This weekend PBS will show the final episode of Downton Abbey. I can report that I have kept my New Year’s resolution not to watch this season. If anyone suspected self-righteousness in my motives for this resolution, let me also report that I’m spending this weekend binge watching the new season of House of Cards, having just finished all five seasons of the French cop series Engrenages (called Spiral on Netflix). If this season of House of Cards is as disappointing as last season, I probably won’t be back for the next. So far (episode 3) Frank and Clair are in top form trying to destroy each other.
I do wonder, however, whether the unscrupulous lawyer Joséphine Karlsson in Spiral or even the morally rigid judge François Roban could outwit the Underwoods. Whereas the Underwoods use power to gain more power, Karlsson and Roban make their way through a corrupt system from positions of weakness. Roban, in particular, challenges people like the Underwoods again and again, sometimes losing, sometimes winning, but surviving despite their best efforts to destroy him. Karlsson frequently finds herself in physical danger because of her criminal clients and in danger of arrest or losing her license because of her latest illegal manoeuvre, but she uses her wits to find a way out of these holes she’s dug for herself. By the end of season 5 she’s risen to the board of directors of a prestigious law firm, only to ….
I don’t mean to give the impression that I’ve spent all my time these last few months just watching TV, but I won’t bore you here with my studies on the Buddhist teaching of dependent co-origination My point is I haven’t been sitting around wondering what I’ve been missing on Downton Abbey. If I had watched this last season, it would have only been for fear of missing out (FOMO), a real danger in this age of the internet and social media. FOMO is what kept me watching the Sopranos despite repeated disappointment. Rather I’ve been feeling the joy of missing out (JOMO). As Anil Dash the inventor of the term JOMO puts it:
I wasn’t missing anything. … I was not only not in fear, but actually in a state of joy ….
There can be, and should be, a blissful, serene enjoyment in knowing, and celebrating, that there are folks out there having the time of their life at something that you might have loved to, but are simply skipping.
Another activity that’s kept me busy is listening to podcasts. The podcast Note to Self has a fascinating conversation between Anil Dash and Caterina Fake, who came up with the term FOMO.