FOMO and books

It’s been a little while since myself and stressful thoughts signed an agreement: to become friends. Umberto Eco’s ode to unread books made me feel another footstep has been done on the journey.

I looked at my little library. Well, I told myself, I am 23 and I have not that much of unfinished books on the shelf. Now, I’d try to appreciate unread books, they would be a kind reminder of how little I know, and how much there still is to go. Tsundoku on the bedside table is even pretty; piles are an iridescent, ever-changing art statue. Colours and sizes mix together, and I’m a delighted kid when it comes the time to adjust their position.


Stress is not so easy to handle when it comes to my Evernote. Books to read and articles to be reviewed are much cheaper to collect. Old interests cross the new ones, and it is hard to figure out whether dynamism is forward motion or resistance, an escape into the storming sea of limitless knowledge. I feel a deep need to track my thoughts, to avoid the fear of facing arduous tasks. At the same time, I should leave enough room for new thoughts to grow, in a low-pressure environment.

A stressful approach to reading relates with FOMO (read: fear of missing out) as well. FOMO testing sites highlight how vast the disorder might be. I took the test – high risk profile was shown. Wow. At a relatively young age, I consume myself on books as the best way to explore the world. Choosing became stressful when I despaired of finding my way. Pathfinding is what makes wandering tiresome. I feel tension when I do anything that is rationally relevant to my future. That tension is fostered by every choice I think I should have spent more attention at, which has seemingly led me to unpleasant conditions.


There is another odd pleasure in examining unread books – thinking at them as part of my unlived lives. Unlived lives make us significant just as lived lives do. Alessandro Bergonzoni marvelously recognizes a lack of beauty as the main reason for terrible prisons; a lack of tenderness as the rich soil for rapes (video excerpt). When I place myself to look for answers, I know they’ll come. I never thought unlived lives could be a source as well.


Thinking of choices, “What Pet Should I Get?” beautiful review by the ever inspiring Maria Popova reminded me that

[…] in the face of life’s dilemmas, there is often no right or wrong choice — what matters is only that we do choose, that we make up our minds and march forward, for nothing dulls the little time we have more surely than the paralysis of indecision.

Being in a sense of flow can’t be separated from stillness. Constant motion requires something stable to be observed from. Stillness relates to consciousness. Motion to life.

In chess, it is called Zugzwang; when the only viable move – it is not to move.

from Mr. Nobody.


Complement it with thought-provoking insights on pathfinding.