Yesterday, I received a surprise in the mail: a pack of Sonya Mann’s zines!

In the aftermath, two things struck me. One: I couldn’t create something like this and I’m glad there are people like Sonya who can. Really glad. Two: I don’t really know how to appreciate something like this.

The first point reminds me of this (and other similar takes):

Preferences–be it for art, food, morality or car colour–are wildly divergent. This is both awe-inspiring and humbling.

The second reminds me of my consistent inability to read poetry. Heck it suggests to me that I have a mental block when it comes to anything above a certain threshold of artiness. Or, more accurately, above a certain threshold of abstraction.

I’m lying, actually. Three things struck me upon reception of the zine pack.

The third: Brandolini’s lawThe amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it–has a cousin concerned with tolerance.

The refutation of bullshit is now a defanged tactic and a misguided strategy. The tolerance of bullshit, however, is a timeless human trait. It’s in our very makeup.

Passively, we can take a surprising amount of BS without too much detriment to our mental or physical health. But if we actively create something that is the opposite of BS–something that has meaning to our selves–we can tolerate BS with even more astuteness.

The average person has a mundane job, likely filled with BS. But the average person also probably has a relationship with someone they care about, a family, friends, and things they like to do.

It’s a trope that good always defeats evil, that truth always conquers lies. I’m not going to claim that meaning is the antidote that can detoxify our society at the largest scales. But I am going to claim that, individually, a single morsel of meaning allows us to tolerate a chunk of BS several orders of magnitude larger.