Recently I've read a book on decadence that was comprised primarily of examples on being decadent, how it's done, why it's done and so on ... it was called The Decadent Handbook I believe and anyone with any sort of decadent aspirations should give it a read, even though it is a bit difficult to wade through at certain points. The book itself has an interesting notion in the foreword and epilogue in that it claims everyone mentioned in it, indeed anyone writing about decadence, cannot be decadent themselves by definition.
The idea behind this notion seemed to be that the people writing in the book were not writing about their own experiences for the most part and that they were merely bookworms behind closed doors dreaming up lives of fun and adventure. Nothing wrong with this, but personally I prefer thinking that at least some of them were real and they weren't all quite as shammy as the cynic bastard surrounding it would have you think.
But it got me to wondering, just what is decadence then? Everyone in the book seemed to agree on one single point, surprisingly it wasn't the drugs, the debauchery or glutonous eating. No, the one and only common denominator between all descriptions was having fun with total disregard for common sense.
Right, so that immediatelly pops an image of a rockstar or something similar up in your head and there's nothing wrong with that, there really isn't. But I propose to you an image of a different decadent, one that doesn't flip his finger at society quite so obviously. What if true decadence is that guy who goes to work every morning and loves it? What if it's the workoholic who actually likes what they do and feels invigorated by their job? Granted that doesn't seem very fun to the rest of the world, but he wouldn't even care, just like he shouldn't. If he manages to sneak in a few drugs here and there, some heavy drinking when he's got the time and perhaps an odd kink or two that's an added plus.
So, in the end, what is decadence? Decadence is fun.
I write mindblowing emails with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get mindblowing emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️