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5 ways to put up with a society you don't like

In a nutshell

  1. Become wildly influential and change the system from within.
  2. Become powerful enough to rig the game to your advantage.
  3. Avoid being a low-hanging fruit, but play by the rules.
  4. Lie low enough to be ignored, so rules won’t apply.
  5. Step outside and play a different game altogether.

How, though

  1. Extreme drive and skills (and some luck on top of that).
  2. Financial freedom (or financial independence).
  3. Stability and financial security.
  4. Voluntary simplicity.
  5. Off-grid lifestyle.

Examples and thoughts

Let’s agree on a couple of things first.

By “society” I usually mean the Western capitalist system I live in. But similar ideas can be applied to any kind of society (as in “group of people”).

Also, this list is by no means comprehensive, nor it is meant to be. That said, let’s explore each item.

1. Go big or go home

I don’t think the first method makes for a sane or sensible goal for most people. It’s just for the occasional Elon Musk, Gandhi, etc. You get the idea.

Not only you need to be truly exceptional, you must also devote your whole life to this single purpose. And work relentlessly, sacrificing most of the rest.

Of course, luck has its role. I suspect lots of people have tried and failed, living a shitty life for no reason. I hope they had no regrets when they died.

2. Not for the faint of heart

The second method surely has its appeal, but it requires a sensible amount of wealth (i.e. fuck you money) – which in turn requires a massive amount of time.

Thing is, this time must be spent living in attunement with that very society you dislike (and maybe goes straight out against your core values).

If you’re like me, it may be quite hard to keep your motivation intact for so long (or to even muster any enthusiasm in the first place).

But if you do get there, then you’ll be in a position of privilege (and power).

3. Stay woke, salary man

(Honorary mention to The Woke Salaryman. This post is partly inspired by their book and comics.)

I feel the third method is what most people strive for, and many of them would even like to step one level higher.

The goal is getting enough resources (most likely money) to live comfortably.

Since “comfortable” can mean something different to each person, this tier is a spectrum that includes people with a wide variety of income and lifestyles.

Some examples? Wage earners, knowledge workers, freelancers, hard-working hustlers, small entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, and even CEOs.

4. Less is more

This method relates to downshifting, intentional living, simple living, and so on.

You can always carve out a little “circle of freedom” for yourself. You’re truly free within its boundaries, but your circle won’t ever be as big as it could be.

In practice, it means less money but more time. You can do whatever you want, but you have to give up the luxury of a house or expensive medical treatments.

Importantly, there’s a balance to be struck: “luxury” is relative, and deciding how much money versus time you want to surrender is solely up to you.

A last note: in a greedy system such as capitalism, having little wealth makes you powerless, but also quite uninteresting. So you’ll be mostly left in peace.

5. Fuck you, money

The comma is key here. Because you’re not going to have much money, if at all.

Basically, you’re sick and tired of even trying to put up with so much bullshit. So you kiss society goodbye and go live on your own terms. Freedom, at long last!

(If you know Italian, you may want to check out The Pillow YouTube channel.)

The downsides is that this road is paved with risks. What if you want back in society at some point? What if you’re still unhappy? What if you get sick?

Don’t try this at home. But no worries, as you won’t be able to afford one anyways. Not by the standards of our current economic system, at least.

Like the first method, this would be an extreme choice. But the possibilities are endless: you could join a commune, become a hermit, or even live in an airplane.

Wrapping up

I wrote this post because I’m trying to find my own way. I hope it may bring you clarity and you may draw inspiration from one or more of these methods.

Maybe it’s all about striking a balance. We can understand what’s important to us right now – knowing that it may always change later on – and embody it.

Or maybe it’s just about going all-in. I guess we’ll know it when we see it!