J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

Slomo -- click through to watch the documentary.

Slomo

Slomo -- click through to watch the documentary.

Slomo — click through to watch the documentary.

Josh Izenberg has made a great documentary about a fascinating man. Watch it … then come back here and share your thoughts if you want.

My own thoughts on Slomo …

Do What You Want To

It’s hard to watch Slomo and not immediately consider what you want to do yourself. Not in a grand, life goal sense, but rather in a day-to-day mundane sense. How do you want to spend days? Slomo wants to skate, so he skates.

I want to read and write, listen to and make music, and play complex immersive games (like Dungeons & Dragons). I want to spend time with my friends and family, and enjoy the good things in life.

What do you want to do?

The Middle Third Of Life

Sometimes I feel that middle third grind. Money comes in, money goes out. People want you to do things (things you’ve agreed to do), but you’re not always in the mood.

There’s a middle way though, between dropping out and grinding away. To walk that path you have to be willing to sometimes put your own priorities ahead of what other people want from you, even if you love those people and want to make them happy. You can’t be a pleaser all the time and still do what you want.

“Not Becoming An Asshole”

It’s a good goal. It’s a good way to evaluate yourself, spiritually. Are you an asshole? Are you kind to other other human beings and animals, most of the time? Or are you so far up your own ass in the pursuit of money, power, and status, that you are in fact an asshole? Or maybe you’re an asshole because you’re tired of shoveling shit, and you need a break.

The easiest way to not be an asshole is do to what you want, more of the time. This will give you a sense of control, and you’ll be happier, and it will be easier to be kind to other human beings because you’ll be in a better mood.

Do You Have to “Escape”?

Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. I don’t know how restrictive your life is. But what would happen if you just started doing what you wanted to, one hour a day? What if you did exactly what you wanted to for two hours a day? Would your friends and family or boss freak out? Would they find that threatening? Maybe they’d be cool with it. Maybe they want you to be happier. Maybe being happier would actually make you more productive and effective and better able to fulfill your responsibilities to your employer/clients/family/friends/country/planet.

Is It Selfish?

Society wouldn’t work if everyone skated the boardwalk all day (you at least need some workers designing and manufacturing rollerblades, right?). But Slomo worked hard for a few decades before dropping out. He chose not to maximize (his earnings, his status, his security). Choosing not to maximize is not selfish. It leaves some work undone for other people to do, and some rewards unclaimed for other people to claim.

Other people might be threatened if you do what you want most of the time. But if they’re smart, they’ll only feel threatened for about ten minutes (when they realize they can do the same).

If everyone in the world spent more time doing what they want and less time grinding, global GDP might drop. On the other hand, with more people dedicating time to rest, relaxation, entertainment, love, creative pursuits, research, exercise, sports, games, tinkering, hobbies, and doing nothing in particular, we’d all be happier, healthier, and the geniuses out there would get more opportunities to create great works of art, invent clever objects and systems, and make brilliant discoveries.

Less maximizing = more optimizing (of human consciousness and potential).

The Inner Ear

Interesting theory about lateral motion. When I produce dance music I move. I know quite a few people whose lives have been transformed by movement (dance, surfing, skating, whatever). Depression gone. Hundreds of pounds lost. That kind of thing. Maybe there’s something to Slomo’s lateral motion theory.

Your thoughts? Please comment below!

 

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14 Comments

  1. Wow – I love him. Just cried through the whole thing. Thanks for sharing this – best thing to hit my email inbox in weeks. 🙂

  2. I cried too because I want more of that!

  3. Its amazing how some people find their true calling but not before they hit rock bottom. Do those people go on to pursue their calling because they have no viable alternative other than being depressed or is it that it takes an ultra-low state of mood to trigger the resilience of reinventing yourself? It seems as if Slomo came across this invisible life chasm and was motivated to “make the leap” simply because he “did not want to be an asshole”. Oh how I truly loved it when he said that! Where does one get that kind of conviction? Perhaps as you suggested JD some escape little by little like an hour or two at a time–then a rare bunch go the Slowmo route and totally dive in. I think most of us “middle-thirds” have ths invisible chasm dwelling in our peripherals. This is the reason why everyone likes the poem “The Road Less Traveled” by Robert Frost. It appeals to this craving, this “what-if” scenario in all of us. But if it boiled down to a single moment of volatile conviction in deciding to leap–what would that be? Its almost as if there is some neurological switch once triggered totally changes one’s priority and life outlook. Maybe Slomo (with all due respect!) was called an asshole so many times that that was the mental click, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Perhaps maybe this crossing the chasm is more like bungie jumping or sky diving where at some point there is no more paralysis of analysis left but only a raw gut feeling that simply says “just do it”. I don’t consider myself to be religious but just like the thing in our inner-ear that directs our sense of gravity and balance I truly believe that their is some other–I guess I’ll call it “force”–that drives one to make that leap. This force is elusive to most people–personally I’ve been seeking it for most of my adult life. Anyway thanks for sharing and getting my brain buzzing this early JD.

    • It sounded like at the beginning of his medical career he was more fulfilled by his work, then slowly he found himself becoming more materialistic. At the same time he was gradually losing his ability to do his job due to his medical condition. So he “took the leap” with something of a push from life circumstances. Still … a brave (and non-conformist) decision either way. Inspiring!

  4. Maureen Durkin

    J.D. Thank you. I love this and needed this. Mo

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Hadn’t seen this yet and loved starting my day watching it. Thank you JD! Had a big smile on my face the whole time. I can definitely relate to finding center through motion ever since starting yoga a year ago.

  6. boo

    So, a wealthy doctor who is no longer happy in his profession and is developing an illness takes early retirement at age 54, and now spends his days at the beach.
    Excuse me, but how is this supposed to be brave or radical?

    • It’s brave and radical because of the nonconformist lifestyle choice he has made. Other people consistently think he is homeless and/or crazy. To voluntarily trade in a great deal of status, wealth, material comfort, and normalcy in exchange for more freedom is unusual.

      I see your point — early retirement and “downsizing” one’s spending and lifestyle are not uncommon or radical acts, but for some reason Slomo’s story touches quite a few people, myself included. I think it’s because of his honest appraisal of his own spiritual deterioration, and his decisive action to turn things around.

  7. Lane

    He started out as a totally self centered jerk, and ended up a totally self centered jerk.
    There is nothing nonconformist about this as far as I can see. He’s rich so he can do what he wants. The rich do that all the time without ramification .. weather it be moral, legal or social ramifications. No actual day to day reality applies to this guy because he is … RICH.

    So he stopped helping people as a Dr. and regressed to being a child because he wanted to … yeah what a hero.

    • Lane

      Sorry .. one last thing .. lets see how “spiritual” it sounds to do this sort of thing when the person has kids at home depending on them.

      Yeah this got under my skin. 😉

      • Sometimes something does get under your skin — I get that. Slomo certainly WAS rich. Maybe he still is. But he’s definitely not living large in his studio apartment and roller-blading lifestyle.

        Is Slomo selfish? Sure — he’s doing what he wants. But I’m not sure it’s fair to compare him to those of us in our “middle third” of life (raising kids, paying a mortage). He’s in his final third. He’d decided to do what makes him happy and he doesn’t seem to be hurting anyone.

        A few questions if you want to keep the conversation going …
        1) How would you define nonconformism?
        2) What would you do with your free time if you had more of it? What if you had a lot more of it?

        I think it’s worth considering #2 because those of us with kids, jobs, and/or serious familial responsibilities may not ALWAYS have such a heavy load. Things may lighten up (or we may choose to take less on).

  8. Loved this, thanks!

  9. there is a book called “illusions” by richard bach which basically says that nothing matters and we should all do what makes us happy (in my opinion). similar to slomo. i loved the video.

  10. Marcus Lundy

    Dude if I can’t (and I really can’t) my ass is going to be on street.

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