The Modern Philosophy of Aziz Ansari
GQ Style recently profiled Master of None’s Aziz Ansari for their cover, and what could have been just another celebrity puff piece (the interview took place at Paris Fashion Week… I mean…) turned into a surprisingly deep conversation. Aziz talked about drugs, living in a simulation, being single, investing more in his professional than his personal life, and the meaning of success. He approaches every question thoughtfully, honestly, and with the humor you’d expect — and the end result reads like a manifesto for Trying To Live Your Best Life (By Someone Who Is Already Doing It).
Here are a few choice passages to add to your personal vision boards:
To me, the argument for drugs is that you live your life with this one perspective all the time. Why not just see what it’s like from a different perspective? To be on some crazy drugs.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. We both have more money than we ever imagined. And I was like,Can you imagine if someone called us a few years ago and said, “All right, you’re going to have this much money when you’re this age. What are you gonna do with it?” You would say all sorts of fantastical things, right? No one would say, Oh, I would figure out how to make more money and keep working all the time. Everyone just buys into this, like, Oh, I need to keep making stuff, I need to go make more money. I don’t need to make more stuff. I’ve made a lot of stuff! I’m financially okay. I’m not gonna make stuff just for the sake of making stuff. I want to make stuff ‘cause I’m inspired. Right now I don’t really feel inspired.
On disconnecting by removing the internet and social media from his phone
Whenever you check for a new post on Instagram or whenever you go on The New York Times to see if there’s a new thing, it’s not even about the content. It’s just about seeing a new thing. You get addicted to that feeling. You’re not going to be able to control yourself. So the only way to fight that is to take yourself out of the equation and remove all these things. What happens is, eventually you forget about it. You don’t care anymore. When I first took the browser off my phone, I’m like, [gasp] How am I gonna look stuff up? But most of the shit you look up, it’s not stuff you need to know. All those websites you read while you’re in a cab, you don’t need to look at any of that stuff. It’s better to just sit and be in your own head for a minute. I wanted to stop that thing where I get home and look at websites for an hour and a half, checking to see if there’s a new thing. And read a book instead. I’ve been doing it for a couple months, and it’s worked. I’m reading, like, three books right now. I’m putting something in my mind. It feels so much better than just reading the Internet and not remembering anything.
I hope more people get very successful and then quit. Shouldn’t that be the game? That you make a bunch of money and just move to Italy and live a quiet life? No one does it! You do a bunch of shit and you just want to do more shit. Tom Cruise! Look at that guy! He will not stop. He’s still making these fucking movies. No one who does what I do—or anywhere related in my world—is ever like, I’m done. That’s why I travel so much. I always think about this thing someone once told me. They said, Patterns are the work of the devil. For some reason that stuck in my head. And I don’t even know if it’s true.
Ansari also apparently likes orange Starburst (but doesn’t want anyone to send him a bag of them), enjoys soaking baths and pasta, and seems very concerned with learning how black men spray on their cologne because they always smell great. There is so much goodness in the profile, about examining the life you’re living and making yourself a better person. And if we never see another season of Master of None, don’t be sad. Just imagine Ansari riding a bicycle around Italy and be happy.