Taking The Grill Pill

On one hand, the saying, “if you’re not mad, you’re not paying attention,” rings truer today than ever. Any reasonable awareness of the state of the world should lead to anger at the holders of power. But, we’re in this information landscape (all the ways we get information – media, socials, etc etc) where it’s known that content that inspires anger is catnip. Savvy tech companies use the anger chemicals in our brains to keep us sucked in.

The knock on effects of this can go two ways, both of them negative. One, you get overwhelmed by the evil so clearly evident in our world, and maybe think, fuck, nothing can be done, woe is me, etc, so you do nothing. Two, you get righteously pissed off and fight back using the same vessels that got you in this angry state. So you post, argue, flame people on twitter, etc. That’s cool and all, but it’s doing nothing to combat the Big Evils that overwhelmed you a minute ago.

So what can we do? Chapo Trap House’s Matt Christman suggests taking what he’s dubbed The Grill Pill. In a nutshell, taking the Grill Pill means, to cultivate acceptance of the suffering of the world (yeah, it’s got a Buddhist flavor), specifically through becoming immersed in the concrete things directly in front of you. Something not online. This is important, b/c one thing about Online is that it rewires your brain circuitry to over respond to those stimuli, and Grill Pilling is about re-establishing stimuli in the offline world. It’s a mistake to call Offline the Real world, b/c the horrible things we learn about Online are real af. What I’m trying to say is, the goal is to have emotional responses that are proportional to your minute by minute, your Now, if that makes sense.

Another way to describe this is learning to manage emotions by having the emotion, feeling it, and recognizing that it’s not helpful to stay in that emotion.

Lately that’s gotten me cooking with real effort instead of just throwing some stuff together. Started playing the guitar again. As we Grill, we haven’t forgotten about the Evils, we know they’re still there. This activity is about self-care, self-soothing, and it helps draw your focus away from Online. For almost everyone, the quickest way to truly meaningful action is to do something offline. That doesn’t mean you can’t use Online to find that Offline activity, right? Like Meetup, Facebook groups, etc. And that’s where we can find real ways to reduce suffering and fight the baddies. Here’s a condensed explainer on it from Matt. ❤

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