Photo by Melanie Dijkstra on Unsplash

The Cancer of Comparing

Joe Camerota
2 min readJan 14, 2023

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I once asked Andrew Dice Clay’s son Max Silverstein in Los Angeles, “Is there any saying, any mantra of advice that your dad says to you all the time?” And Max replied, “My dad always says, ‘Max, keep your blinders on’, meaning, don’t compare yourself to others. Run your race the way horses run with blinders on.” I always remembered that note from Max, from his father. It’s good advice.

I compare myself to others a lot. It’s a bad habit. Comparing yourself to others only makes you vain or bitter.

Monks are different from hermits. They have the same lifestyle of solitude and voluntary imprisonment. But there is a key difference between a monk and a hermit. A monk belongs to an order of monks. The key word there is ‘order.’ An order is organized, as the name implies. Meaning, in theory, every monk has a human master who oversees their vow of obedience. And even the monk in charge of a monastery reports to another monk in another monastery. And very few monks ever rise to a position of freedom from this obligation of obedience to another man.

But a hermit is different. A hermit is essentially a monk that obeys no master but his mind. Therefore a hermit is left alone to organize his or her own imagination. Most hermits are forced into this process by the world. As most hermits are people who love life but hate the world. And most hermits go mad in this process of the world slowly convincing them into their hermitage. As Joseph Campbell says, “The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.”

Some men of loneliness can organize their own mind and thrive. We should all strive for such. As Andrew Dice Clay says to his son, “Keep your blinders on.”

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Joe Camerota

Joe is a comedian, a satirist, a philosopher, and a spectator of life. “Be Ye Not Lost Among Precepts of Order” - Principia Discordia : JoeCamerota@gmail.com