It’s a tricky thing when you find yourself in a world seemingly gone mad and running after every sort of dopamine hit. For those who don’t know and can’t be bothered to google, dopamine is the bodies chemical to feel better. Many of us know it best in sex, but there are many many ways we get it going.. from caffeine, to sports, heck even our cell phones give us a tad i’ve heard. With all this addiction going down it’s amazing we get anything done, and the lens that paints the world that way makes the use for stimulants even more.
So when the noted Auschwitz prisoner who was a psychiatrist Viktor Frankl published Search for Meaning it was a breathe of fresh air. I myself have thought for quite a few years even before reading the book that before we accept any well meaning arm chair therapist or even a certified one for that matter, we should hold it up to a certain Auschwitz test. Like would this have held true for those at Aushwitz. For instance, did they create their reality?
The success of Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules to Life reflects this trumping of meaning over just self medicating or escaping. That we want our lives to have value and possibly impact. On the other side of that there are those so driven to purpose and meaning that they miss out on the process of living or fail to realize the meaning and impact of small and seemingly inconsequential things. Those people seem to have to have something obviously ascribed as valuable or important by a larger body or group, but it can also simply be their own truth or narrative.
I was recently watching a video by indian author Sadhguru that echoed St. Paul’s instruction to Have a Singular Passion of Lead a Quiet Life and Work with Your hands. His video talked of the importance of finding balance before all things, and that it wasn’t bad to have meaning but too often those who did were quiet mad. Along that lines I wonder if all these organizations and philosophies of thought in the 21 century of self importance are a counter to being in a 8 billion peopled world. Meaning it’s difficult to see that you’re important in all that.. realistically.
Typically western religious thought backs this up, that this life is the only life you have so live it well and with a certain sense of deliberateness. The famous Eastern thinker in the West, Alan Watts though also talks about how our deliberateness can muddy the waters of ours and others experience. That Like Sadhguru he might suggest timing, patience, and reflection until there can be a lighter disposition towards an activity, situation, or purpose.
What is balance though is i feel a finding of rhythm in our integration with the collective good, primarily the situations we find ourselves in, more than ones we seek out as much.
I suppose we may want to also at the very least have an idea of what is the collective good. Many haven’t seemed to even figure out what their truth is.. but we all have one, as formative as it might be. That truth might have been pushed by our upbringing or societal conditioning, may have been a counter response to it, or simply of our own innovative and creative aptitudes. The fact is more though how does it interact with that which is larger or “outside” itself. That can be difficult because of the polarities that exist. One is saying in effect it’s all relative where another is saying it all matters. There are those that are even saying both which as imminent thinker Ken Wilber puts is A-perspectival madness. This position he goes on plays out in nihilism or narcism and not the fulfillment of good intentions that may want in trying to get everybody to get along.
So this morning I read of another gay guy that came to christianity and ended up in a heterosexual marriage with 3 kids. The comments under the article said that he was probably repressing. In the article though it said that his identity was too tightly wrapped up in his sexuality and that he’d ended up feeling empty. The rituals in which he committed to a healthier direction of life for himself to me were superfluous, but I think those who were mocking him lost the active points. Of course I don’t think the way it came off in the article that there was no chance of him being gay could have had a healthier expression is not even considered.. well is not cool. But this was a conservative christian website.. sooooo..
So our search for uselessness continues, and if we find meaning, well that’s great too.. but let’s not miss any of the small and wonderful things everyday that surround us ok.