Mark Zuckerberg wears the same colour T shirt every day. Why? He says, ‘I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.’
In short, to allow for maximum simplicity and clarity in his life in order to dedicate as much of his time as possible to helping others. Jesus would approve.
Every minute Mark Zuckerberg selflessly plucks from his grooming schedule is a minute we all benefit from – had he been a little more fastidious about his wardrobe in his youth, say, spent ten minutes getting dressed instead of one, who knows how long we might have had to wait for him to cast aside his mortal vices in favour of connecting us all to the people whom we didn’t really know or like in high school? Perish the thought – we’d still be living out our lives with social contact limited to the people whose company we actually enjoy.
My question is, by cutting out the frivolities is Mark depriving himself of the small pleasures that cushion the trial that each day presents us with? Probably not – I expect he gets his frivolous kicks outside the wardrobe.
Because it’s the little frivolities – the pink t-shirts, the pork crackling, this panda video, the binding promise of post-broccoli dessert – that keep us afloat in this sea of grey meaningless; why on earth would we want to deprive ourselves of a moment’s make-believe that something so small as a choice of t-shirt could matter, when the alternative is to face the horrifying pointlessness of our existence? We’ll all be dust one day, and if a minute’s deliberation over a choice of t-shirt can provide a momentary distraction from the stark reality of our collective insignificance then that’s fine by me.
Zuckerberg may not care about fashion but no man is a saint; I’d love to know what his earthly frivolous indulgence is, if not a brightly coloured polo. I like to think that his apparent lack of the smallest vice (vanity) may be indicative of a significantly larger one – witness Hitler’s vegetarianism. What could this act of earnest humanity be concealing? A thirst for world domination perhaps (although let’s face it he’s already nailing that.)
Men have so little choice of clothing compared to us women, inundated as we are with twice-yearly supplications from every fashion outlet to change our style or face immediate social ostracisation. The ability to wear the same style day in day out, for years on end, must be a blissful relief, and let’s face it, is a fashion statement in itself: ‘I don’t care’.
For some of us fashion is mostly dull, something to be changed only when the weather or polite society demands it (witness the steep up-down trajectory of knicker denim shorts – shudder).
However, forgoing the desire to wear a different coloured top occasionally would make us feel entirely uniform – our choice of clothing is one small satisfying yet inoffensive way of asserting ourselves in the face of our inevitable oblivion. Like picking up a full-fat yoghurt, having that extra glass of wine, or listening to a Christmas carol in May, indulging faux-meaning in something so trivial as the clothes we wear is simply emblematic of our whisper into the void, our muted rage against the dying of the light; a tiny but important rebellion against the chaos and meaningless we’re confronted with every day.
Zuckerberg is probably no different, but I do wonder what his little rebellions, his whispers into the void are. Whether he likes it or not, his choice of a permanent ‘grey t-shirt’ uniform is a statement in itself – it says ‘I am unconcerned with the frivolous every day concerns of most people, and have much higher things on my mind’. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but then I’m always suspicious of anyone so apparently immune to the pointlessness of their own existence.
Perhaps though, he has simply mastered the higher state of mind that F Scott Fitzgerald spoke of when he said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.” If so, then I envy him.