Dan Kim

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Dan, kind of a serious question here: you seem like a really sensitive, extremely smart guy, how do you cope with the really dark and depressing thoughts we see in your comic? Because I have a big problem with that myself and I need some advice

Hey, anon.
Here are a few things that helped me out when I was in my deepest, darkest hole:
- The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russel
- Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature by Richard Rorty
- The very short stories of Franz Kafka (stuff like The Bucket Rider, The Vulture, and A Little Fable, which is only three sentences long: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Little_Fable )
The first is an absolutely practical guide to dispelling what could be called the ordinary despair that accompanies ordinary life -- that despair which, having no obvious source, makes escape seem all the more impossible. It's a short read and written in absolutely plain language with good humour. The most important thing, I think, was the suggestion to turn one's primary interests to things outside oneself (for me, it was comics -- my making the development of the comics more important than my own happiness, my own despair became irrelevant and, perhaps unsurprisingly, as little accomplishments piled up the despair was tempered with satisfaction and gratitude).
The second should shake you out of your existential despair, if that's what ails ya, by shrinking concerns about cosmic pointlessness and unknowability to ordinary, human-sized concerns about uselessness and uncertainty.
The last are like every dark thought and despairing moment you've ever had distilled into a handful of ice-cold water thrown directly into your face. For me, the shock was welcome and actually refreshing. Something changed after encountering those stories and though I couldn't tell you exactly what, I think the change was good.
Anyway, those are some things that helped me out of my hole, but ultimately I think that the world IS a dark, weird, horrifying, depressing place... but also kinda funny and amusing -- like a madhouse. It's a world where cute puppies get heart worms, ordinary people buy food they don't need while others starve then parade their own virtue on social media for status points by pointing out their own hypocrisy (like I'm doing now), black holes destroy entire stars, washed up celebrities dance on TV, and nothing has any cosmic purpose, and I can't walk down the street without thinking about either mentally undressing or smashing a brick into the face of every person I see (Why? Who knows why? Just a quirk in the mental hardware, probably -- nothing deeper than liking the taste of pickles and peanut butter... or not).
Well. I don't know if that helped, but that''s more or less how I see things there days... Message me again with more details if I aimed wide and missed the mark. Good luck, anon.

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