wrong on a theoretical level. When most people support an idea that is stupid or evil,  this idea doesn’t miraculously become smart or good. It’s the same when an idea is integrally smart or good, it is not any less so because only a minority supports it. In that sense democracy is not very effectual, because it legitimizes and legalizes evil, simply because the majority defends it, and it rejects constructive, progressive ideas, only because they are promoted by a minority (even though that minority is probably a lot better informed).

I’m not saying that there are no good politicians, I’m just saying that the good ones are usually not elected, because they have morals, and so they cannot be bought by the wealthy. So, we elect the least of all evils and afterwards we notice just how this democratically chosen government, that we have given so much power to, is actually working against our interests.

That is why I believe it is time to challenge the thought that democracy is a political system superior to all others. It is time to look for an alternative, if we do not want to live under a system that ignores individuals or minorities altogether.

Minorities, that exist next to each other, should retain autonomy about issues that are important to them, like geographic locality, cultural identity, economic situation, or other common interests. Only in matters that are manifestly important for the whole population, everyone can vote about which solution would be best. This way, people don’t have to be bothered with issues or campaigns that don’t concern or interest them.

Anybody can suggest a new law or an alteration of it. All proposals by the public will be examined by a self-improving artificial intelligence (SAI) system, which will determine if the proposition makes any sense and if it is appropriate locally or nationwide or even globally. If a new law is met with approval by the SAI, a first version of this law will then be generated by the SAI, before it will be submitted to the relevant community.

With new technologies it is achievable to let community members vote per case at hand. The result of these case per case votes should then be reviewed by a number of representatives. These people are selected by the SAI, based on merit and intelligence. It will elect inspired individuals who have in some way excelled and contributed to society in various ways. I’m thinking of lecturers, psychiatrists, artists, blue-collar workers, notaries, judges, sports people, talk show hosts, policemen, housewives, museum directors, philosophers, students, doctors,  nurses, social workers, etc… Anybody who has shown some talent or initiative or benevolence, and has proven to be dependable, could end up in a giant database of decision makers.

With each case, a number of these people are randomly chosen, so that no long term benefits can be obtained by individuals. Political campaigns will not exist, anymore. Politicians will disappear and will be replaced by groups of temporary people, selected from the pool of eligible citizens in the decision makers database. The self-improving artificial intelligence (SAI) will choose a group of people for any particular proposition. They will be paid by the hour, like consultants. The SAI system will make sure that it selects a mixed set of people, with diverse political and ethical preferences, a suitable ratio of women and men, and all the ethnicities that are relevant. This temporary board will then determine if what the people have chosen is something that is good for the community in question. If the board decides that the proposal is valuable to the majority of people in the community, a definitive version of the law will be created by the board. If the law is not accepted, it will simply be withdrawn.

Given the technological advances, it is only logical that we will use them to change our governmental system. In my opinion this is the only tactic with which we can bring the present-day detachment and electoral cynicism towards political elites to a halt.


© 2018 – David Lee Kollberg

Why Don’t You Smile More?

I don’t smile. My face doesn’t fall into a natural cheerful position all the time. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I do smile, on occasion, but it is not my standard look.

Some people walk around with a tight serial killer smile plastered on their face, throughout every social encounter of the day. Not me. I hate how people smile all the time. It doesn’t matter if they dislike the situation they are in or how much they hate the people they meet, they keep on smiling.

The need to constantly act as if everything is fine, to pretend as if you love the whole shebang of all what’s going on in your life, only shows how you are completely incapable of interacting with people in a sincere and natural way. You hide behind your smile, but the truth is that it is not a good hiding place.

Science tells us that smiling can make people think you’re unintelligent. Of course that kind of data cannot be read from your smile directly, but either way our subconscious convinces us that smiling people aren’t “very smart”. In other words, you come across as stupid when you smile.

Give me a smile!

I can’t stand people who smile all the time. The ever-present smile annoys me, because it takes away the power of a person’s genuine smile. When someone smiles while riding the bus, or walking the isle of a grocery store, or taking a morning dump with a stupid grin on their face, they annoy the shit out of me.

And please don’t tell me how maybe these people are just generally happy and they might have very good reasons to be smiling all the time. That’s bullshit. No one’s life is that fantastic.

I despise these brainless grinning people. What’s more, I could never take someone seriously who doesn’t give the impression they’ve gone through some kind of emotional pain. If you smile all the time, you might as well be dead to me.

I’m quite happy to have an RBF. My RBF – Resting Bitch Face – is a fixed facial expression which makes me seem to be angry, pissed off, irritated or disapproving of someone. This chronic zoned out face of mine suggests that I’m in a constant state of bitchiness and that I’m uninterested, depressed or angry. That is in part because I am uninterested, of course, but I’m also quite a happy guy. I just don’t walk around smiling all the time.

Whether I’m mad, ecstatic, depressed or excited, to the naked eye my facial expression will be very similar. People feel criticized and humiliated by my contemptuous face, but that isn’t a negative thing to me. When they look into my condescending eyes, it creates a feeling of insecurity in them. I like to be able to do that to people. It’s like having a superpower, or something.

My RBF helps me living my life the way I want to. Most people will go out of their way to avoid me or to prevent starting a conversation with me. Since I’m kind of misanthropic, this suits me very well.

It’s also never a problem for me to be taken seriously. People hear what I have to say, they see my RBF that goes along with it, and they know I am being very serious.

Being a non-smiler gives the impression of being more confident and not to be messed with. That is why my chances to get what I want increase remarkably.

I am convinced that the advantages of an RBF outweigh the disadvantages. Most people feel bad about their RBF, but I don’t. I embrace my bitchy face.

Now, I believe that there are many things going on in the world today to have an RBF about, but such seemingly RBF-provoking affairs are not the actual cause of an RBF. The main thing to be aware of, is that my RBF doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m truly annoyed, angry or constipated. I could be, but it isn’t necessarily the case.

It can be frustrating to live with an RBF when you get a sudden urge to socialize or when you meet new people. People’s brains are fixed on studying other people’s faces for emotional signals, and so even the smallest inconsistencies in my facial expression can give them the wrong idea about me.

Other people don’t see me as angry but assume that I’m unhappy all the time. They tell me that life’s basically fucked up for everyone and that there is no need to make it worse by acting as if I’m in a constant state of existential crisis.

‘Why don’t you smile more?’ they ask. They argue that we are all in the same shitty boat, and we can decide to be happy, or choose to be gloomy. They mean well, but it is quite silly to think that I’m miserable, as my RBF is an involuntary condition. I can’t help it to look like this, albeit that it makes my life a lot easier.

Some would perhaps argue that the term RBF is misogynistic, because of the ‘bitch’ aspect, but I disagree. I have discovered that as many men as women ‘suffer’ from it, and so it is mostly gender neutral. Albeit that older women seem to be a bit more affected by the syndrome than other people.

Come to think of it, I would argue that, in the case of supposed RBF in older women, they generally ARE embittered and angry, and so they give us – real RBF owners – a bad reputation.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

Happiness is a Temporary Emotion

Permanent happiness is marketed as the most important life goal. Companies try to convince us that we can only achieve steadfast happiness if we acquire more stuff to make our lives pleasing and fun. And – as it is fairly easy to accomplish – we willingly rely on this mantra of a purchasable everlasting happiness.

Happy People

They make us believe that, in order to fight the inevitable gloom of an ordinary life, we have to work hard at our self-confidence and ambition. We need to keep our focus on a number of productive and constructive targets, that will make our lives successful and stand out from other people’s miserable existences.

It seems that, in order to be happy, we primarily need a lot of money. If we don’t have money, our biggest pursuit should be to make money. Lots of it. Enough to make all our dreams come true. Still, just as you cannot buy happiness, you cannot achieve it either. It will come to you, sooner or later, or it will never come at all. And when it comes, it never lasts.

Enjoying the simple pleasures in life, however, is not only within our grasp, it also improves our well-being and makes life more enjoyable. While the fanatical pursuit of a lifelong happiness ironically leaves us less happy, having a mindful existence brings us more joy.

Whether it is making brief eye contact with someone of the opposite sex, or we enjoy the first sip of a drink when we are thirsty, or we wake up and realize we have a lot more time to sleep, or we get an unexpected compliment from somebody that we hold dear… These are the things we actually live for. Holding hands with someone we love also ranks high on the pyramid of pleasure. The awareness of how much someone means to us can be quite overwhelming. It may seem obvious when we say it out loud, but love truly is all that matters.

So, to put it mildly, the pursuit of individual happiness by acquiring ‘more’ (as in more things, more status, more money…) is rather silly. The search for happiness is in itself a bit absurd. It is the same like the senseless desire to be taller, or smarter, or more talented. You are, or you aren’t, no matter how hard you try.

We are supposed to view a happy life as the norm, because that will make us buy more stuff and consume more, but the truth is that experiencing deep sadness should be accepted as an important part of life. Without it, true happiness is unattainable.

There is a clear link between the media-overwhelmed world we live in, and the way we perceive our personal growth. There are so many advertisers and retailers fighting for our attention, that we get showered with motivational suggestions to become more happy, and to become excellent as human beings, to make other people envious of the lives we are living.

Salespersons deliberately exploit our most primary insecurities and increase our self-loathing. They make us want to wear trendy shoes and clothes, get our hands on a fabulous car, a beautiful house, an amazing holiday destination… They aspire to make us go to beauty parlors, tanning salons, fitness clubs, and so on. They paint a picture what happiness is supposed to look like, and then they sell us the components of that picture.

And so most people have a bizarre approach towards happiness. Instead of simply accepting a happy life, and trying to make something of it through self-actualization and meaningful fulfilment, we tend to care more about giving ‘the impression to be happy’ than to actually being happy. We worry more about how our lives look on social media, than how they are in reality. That is where most of our joy in life comes from: of the idea that others are conscious of our marvelous life, no matter how fake it actually is.

By hiding our real emotions, we refuse to accept that life can be sad as well as happy, and the more we try to become more happy, the less happy we will feel, since trying to be happy increases the idea that we aren’t happy to begin with.

Wasting time dwelling on the things we don’t have is… well… a waste of time. When we appreciate what we have, we will automatically be more happy. That is why we need to try to live a life of true awareness. We should change the way we look at people, and find the good and beauty in them. We need to see the world in a totally different way, and appreciate and treasure it more, because how we perceive things, is ultimately what defines our level of happiness.

So, as Charles Bukowski’s gravestone says: “DON’T TRY”… Because if you try to do something, you’re actually not doing it…


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

The Hamster Wheel of Consumerism

In this digital era we are being bombarded with information, and this has a great effect on how we perceive the world and how we lead our lives. We have become mental slaves of the advertisements and commercials that we are continually exposed to, and we have the desire to imitate the lifestyle of celebrities that we see in pop culture news. This system of striving for a more luxurious life often leads to frustration and disappointment, as we can never have enough to appease our mind.

There is always something new around the corner. Whatever magnificent thing we buy, a new model with new features will soon hit the market, and it will make the thing you just bought seem obsolete or outdated. So we never feel truly satisfied and this makes us more susceptible to an even greater appetite for materialism.

This is normal. Better said, it is the norm. Our entire culture is built on these easy pleasures. We are tempted to look for superficial gratification and so we buy trendy smartphones and shiny designer footwear, believing they will make us feel better. Still, buying a car or cellphone brings you no more than momentary joy. That’s because we’re never satisfied and our hunger for possessions needs constant to be fueled with new random stuff that advertisements are convincing us we have to have. Our everyday aspiration seems to be to live a superficial, pleasure-driven and greedy life, like a rat in a Skinner box that is always looking for the next dopamine shot.

Does this retail therapy really work for you?

BLOG | The Hamster Wheel of Consumerism

The submissive way in which we try to find happiness isn’t working. In fact, it is inane. You can strive for the typical pursuits that are desired by most people, like wealth, fame and possessions, but these base urges are not going to generate much happiness. It is people, friends and family, that matter. A healthy relationship is also an apparent happiness booster. Likewise, experiencing things will bring you a lot more joy than having things. The things that don’t last, like a night out or a city trip, almost always create a lasting happiness, while having something that lasts longer, like a car or a computer, soon loses its attraction.

Of course it’s easier to go with the flow, than to try to make independent life decisions. When life confuses us, when we are overwhelmed by misfortune, purchasing stuff is a time-honored coping mechanism. We feel a void in our lives and try to fill it with buying a silk shirt, sunglasses, a leather jacket, a 70-inch flat-screen, a new car, and all kinds of other crap we don’t necessarily need.

This is how we have been taught – from a very young age on – to get through difficult passages in our lives. Our parents did it as well, and so they gave us the impression that happiness was mainly to be obtained by material things.

When we are restless, we will often look for an immediate solution, splashing out our hard earned money on pointless things. Regrettably enough, these purchases have the opposite effect than what we’d expect. Sure, material things give us a temporary enjoyment, but that effect doesn’t last very long, and very soon we will feel our stress hormone cortisol increasing again. So with our credit card in hand, and our 24/7 access to the internet, we get carried away to buy more stuff, in the hope that happiness will spontaneously present itself, if we only have enough sparkly possessions which we can brag about.

Impulsively following your basic desires makes you a slave to your yearnings, a slave to the ideals and shady values of those around you. The thousands of advertisements you’re exposed to induce chemical signals in your mind so you will feel the urge to purchase more things.

Let’s say that at the end of your life you would discover that other people weren’t all that impressed with your lifestyle and the things you owned. Do you really want to depart this life leaving a big house filled with meaningless stuff? Or do you want to leave this planet knowing that people will think of you for all the wonderful memories you’ve lived and shared with them?

The obvious conclusion would be to reduce our desires and wants, to find peace and happiness by not wanting so much.

I disagree. Our ambition should not be to remove desire completely from our lives. Instead, our goal should be to transfer our desires to more valuable pursuits, like compassion, redemption, friendship, creating memories… To invest more in meaningful experiences with the people we love… These things we should pursue with great passion.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

The Flaws That Make Us Fall In Love

We are all born with the idea that our life will go a certain way and that we will be fortunate enough to find someone exceptional to love. We have an indestructible faith that we will meet someone that is our soulmate, and with whom we will spend our entire life with. Even when the odds and statistics contradict us, we keep on having that same dream.

Gradually, however, we learn that not everything lasts forever and that people might leave us, at some point. So, after some disappointments, we start to feel unsettled and insecure and – out of a need to protect ourselves – we begin to find fault in every partner and walk out on the people who come into our life, long before they have a chance to leave us.

Art by Wouter Vandevoorde

Out of the anxiety to be heartbroken another time, we subconsciously create pointless drama to push people away. While we might be under the impression that people always leave us, it is much more likely that we are self-sabotaging every relationship we take part in, simply to protect ourselves from being hurt again.

If no one is ever good enough for us, it is clear that we may have unrealistic notions about what a relationship is like, because being in a relationship is not all roses and fairy dust. We will need the courage to step out of our comfort zone, if we want to find something special and worthwhile, and not something common or boring.

Fighting with your lover is expected. You cannot avoid it. The only thing you can avoid is negative patterns with regards to arguing without a real reason. Having someone in your life who holds you accountable is fantastic. Having someone in your life who is only blaming you for things, it becomes an unbearable burden. The fights you do have, should make you come out stronger. You have to deal with what the other does or says, because you don’t want them to hide for you, and you always want to know where you stand.

If you consistently point out shortcomings in the other, and will find fault in everything they think or do, you will never be happy with that person, as you can’t feel attached to someone if you are always seeing them in a bad light. If you expect them to be perfect, the downfall of your relationship will be unavoidable, because if you look for a reason why you shouldn’t be with somebody, you will surely find one.

The lovey-dovey couples depicted in romantic novels are a figment of our imagination. In the real world we have to keep our jobs, make time for friends and family, and get through the daily grind, which doesn’t always makes us fun to be with. We are not always available for our partner, and this fact alone causes couples to break up, far more often than it should.

It is the unrealistic expectations that ruin our love life. The lesson in reality is often in finding the determination to see that our partners are not only there to please us, and that their world doesn’t revolve around us, but that they need time for themselves, for other people and things, and that this does not automatically mean that they are neglecting us.

When there isn’t enough room in a relationship to just be yourself, to have your quirks accepted, the relationship won’t stand the test of time. So, try not to go against the other for what he or she is and what he or she believes. Don’t try to change them into that perfect lover that you had in mind, as it is very unlikely that you yourself will be the perfect lover to them.

If you believe that – for some reason – someone is not made for you, eventually you are – beyond a doubt – going to end up without them, maybe end up with someone fake, and that is the opposite of what you actually want and need.

It is better to not want somebody perfect, as love isn’t perfect, and people are not perfect. It is not achievable to have a perfect love, just as it is not attainable to be a flawless person.

In a way, it is the flaws that make us fall in love.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg



Want to be alone? Tell people the truth.

In our hearts we all care too much about offending people. We don’t speak the truth, ever, for fear of pushing people away.

So we hide our satirical hearts under a shell of thoughtless niceness. We put up a façade and water down our sentiments, sugarcoat our ideas, and weaken our standpoints. We talk about people as if they are gifted, and witty, and lovely, in the hope that we might fit in, that people will like us, that a company will hire us and give us that big fat paycheck.

Everybody does it, by the way. Yes, you do it too. You’re not the bohemian you think you are. And, by the way, hippies do it as well. They are not better than us. Just look at Steve Jobs. He was basically an asshole who blatantly lied to us, so he could entice us into buying his fancy phones we don’t need, so we’d be seen as ‘cool’ by people we don’t even care about.

When people say they don’t lie, they are lying. We all follow our social contracts, whether we want to admit it, or not. You tell me I’m clever, I tell you you’re charming and amusing. If I secretly think you are a hypocrite, I will tell you that you are ‘diplomatic’. We develop our people pleasing talents to avoid conflict. That’s how we manage to get along. That’s how pathetic we are.

But that is not the only reason we lie. We need to deceive ourselves a little, just as much as we want to mislead others about how we truly are. We in fact want to come across as ‘nice’. We know what the alternative is, and nobody choses to openly be an asshole or a bitch.

Being impertinent could render us to become very lonely. So, we are polite to people, as that is how we secretly want them to treat us. We are wimps, and we’d better accept it. We would do everything not to be lonely. We cannot say what we think, as loneliness could be our punishment.

Think about your lies. I mean, your life. What does it amount to? Are you cautious with offending people? Have you been able to lie enough to yourself, to make yourself believe that all is going well? That you love your family, that you love your friends? That you love your job, even?

You hate your job. Admit it. You might even hate your family, albeit that this will be harder for you to admit.

We work hard to not tell the truth, or to keep our mouths shut, because we don’t want to drive away everyone who might care for us. That is because we have this delusion that there is anyone out there that truly appreciates us. It is just a survival instinct, because we can’t deal with the idea that there is nobody in the whole wide world who gives a damn about us. I will recap for the slow people: there is nobody out there that gives a shit about you. Better learn to accept it.

We want people to tell us that ‘all is going to be fine’, when things look gloomy. We actually want to be lied to, because the truth disheartens us and a lie is more comforting. These platitudes are killing us. But we want to be killed. Everything is better than being alive and knowing the truth.

That is why we rather have people say “Have a nice day!”, while they don’t actually care, than them being sincere, and look right through us.

The funny thing is that it becomes a knee-jerk reaction. As kids we often tell the truth, calling other children ugly, or stupid, or uncool. Soon we start to notice that this is not taken very well by the one that we say it to. So slowly – ever so slowly – most of us ‘adapt’ and after a while we acquire the skill to say what we want to say in a more subtle way. We fake our entire adult lives, as natural born liars.

That said, I believe we should try to find some balance in the tactfulness. In my experience people do not like it very much, when you treat them like they’re stupid. Basically that is what lying to people is; you deem the person you tell stories to, to be stupid enough to get away with whatever dishonesty you throw at them.

But how can we stop it? How are we going to put an end to this habit of politeness? It has become an inbuilt feature to lie to everyone and to invite others to lie to us. We so much hate the truth, that we have replaced harsh realities with comforting white lies.

Still, would you not expect that in a grown-up society we can be more honest to one another? That we should not need to sweet-talk people, just to get things done or to get some positive attention?

That doesn’t mean that we actively have to strive to offend people. It just means that we should be able to be sincere, to speak the truth, without having to apologize all the time.

Not trying to please everyone should not be seen as a crime against humanity. It should be seen as the greatest compliment, actually.

Because since I’m being sincere and outspoken towards you, it means I respect you and validate your intelligence.

Simple as that.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

The Joy of Being Unimportant

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” – John C. Maxwell

We’re raised believing that we’re special, but maybe it would humble us to consciously consider our unimportance in the universe. We’re really not the center of the world, even if our girl- or boyfriend tells us so, or our gigantic paycheck – and all the fabulous things that we own – might make us believe that we are.

The barrenness that surrounds us is enormous. We’re basically nothing but ancient stardust, residing on a tiny globe, orbiting a blazing ball of burning gas in the middle of an infinite sea of cosmological decay. Nobody knows what we are doing here, but it must be important, as we deem ourselves to be important. That’s why we always wonder about the meaning of life, while deep down we know that there isn’t any.

Recognizing our unimportance sets us free from the commands of the egocentric voice in our head that’s essentially causing many of the problems in our lives. This voice nurtures the idea that we are entitled to and deserve anything that we want. The only thing we have, however, is the opportunity to be alive in this specific nanosecond. The previous nanosecond is gone, the next nanosecond isn’t certain, and the end is always near. So, we can strive for what we want, but it can be taken away or lost at any moment, as that is how the universe goes about.

You will die. I hope this isn’t news to you. Before you start worrying about what you might think on your deathbed, whether you will be happy with the choices you’ve made, think about the thousands of days before that day. They are the ones you should be worrying about, as they possibly will be just as insignificant as your dying day, and that also doesn’t matter, as nothing you can do or think really matters much.

To fully be alive, we have to accept a degree of inferiority towards something greater. Confidence of how meaningless we are can be rewarded by true happiness. If you cannot live with the idea that this is nothing and your life means nothing and anything you ever do will be nothing, you will not be able to live a brave life. Wanting to be relevant induces in your mind a panic that robs you from the great joys in life.

Because you can find liberation in all this, if you truly want to. You don’t have to strive for fame. You don’t have to become wealthy, be self-sacrificing, be a decent person, even. You don’t have to worry about anything, because what is it all going to lead to? Nothing at all.

So, live a little and accept your nothingness. There are very few things in life that merit your interest, just as you don’t especially deserve any interest yourself.

Just be.

It’s a little conceptual shift you need to come up with, to make everything that happens to you more bearable. And if you’re lucky, you might even enjoy parts of it. Because when all is said and done, the things you stress about, your day to day decisions that seem to be essential, won’t make the slightest difference.

Admitting that you are nothing, that your life means nothing, will make you able to endure that your future is reliably pointless. Best case scenario is that it is going to be okay. So you may as well take it a step further, and stop chasing your hopes and dreams. Instead you should maybe just try to accept whatever comes next. Our lives are composed out of ‘whatever comes next’. You can try to control it, but you’ll fail miserably. As a great philosopher once said: whatever will be, will be.

The universe isn’t concerned with our fabricated sense of importance. Sooner or later, there will be a discrepancy between the story we are living, and the harsh reality that takes place. You might have seen it coming and be not surprised by it, or you may well experience a mental breakdown, of which you could never recover.

Alternatively, when you realize you are insignificant, you don’t have to pretend that the group you belong to is anything else than a figment of your imagination, that the prestige you have attained is making you more important than billions of others (and then I am only counting the living creatures on this little planet we call home).

Wouldn’t it be better for you to expect that day of wisdom to come, so that you can free yourself from the societal burdens of life right now? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have no regret for what has passed, and to not worry about what is coming?

Just imagine that you could stop being anxious about death, about the life you are living before you die. Understand that your illustrious legacy, containing all the good things you’ve done, is something that only exists in your mind, while you are alive. When we die, we cannot confirm our actions, good or bad, anymore. We will not be able to think about our legacy and be proud of what we’ve done, as being dead is experiencing nothing, and being aware of nothing.

Also, the people you care about? They are of no importance. No one actually matters, and what they think of you, whether you are alive or death, doesn’t matter either. This is the bitter truth that few of us are able to take in, but it remains true, nevertheless.

Don’t take life so seriously. When you die, it is game over. All you can do is have fun while playing. In the end, not a single person will care about what you did in your life and the great legacy you worked so hard for, and that you have left behind, will be totally meaningless.

Like the great stand-up comedian Bill Hicks used to say: “The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real, because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” Other people have remembered, and they come to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real…” It’s just a ride.”


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

We are all VUP’s (Very Unimportant Persons)

It doesn’t matter how important you are today, sooner or later you will fade into insignificance. For some it might require a couple of centuries to evaporate out of the collective memory, others start to become less famous or unimportant just after their coffin has been covered with dirt.

It can be depressing, when you are confronted with your own insignificance, but it is what it is, and the only thing you can do, is to accept it.

For people like me, there is little to be worried about. I have been a VUP all of my life, and am pretty certain I will remain so for whatever time I have left. When you put things into perspective, being a VUP gives us an enormous freedom, as the universe is indifferent to what we do, so we can actually do whatever we want.

When you contemplate the utter magnitude of the universe, the endlessness of passing time, a single human lifetime is remarkably minuscule and insignificant. Even when you become a VIP on earth, the universe doesn’t care, and the difference you will be able to make, if at all any, is only going to last a very limited time.

Nevertheless, just because what you can do might only resonate a tiny little bit, it doesn’t mean it’s not still worth doing. Making a difference doesn’t mean doing something that’s going to change the world, let alone that it would affect the universe. You can do things that mean something to yourself, to your friends, to strangers, or to people in need. It will not give you eternal fame, but being kind to people, making someone’s life less difficult, will definitely make you happy. You matter to you, and to the people you love, and that should be enough.

The most wonderful thing about bringing joy to people and to yourself, is that it overwhelms the rest of the world, as the person you have been kind to, will most likely pay it forward. And so the ripples of what you do might somewhat change the world, after all.

Being kind to someone, making their day less hard, might not seem like much, but if everyone would do something good for someone else, the sequence of kindness could incite a wide-reaching wave of random acts of kindness.

If the things you achieve have a bearing on your community or even on a single other person, then it actually doesn’t matter that the universe doesn’t give a damn.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

But on the Bright Side…

Okay… Maybe – at first – it seems that there is no bright side. Aside from the lurking summer, obviously… In which “lurking” means that the sun is actually there, behind the clouds, but we are not aware of it, let alone that the cold morning air is aware of it, and that it would dare to send us the prospect of a warm midday or a less damp dawn.

I’ve never minded that my life sucked, as I always believed it would soon change. It was not really a thing for me, that I was waiting for something that possibly would never come. Still, the longer I waited for it not to arrive, the more obstacles I found that hampered my happiness – or that stopped me to have a simple stroke of luck.

If someone had to persevere the soul-swallowing sensation of continuously being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it might as well be me, as I considered it to be one of my greatest talents.

But then – out of the blue – I fell in love (again).

When you’re in love, everything changes. Mostly for the worse, but sometimes, just every so often, it changes for the better. As soon as we experience true love, life becomes wonderful. As soon as we are brave enough to let love enter our lives, without holding back, we start to heal. A sparkling love feels like a rebirth. Unless you love without regrets, everything will feel like a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches.

The miracle of love will make it easier for us to really be in the moment. And it is in that moment that we will be able to see what it is that we truly want. Then it is just a question to find out what makes you come to life, what makes you happy, …and go for that, without constraints.

I am aware that my expectations are high, that my line of thinking is impractical and not sensible – or realistic – but it is way better than having no expectations at all. It is better than to be happy with the status quo, to accept this harsh and cruel world, instead of going for the full and sincere sweetness of a self-created paradise. When I look at what lies ahead, I can only see a whole new beautiful chapter in the making. A period of magnificent transformation is coming, and it will lead me to fresh inspiring adventures.

And yeah, I know how this might sound. You’ll probably tell me that I have a severe case of ‘blue sky thinking’, but I sincerely believe that these feelings are truer than true, that I have seen the light, that I am opening up to something superior than anything else I’ve opened up to before.

We were all raised to embrace analytical and logical thought, but our culture declines when problem-solving is controlled by an overly pragmatic view of possibilities. Most classes in schools are focusing on studying practical things, placing students in boxes, making them into useful workers, rather than allowing them to be flexible and creative. This kind of system leads to a society of sheep, where the corporations are the herding dogs. Honestly, who would want to be a part of such an emotionless and unidealistic world? We are far too magical to keep on going for this misconception of what life should be like. We deserve something better.

Disappointment about the reality of life is not only inevitable, it is needed to keep you levelheaded and functional. That is what people say, anyway. In reality that kind of thinking turns us into a bunch of listless pessimists. The reality of life is what you make it. When you always listen to the voice that tells you what you have to do, and not to do what you need, you will never achieve true happiness.

I refuse to submit to negativity and to live a boring, purposeless life. Instead I am going to look at the bright side and aim for the stars. I will free my mind from daily concerns and look for beauty and splendor in everything around me, by actively nourishing a creative, fulfilling life.

I recommend you do the same.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

Leave Me Alone

What is this obsession we have with death? Or with fame? Or with anything, actually? Do we really believe we are special as a species? That our complexity, our creativity, outclasses any other? In the entire universe?

Because, as you might have anticipated, it doesn’t. We are not out of the ordinary. Our melancholy is not the deepest. Nor is it the most insightful. We are just as superficial as any other creature that has evolved in the cosmos.

Thank goodness for that, by the way. Just imagine we would actually be as superior as we sometimes think we are. What responsibility would we have to bear? What would become of us, when we truly would believe that any idea we had, any feeling we experienced, would be special? That it would be important enough to preserve any philosophical conception that came up in our little minds?

Thank God we are not unique. Praise Jesus that we are just a bunch of atoms. The alternative theory is the metaphysical one – the religious belief that something as complex as human life couldn’t just have happened randomly, so there must have been a creator of some kind…

God, you cannot image how much I hate religious people…

Well, they are actually okay. As they are just as insignificant as I am. And I am pretty insignificant, as this blog should have proven by now.

So, leave me alone, already. I do not need to know that Jesus will come to save me, as I do not want to be saved. I do not believe there is life after death, as I don’t wish there to be any awareness after I die. I in fact want to be fully unaware, if at all possible. Let me dissolve and let my human molecules form other random bunches of atoms, when I die.

I’d like that.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

The Importance of Being Different

We don’t want to be different. We want to be original, but in such a way that others want to be just like us. They need to feel the desire to be just as ‘original’ as we are. If they do not have that longing, to be normal but simultaneously slightly different, they are predictable and don’t merit our company or even our attention.

Sounds a bit funny, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

We all unconsciously search for the conformity in ourselves. We want to be noticed, but at the same time we don’t want to be an outsider. We want to fit in, but rather in an exceptional way.

And this is where it gets problematic. Being normal and being different are two colliding worlds. It is impossible to be truly different, while we aspire to be normal at the same time. It is a silly thing to try and hide our inconsistencies, just to fit in. We should not only accept our differences, but appreciate them, treasure them. Fitting in is ignoring who you are. It is obstructing you of being yourself. If they call you a rare bird or an eccentric, as if it is an insult, you should see it as a positive statement. Since they are compliantly blending in, while you are magnificently standing out.

We are ashamed of being considered atypical, as we are scared of being alone. But the thing is, that we should not be scared to be alone, just as we should never be ashamed to be ourselves. It truly is as simple and as complicated as that.

Going against the social norms makes you think in a different way. It makes you more creative. Your unique perspective will never let you down. People who are ‘normal’ are boring other people and themselves to tears. People who are strange, who are peculiar, who do not fit in, will never cease to surprise and fascinate others, as well as themselves.

Everyone is different. We have had different experiences, have lived different lives, thought different things and have obsessed about different stuff. We all have our own level of consciousness. No two persons are the same. Literally nobody agrees completely with how you think. Every person relates differently to the world and their surroundings. What feels like normal behavior to you, can appear like bizarre behavior to someone else. So, yes, we are all different, but at the end of the day we’re just people living in the same world.

Be that as it may, we are not considered equally socially acceptable. If we are not mindful, this reality of being different could harm our self-worth. Being socially acceptable is so pushed down our throat from the day we are born, that it is hard to say no to it. From an early age we are told that we have to act in certain ways to be accepted, so we sculpt ourselves, trying to match society’s expectations.

One of our basic needs is the desire for love. We need to be loved. In order to earn love, we usually choose to be someone we are not. We mimic to be who the other person wants us to be. Sooner or later, we get tired of this constant pretense, and the relationship will come to an end. Paradoxically enough we are always linking love to sincerity, while almost everybody wears a mask when they are falling in love.

And yet it is very simple, how we can get rid of being socially acceptable, although I must admit that it requires some considerable courage and you will need to take some emotional chances.

The people that are truly worth it, will never abandon you. In fact, they will actually appreciate your little – and maybe not so little – quirks, and they will sincerely love you for them. So, stop pretending that you are somebody else, and just be yourself.

Can you imagine the exciting freedom you will feel, when you start to be your true self? Yes, you will almost certainly lose some friends, but the relationships that overcome the fact that you don’t care about what people think of you, anymore, and the new relationships that will develop after that, will be so much more fulfilling than you ever thought possible.

You see, I truly believe there is a little conflict with the world in all of us. From the playground on we spend our lives struggling to camouflage our ‘being different’, but if you scratch away the surface you can see that under that layer of disguise is another person that slightly doesn’t fit in.

Wouldn’t it be comforting if we could just embrace our differences, rather than be worrying about them being exposed, our whole damn lives? Wouldn’t it be more rewarding, if relationships are built on openness, affection and empathy?

Aside from some superficial people, who are not capable to appreciate who we truly are, what have we got to lose?


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

A Secret World Inside

“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world – no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”

Neil Gaiman

Art and Self-Deprecation

It has become fashionable for artists to put emphasis on their own mediocrity. They act cynical about their achievements, whether they are well-known, successful, or they bathe in total obscurity and are so-called destined to die an anonymous death.

Why do some artists settle for this self-loathing? Because they are more aware of the limitations of their talent? Because they are the most harsh critics of themselves and their work? I don’t think so.

These artists are extremely self-centered and they are out for public esteem. They like to fiddle with the idea of fame, of being part of the celebrity culture, of becoming filthy rich, but they are quite reluctant of openly pursuing all that, as they do not want to be seen as insincere or shallow.

More often than not self-criticism by artists is nothing else than a little trick to proactively safeguard themselves against any possible criticism of others. It can actually be seen as fake humbleness and as a way to get attention or recognition.

I think self-deprecation in the art world is progressively more appropriate. Most of the popular art in our galleries and museums is so inconsequential that it has no value or meaning and at best serves as decoration or an ironic comment.

When an artist becomes successful, their work should get better. Because they feel more confident and secure, their work should get more courageous. Instead they start to feel comfortable with their status of famous artist and they won’t do anything anymore that impassions the audience, as it might be risky to their reputation in the art world.

When artists get more appreciation, they should be experimenting and challenging themselves and growing artistically, but instead they come to a standstill and repeat themselves endlessly. To me, the freedom of art should be that it can create some friction, not that it becomes an ordinary instrument to generate fortune and fame.

Most current artists are having no effect on society, and anyone who ever went to a contemporary art show should be satisfied that famous artists have little influence on our lives, anymore. Art used to create stronger critical thinking, formed higher levels of social tolerance and provoked empathy, but these days art is predominantly a soulless activity, linked to large sums of money or to attracting an immense amount of spectators.

Why would people still believe art matters to them, when many influential people in the art world do everything in their power to keep art wrapped in mystery, treating the outsiders as being stupid, and deal with artworks like products to be traded as stock options? They have turned art into a currency-like item that is only available to the rich, which makes this particular art into something special that everybody should have seen.

Today art has nearly become irrelevant. The only thing that it remains is a little isle of freedom for a small group of people that still wants to think and feel, that still wants to go to concerts and listen to music, that still wants to watch a thought-provoking movie or read an inspiring book, that still wants to make an effort to discover true subversive art.

Maybe the avant-gardists could still make a difference, because in those times people hadn’t become sleepwalkers, yet. They weren’t slaves to their phones and TV’s. They did not just trust politicians or believed everything the media were telling them. They thought for themselves, and listened to other voices, dissidents, artists,… to form an opinion on what was going on. They still looked at art as this magical thing, and the art they stumbled upon gave them life. Art made them wake up.

Without art, the triviality of our existence would be unbearable. Still, the audience is slowly moving away from meaningful art, simply because they think they don’t NEED it. When people are worried about keeping their jobs and paying their bills, why would they feel that art still matters? Especially when the only art they get to see is selected by an in-crowd with unscrupulous motives?

The worst thing is that the above artists, the ones with the fake self-loathing, represent only a mere 1% of the total art crowd. This 1% of ‘celebrity artists’, that sell their work for millions to people who see art as a commodity, as something to invest in, is only a very small fraction of what entails the art world. Still, they are the ones to get all of the attention, not in the least because they pretend to look down on the very art they create, which is – of course – irony at its best.

The other 99%; the invisible, struggling artists, are the ones that actually matter. They are embedded in society, in real life, and want nothing to do with the kind of elitist art that can only be appreciated by experts, investors and intellectuals. Still, these artists are doomed to stay under the radar and as a result hardly get noticed.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

The Stupidity of a Lap Dance

I know there is randomness and chaos in the universe, but some things should be straightforward, no? Shouldn’t it be common sense to steer clear of unsatisfactory things like a lap dance?

Men only have so many erections in a lifetime. Why waste one on a lap dance? I mean; you can look, but you cannot touch? I mean; you can touch, but that’s it? How can that be satisfying? It seems to me that strippers are only there to get men all excited and then they send them home with a pocket rocket the size of an eggplant.

Okay, I know that people get what they get, they don’t get what they actually deserve or want, but a fucking lap dance? Really? Who deserves one of those?

I must admit that I have never understood the concept. You pay quite a lot of money for someone to dance half naked for you. To ride your horse. Through your pants. Not staying on the horse until you finish. But it should in some weird parallel universe be gratifying? I can tell you this. The only thing a man feels after a lap dance is utterly disappointed.

So. We had the degrading thing about ‘women being seen as an object’. How would you describe a man who pays good money to have him all aroused but not satisfied? Do you see how he is treated like an object? How he basically is emasculated commercially? Not to mention he is not getting the best deal? Why would anyone be happy with this agreement? Do you understand what it means to have blue balls and to have to walk around with them?

Maybe I won’t win the “feminist of the year” award with my remarks, but let’s be honest. A lap dance is something only idiots would agree to. And yes, the idiots are the men. So, good for you, women! You have dealt with the masculine exploitation in a very effectual way. These ‘lap danced men’ are being sent back onto the street completely unfulfilled, which of course makes this world a far safer place. Especially to women.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

The Illusion of Human Empathy

It is – to me – a mysterious thing, how much energy we allocate on forgetting the things we need to stop thinking about, just to be able to go on living.

You did many things today. Brushed your teeth. Maybe said hi to a neighbor. Had a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Flipped off the light at night… Tomorrow, you’ll remember almost none of what you did or of what has happened to you. These memory bytes of trivial things are only meant to last just long enough to be useful for what we are doing at a specific time. They are not stored for longer than a few minutes.

The way our long term memory operates is slightly more bizarre. We store certain chunks of data, like pictures, feelings, tastes, sounds,… of an event, but we do it in a very subjective way. That is why a smell, a sound, a song, … anything can bring us back to a place and time we’d ‘forgotten’ about for many years. Suddenly very clear images come rushing back to the surface, as if they had been hiding for us. Simultaneously other people who were present in the same moment remember nothing when they get a whiff of the same smell, or hear the same song. That is because our personalities and life experiences let us interpret the memory in our own way, like a sequence of emotional construction blocks, and this is how they become imaginary truths.

It hurts, doesn’t it? How certain ancient memories tend to come back unsolicited as a freight train in your mind. You break out in a sweat. Your heart starts pounding in your throat. You feel like you’re going to faint. You can barely manage to handle the embarrassing thoughts that rush through your mind, when an upsetting subconscious memory hits you out of the blue.

Of course, the idea that we can remember something clearly out of our childhood is a bit irrational to begin with. The instant something significant happens to us, we immediately develop a narrative  of that defining moment. By retelling the memory to ourselves, the story gradually becomes different from what actually happened. Still, at the same time it grows to be more vivid in our head, and so it is the stories that we tell ourselves, and others, not the real series of events, that end up forming the memory. It goes without saying that this is not always a good thing.

My brother and I were talking about an event from our childhood the other day, and we ended up arguing over the different elements of the story. Our view on what had happened was to a certain degree the same, but we couldn’t agree on the details. Even when we both had been there, we had a largely different context in mind. We obviously had not the same recollections of the event. Even so, my brother and I were convinced that how we had perceived it was how it truly happened. To me it was clear that I was more sensitive to what had happened than my brother was. To me it was evident that my brother was oblivious to the many unsettling aspects of the memory. To him it was an event like any other. To me that moment had somewhat outlined the rest of my life.

Our memory is an entangled group of connections that we’ve linked to each other by details that we associate with specific events, ideas and emotions. Instead of just trying to remember one event, we make the experience into a story, which makes it easier to remember, but also prone to be modified along the way. How you construct that specific story of a particular memory will be totally different than how anyone else would write it. Imagine how we, as human beings, never will be able to grasp how somebody else is feeling, when you count the thousands of little memories that you might have shared with them, but perceive totally different.

Yes, the conclusion is that we are alone. Nobody gets us. Friendship and love are illusions that help us get through the day. Any affinity between people is based on our deception of what reality is, of how things are, as everybody has their own special awareness of every single thing that is being said and is being done. We could be engaging in a sincere conversation, and all participants will have a tendency to interpret what is being said in another way. As we spend more time with people, we think we are getting to know them and they are getting to know us, but what actually happens is that we get used to the other’s insanity.

Because, if we could read each other’s minds, we would deem everybody to be crazy. That’s why we should see it as a blessing to not become conscious how another person is thinking, how he or she is seeing things.

We would run away from virtually everybody, if we would catch just a glimpse of their fundamental madness.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

Life is Pointless


Don’t you ever get the feeling that every step you take and every move you make is useless? Don’t you sometimes get the idea that you are surrounded by soulless and mean people? That you’ve been born against your will to live a humdrum life filled with rules and conventions that seem designed to make every second here on earth unbearable?

Going to school, working and earning money, gaining knowledge, building up a reputation, realizing your ambitions… It all means nothing. It’s just something that is there, until it is no more. We will all die, and nothing lasts forever. And even that doesn’t really matter.

You may take life seriously, you might think that whatever it is you are doing, is a reasonable thing to do, but if you think about it honestly, you will grasp how absurd it is. And this is true for anything you will do, for any belief you might have, for every emotion you experience, and for every thing you will ever long for.

Fortunately there is also a beneficial side to life being pointless. None of the bad things in the world matter either. When a landslide wipes out an entire village, when a school shooting kills twenty kids, when a terrorist attack kills and maims hundreds, when a ship hits an iceberg and a thousand people drown in the ice cold water, the pain is only temporary and the grief for loved ones, that were killed, dismembered or tortured, fades within the timespan of one generation.

All the tragedies that occur in the world are terrible when they happen, but soon afterwards they become part of something that we call ‘history’. History being just another word for ‘shit we try to rationalize because it is too damn awful to deal with’.

The fact that life has no real purpose or meaning, does not mean it is not worth living. The absence of reason does not imply that there is no value to existence. Certainly, life can be full of loneliness and pain, but once we recognize the absurdity of it all, an irrepressible love is able to grow in our hearts.

The bad things that happen to you are not some cosmic punishment on your person. They’re just a byproduct of being alive. If we manage to welcome the madness of life, and react more intuitively to everything that happens, our life will be more satisfying.

Celebrate the enjoyable things in life. Appreciate the people that have the character and honorable intentions to keep their promises. Look for the humor in your misfortune. Let love rule. And, above all, try to take things less seriously. If you are always on your guard, life will pass you by, and you will not have lived life to the fullest.

Contradictory to what I might have said here before, your subjective experience of the world (which is, of course, your true experience of the world) is constructed out of your everyday thoughts. When you have unpleasant thoughts, you will probably experience an unpleasant world. Likewise, a person who has kindhearted thoughts, will most likely experience a kinder world, etc. This has nothing to do with ignoring or avoiding reality. It’s just that we can easily change the way we look at things, and by doing so, the things we perceive will change.

Just think of all the beauty that is still out there, and try to appreciate it for what it does to you. Try to be thankful that you are doing fine, that you have a roof over your head, that you can sit in the sun and drink a glass of cava. Being thankful is inspiring. It makes you feel more conscious, more sensitive and more happy.

To feel close to someone. To love and be loved. To be together with people that you love. These are the things that make life worth living. Automatically love will generate happiness, and that happiness will generate a lust for life, even though this life remains completely pointless.

I guess life will always be a mystery to us, but love is the answer, nonetheless. Love will make us feel free and connected at the same time. Love will allow us to be who we are. Love will strengthen our personality and make it grow. When we truly love, we feel powerful in our body and mind and we’ll thrive in an imperfect world. I hope you’ll join us, as it is deeply rewarding.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg

Opinions Are Like Assholes…

…everybody’s got one.

I don’t know about you, but lately too many people are giving their unsolicited – but above all totally redundant – opinion on social media. It only takes seconds to poop out a tweet, or to post a comment on Facebook, and what usually follows is some pointless debate that annoys the crap out of anybody who has an IQ over 80.

Without a shred of willingness to tell the truth, or to make sense, a bunch of assholes out of nowhere starts to discuss science, religion, politics, the rain forest, or the differences between a midget and a dwarf. Of course they know nothing about the topic at hand, but this won’t hold them down, oh no mister. It will turn them into even more fanatic debaters and they truly believe we should be pleased that they are shining their magnificent light on a topic they are completely ignorant of.

For everyone to see, they pull some random stats out of their ass, thinking we will blindly accept the slightly moronic reasoning you’d normally expect coming from toddlers, just before they choke on a Lego block. If social media have learned us anything, it is that a bunch of people are willing to expose their infinite stupidity to large audiences. Some of the bigmouths on social media are SO stupid, that you feel the urge to prevent them to breed.

Ironically enough, a personal view has very little unbiased purity to begin with. Most people are so easily influenced by others, that their ‘unique opinion’ is constructed out of nothing else than cut-and-paste lines heard in previous conversations. As a result they cite blatant lies as facts and express personal beliefs as evidence. When you actually start reading these empty discussions, you can’t but conclude that the participants are all suffering from a form of advanced bigotry.

The thing is that we are lousy at being logical. For most of us the illusion of reason is enough. In the end, what we think we know, are just our versions of the truth. We all feel that the other person is being wrong, while we see ourselves as being right, and they probably think the same about us, but as long as we are reasoning, we have the illusion that we’re actually moving forward.

Except we’re not. We are standing still.

Most people never change their mind, anyway. They don’t even listen. That’s because subconsciously people focus on proof that defends views they already believe, and they disregard any evidence that opposes their views. They yell their biased opinions at each other, merely because quietness often forces contemplation, and they might come to realize that what they are arguing about doesn’t really matter. Because, of course, it DOESN’T really matter.

It is time to depolarize and to not take our views so seriously. When it comes about the truth, we are all just winging it. Arguments endlessly going back and forth will wear you out, and in the end they only fuel your anger and your nonsense. Coming to terms with that, would be a huge step forward. If we could see just how full of crap we all are, we could maybe begin to think more intentionally about ourselves, about what we have to offer, about where we are going and about what we really want in life.

Wouldn’t it be more useful to communicate the messy, magnificent reality about whatever is going on within ourselves, instead of having online fights about politics or religion? Our own life is what we are true experts in, after all.

So, let’s talk passionately about our inner feelings. Let’s talk confidently about our insecurities. Let’s make what we say truly matter by infusing every word with authenticity.

Everything else honestly makes no sense.


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg


I’m Too Fucking Old For This…

My mind refuses to understand that I’m 50+. It will feel like it is 27 forever. Yet my body is fully aware of my age. People tend to lie to themselves and say that they are cool growing older. I’m not. It sucks to get older. My body is aching all the time.

Sparkles of Energy

The one good thing about getting older is that there are an increasingly number of things that I can’t bother about anymore.

Like accepting invitations to venues I don’t want to go to. Years ago I used this “convenient excuses list”, when now I just tell people flat-out that I don’t feel like going. After a while they start to admire this kind of blunt response. They realize I am getting older and grumpier every day and understand my inbuilt reluctance to come to their festivities. Often, as a sign of their deep respect for my honesty, they don’t even invite me.

Aside from my underwear, changing my clothes every day isn’t important, anymore. Shirts will be worn two days in the summer and three days in the winter, before washing them. Jeans will be okay until they start to cause a rash on the legs or it is starting to show that they are dirty. Except, jeans never really get dirty, do they? They do start to smell after a while, though, so when people start to behave as if I am dragging a dead animal around, it is usually my cue to put jeans in the laundry. Lately I tend to avoid laundry altogether by embracing a nudist lifestyle.

Life’s too short to read bad books. Sometimes it is clear from page one that a book will not be able to entice me. When a book is boring, poorly written and pretentious, it is basically not worthwhile to be read beyond page 20. Depending on the font that was used, the letter spacing and the amount of dialogue, it is downright mind-numbing to keep on reading a mediocre book past page 20. Especially when the prose is repetitive or repetitive.

As much as I hate reading bad books, I love watching killer TV shows from morning to night. To watch episode after episode of a favourite TV show makes me happy, and you won’t catch me being ashamed about it. Yes, it has happened that I have spent an entire weekend lounging naked on the couch, with Chinese take-away, bags of potato chips and a big carton of red wine, watching for the nth time all five seasons of Breaking Bad. Binge watching might be considered an asocial activity, but becoming more asocial is not a big worry of mine.

I’m no longer willing to act like someone has a valid point, just to make them feel good. Even if their point is valid, I will fire all kinds of irrelevant phrases at them, like “You are being very defensive” or “Did you get this information on Facebook?”, just to shut them up. Another technique I often use is to compare them to Hitler. When somebody is obviously right and I cannot come up with an immediate response that makes sense, I will reply with “That sounds almost like something Hitler would have said.”

My house is a mess. When you get older you are able to tolerate that not everything is squeaky clean. Since I’m not having many guests over, there’s really no need to keep my home clean and organized. Yes, I guess I’m a bit of a slob, but voluntarily wasting my precious time on cleaning the house is really not my thing. When drinking some more gin & tonics, the house looks a lot cleaner.

I’m fed up with people telling me that my ‘positive attitude’ is going to save the day. It won’t. Positive thinking had kamikaze pilots wearing helmets, while it was obvious that wearing a helmet while crashing your plane into a cast iron ship, would not be very effective. A serious illness is not going to heal by itself, just by having an optimistic stance. At the end of the day we are all floating around in this cosmic soup called life, and it won’t matter how convinced we are that things will turn out fine: they will, or they won’t.

Usually it doesn’t take me very long to realize if I like people. I used to give the insupportable people a second chance, considering that my first impression of them might have been wrong. It turned out that first impressions are seldom wrong. And even if they were, I wasn’t going to spend time finding out. Sometimes people are just assholes. Sure, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find something good in everybody. That said I have not the ambition nor the time to look for the hidden charm in people.

What are you too old for?


© 2017 – David Lee Kollberg