Chalant added to the idea list

This is the 10th idea added to the list of Ideas I’m Mulling.

Buster Benson
Published in
3 min readFeb 18, 2024


The previous ideas are: brackishness and calendar systems, codex vitae (book of beliefs), prisoner’s dilemma, the capabilities approach, wicked problems, cognitive biases, and productive disagreements.

CHALANT! is a not-quite-officially-real-but-still-kinda-real word that I adopted as my word of the year for my 47th birthday’s annual review. It came from a dream:

I was standing on a balcony or something, looking out over a mountain range that was almost comically stark and foreboding. And in the dream I SCREAMED at the top of my dream lungs, “CHALAAAAAAAANT!” Like a scream that I pulled up from the center of the Earth, with an intensity that felt like pure cosmic life energy. And as I yelled this word the mountain transformed into a lush, vibrant, fecund, verdant, ridiculous expression of aliveness.

Here’s a contextless dump of chalant-related thoughts, memes, etc that I’ve collected over the last 9 months:

  • Chalant is the opposite of nonchalant, which means it’s explicitly not cool, not casual, and not unaffected.
  • Chalant is that kind of over-the-top, coming-in-hot, perhaps easy to mistake as overly earnest or awkward, doesn’t always land right, but is grounded and connected and aware of the dignity and value in everything and everyone.
  • It’s kinda sweaty and gross and awkward, as well as deeply authentic and sincere.
  • Chalant cares a bit too much about things that don’t really matter to other people, it tries a bit too hard by other peoples’ standards.
  • Chalant isn’t careless, it’s care-free.
  • Chalant isn’t consistent and doesn’t have all its ducks in a row. It’s willing to be inconsistent and vulnerable and messy in order to stay true.
  • Chalant doesn’t know for certain, and also isn’t completely uncertain. It has a best guess and runs whole-heartedly with it until a better guess comes along.

And here are some chalant songs, memes, etc:

Instagram: iamfuckingmagic
I’m not sure where the original comes from (source)
“Be intense. Be raw. Be cringe. Be so f’ing obsessed with the thing you need to be obsessed with to get the job done, that you have tons of people judging and condemning how insanely intense you f’ing are.” — lindsaybarrow675
Threads: britchida
Instagram: Idea, by katejbaer
Know Your Meme
“The feeling of cringe is just your authentic self coming out, and your outward self trying to suppress that. And this made me recall back to all the times that I’ve ever cringed at myself. Was I actually doing something stupid or was I just having fun and I’m just bullying myself? Even though my subconscious is trying to protect me by pushing everything down, in reality I was just refusing to allow myself to be happy. To be who I want to be.” — koysun
“Within the void is also your key to freedom. And this is the message from the googley-eyed rock, which is now the representation of my religion. When Evelyn starts using the absurdity to her advantage — for greater connection, and love, and laughter — and when she starts using the absurdity in order to create a live more worth living, that’s when she saved her daughter from the void. And it’s the message from every story, and every philosopher, who has had to face the void and lived to survive. You can use this to your advantage to create a life that is uniquely and fundamentally worth living at the level of experience. Even if, in the end, it doesn’t really matter.” — nononsensespirituality
“When you were in Vancouver and you contacted me, if I hadn’t felt like seeing you — if I hadn’t slept all night, say, because I was up with some other duty or looking after somebody — if I had said yes and still come out to see you because I had the fear of disappointing you, what would that have meant to me? It would have meant for me: more fatigue, and I probably would have resented the hell out of you. If I said no — if I was authentic and I said ‘Look, Jay, I’m sorry. So glad you’re in town but I was up all night.’ Now, if you had felt hurt, and perceived yourself as rejected by me, that’s not on me. That’s your interpretation of my behavior. Nothing to do with me. I just said what was true for me. But that fear of disappointment. Had I been afraid to disappoint you because I don’t want to lose your friendship, and I believed that if I’m authentic I’m going to lose Jay’s friendship, that’s going to keep me inauthentic. And you’ll never know me.” — Gabor Mate

I’m always looking for more examples of chalant, so if you know of any, please send them my way!

See the entry for chalant as it was when this article was published, and as it is now.



Buster Benson

Product at @Medium. Author of “Why Are We Yelling? The Art of Productive Disagreement”. Also:,,