Dear Lana,

If Parmenides believed that he was indistinguishable in essence from the world, then where did feelings of alienation came into existence? Is that part of the world too?

I’ve been thinking about the idea of unwinding today. It seems quite a core nature of modern living. You work, you go home, you unwind. The act of unwinding is to distance yourself from your work, knowing that you will return back to work in the morning. If you are not working you are not unwinding because there is nothing to unwind; you cannot unwind that is not wound in the first place. If you do not work, you are lounging. Unwinding can only come into existence through working, and it is through working that time unwinding is considered to be precious. If you do not work, then the value of unwinding is not apparent because all moment is considered to be a moment of unwinding. At a certain point, unwinding loses its value.

Lana, I’ve often heard that time speeds up when you grow up. Psychologists often assign the lack of additional new experiences to be the biggest contributor, but I also think it has a lot to do with this routine. Various acts of unwinding take our attention away from work, and when we work our attention is devoted to work. There is less to time do nothing because our free time can only exist in relation to our working time.

You remember in the beginning of Facebook when people used to play Flash games? There were popular games like Farmville and Mafia Wars and Backyard Monsters. I played all of these games quite a bit, but specifically I remember this game called Restaurant City. It was disbanded in 2013 when Playfish was acquired by Electronic Arts, but I remembered that I poured so much time into that game in middle school. It wasn’t like other restaurant games where you had to time yourself to create food. There wasn’t anything you needed to do per se to make your restaurant function. All you need to do is occasionally feed your staff and open your restaurant. I was coming out of my Flash games phase when the game was discontinued, so it didn’t affect me as if I were in the peak of my interest, but it was still sad at the time to have so many hours I put into my water-themed restaurant thrown away. Now, Facebook no longer supports Flash games, so all of these games including Farmville and Mafia Wars and Backyard Monsters are all going to be disbanded. What was it all for? When I played these games, I didn’t expect them to last around forever, but there’s some part of me that wished I had something to show for it. After all, it is me pouring my time into something. While I was playing these games, I had something to show for it. In Farmville, rice took 12 hours to grow, so I would log in the same time every day after school to harvest and replant my rice. Then, I could use the money I earned through farming rice on various decorations on my farm. I don’t even remember what my farm looked like, but it was sexy as fuck. I remember the game kept on asking me if I wanted to take a picture and share it. I would always click no, but now I wish that I had clicked yes, so I have something to show for all the work that I put in.

Back then, I used these games to unwind. I’m not even sure if that was what is was because I did it more as a desire to game as opposed to a desire to escape the difficulties of school. The time that was put in them… where did it go? Sometimes, I find a bit absurd that you are able to put in so much time in something without anything to show for it. Back then, I used to angst over the impermanence of friendships and relationships. Now, I’m thinking about all the time I used to unwind — how there’s nothing to show for that too. I suspect that’s why I like creating things so much. You can point to something and say you did something. And with the advent of cloud technology, it could truly last longer than most things in life.