The latest online craze is submitting to the mortifying ordeal of being known

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One of my favorite memes is spun off a line from an essay: “to receive the rewards of being loved, we must submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known.”

The format is simpler than it sounds: on one side, being loved; on the other, being known. Sometimes the mortifying ordeal is a pane of glass or a cartoon boulder, but it’s always standing between you and being loved.

The wordiness becomes part of the joke. You can start with a simple tagline (“why don’t you have a piece of bread,” let’s say) and the twist (“why don’t you submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known”) will turn it into something sadder and harder to resolve. There’s real wisdom to the idea. Intimacy can be terrifying, and the lonelier you are, the scarier it is….

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