Dear Lana,

I checked my insurance plan today. I have $3000 left in deductibles before my insurance carrier starts covering any services. I miss college when cognitive behavioral therapy used to be free. I could use some free ass therapy right now.

The Socratic method reminds me a bit of particle physics. You are repeatedly smashing two forces against each other until you find something useful in the wreckage. It works in particle physics, and it seems to also work in philosophy. So, it would seem that the answers to all questions in the universe can be obtained by smashing things together.

I was thinking about what Aristotle considered to be a good life today, and I was thinking where our comparisons of ourselves with others comes into play. I wonder if a live well-lived is a life far away from others — somewhere secluded, where the only human interaction you could ever want is from the checkout line in the grocery store… but even that’s fading out of fashion nowadays. It is true that we go into solitary confinement for long periods of time, we would go insane, but I question how much suffering human interaction creates at all.

I think social media in many ways resembles Plato’s conception of beauty. Rather than create connection, which is virtuous, social media creates the image of connection, which is not necessarily virtuous. At the end of the day, it boils down to how you want to be presented to others as opposed to how you actually are. There is an element of selection, and the individual choice supposedly brings us closer towards individuality, but it is also homogenous. It appears as we want to appear, which is individual, but it is also inauthentic because it preys on images of things we supposedly want to resemble as opposed to things we actually are.

I don’t know, Lana. I’m not sure if there’s a point to thinking about these things anymore.

I was thinking today about the function of being likeable — whether that satisfies Aristotle’s definition of a life well-lived. Does being likeable mean a happier life on aggregate. I used to angst over not being likeable in interviews a lot, but then somewhere down the life I got over myself and somehow became more likeable in interviews. It certainly has made my life easier. I would like an easy life. Is that something worth pursuing?

Something I found comforting about Aristotle was that he recognized that life can only be defined through the aggregate. The strength of virtue depends on its repeated manifestation throughout time. It’s unfortunate in human existence we can only perceive ourselves up to a certain point. Sometimes, it is very difficult to understand why we are acting in certain ways, whether there is a purpose behind the ways we are acting, whether it would make sense when we look back at our lives in retrospect.

Lana, I listened to your new song that dropped today, “Let Me Love You Like a Woman”. I liked the production and the lyrics, but I probably won’t listen to it on repeat. I was thinking why I decided to address this entire letter collection to you since I don’t particularly listen to your music that much anymore. In truth, it’s because you hold a lot of sentimental value to me. I listened to you in high school and my first couple years in college, and those were very formative times for me. In that sense, writing to you is almost writing to my past self that is captured in the essence of your music, particularly Paradise and Ultraviolence.

I’m bit confused again in my life, Lana. I fantasize about running away into Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows. It seems so serene there, far away from those other dreadful parts of the world. I like dark skies, feeling the stalks blow irregularly at my feet, wondering if it is possible to be carried up into the winds, into the clouds, and float away into the stratosphere.