Building better people with Monk Mode
By Adam Tatelman, Arts Editor
There is a pernicious malaise affecting today’s youth; a lingering feeling that, somehow, we’ve worked ourselves out of a job without even knowing what the job was in the first place. That life is over when college ends. The precise reasons for this feeling are irrelevant; what matters is the disturbing silence surrounding the simple, brutal fact that suicide is on the rise in British Columbia. Lacking goals, people become distracted, developing useless time-consuming habits to insulate ourselves from feelings of uselessness. We gain short-term pleasure from things like booze, browsing , and TV binge-watching, but this creates a cycle of emotional dependency that keeps us from improving ourselves. And so it goes, until we decide it’s just not worth the bother, and wake our neighbors up in the heat of a balmy August night with a muffled bang.
Of course, bringing up such depressing facts would be fruitless if nobody had any solutions to offer. Taking inspiration from Zen tradition, Buddhism, and classical existentialist philosophy, a new generation of young adults has extended the search for meaning to the internet, building forums to discuss self-improvement, willpower, and the nature of habit.
Thus was born “Monk Mode.”
Best described as a lifestyle reset button, Monk Mode is a voluntary period of introspection and self-improvement where the subject focuses on eliminating junk habits, adopting beneficial ones, torpedoing unhealthy relationships, and building a stronger sense of self through action. For most basic bros and brolinas, this would mean going cold turkey on alcohol, marijuana, sex, and internet porn all at once, and dumping various leeches from their social circle. Then, they take up weight training and other healthy habits. Don’t worry, you can have the sex back later.
It may sound like a tall order, but that’s the point; bringing one’s focus inward to confront and eliminate dependent behaviors and working to mitigate one’s shortcomings is a tall order, but it can only be accomplished with an all-or-nothing, bloody-minded attitude. Otherwise, we too often find ourselves breaking our own promises to do better. I vividly remember the pride I felt when I disposed of all my video games, later crushed when I realized I’d filled up all my new-found free time with Netflix and YouTube binging.
If life were a song, then Monk Mode would be nothing short of a total enharmonic shift. Extreme as it may seem, make no mistake that Monk Mode has the power to bring meaning back into people’s lives.
In honor of those who’ve found their way with Monk Mode, I have decided to take it up myself for the next semester.
My personal goals are to:
- Rise at 6:00 a.m. each morning.
- Fully restrict use of substances, social media, and TV.
- Restrict all computer use to school and work-related pursuits.
- Perform a weight training routine three times per week.
- Read and meditate nightly for at least five minutes each.
For your benefit—and to keep myself honest—I will be providing weekly updates on my progress, backslides, and any philosophical epiphanies I discover.
There’s hope. You just have to work for it.