Life is Meaningless, Absurd and Soon You’ll be Dead

Incredibly exciting — this one, meaningless life of yours!

Tim Minchin rockin’ out
“We don’t eat pigs, you don’t eat pigs.
It seems it’s been that way forever.
So if you don’t eat pigs, and we don’t eat pigs…
Why not, not eat pigs, together?”
— Tim Minchin, “Peace Anthem for Palestine”

OG “Rock’ n ’Roll Nerd” Tim Minchin deserves a trophy for logic this tasty.

An Australian comedian, actor, writer, musician and director, Tim Minchin has tunes for days. He’s also bonkers about life.

I don’t recall what possessed me to watch his 2013 University of Western Australia address at 2:42 AM on a brisk, seven-coffee-weekday. Whatever university paper I was procrastinating on could wait.

Good call, young JJ.

Enjoy Tim Minchin’s sage advice on this chirpy, pointless life of ours.


LESSON ONE

Be micro-ambitious.

Embrace not knowing where you’ll end up.

You don’t need some Homeric-dream or delusions of grandeur. Keep buggering on.

Horrah! By the time you realize the meaninglessness of these “BIG DREAMS ™”, you’ll be old, wilting and off to the abyss.

Be relentless.

Chase that next pursuit. Put your head down and work with pride. Whatever’s in front of you is worth it. Dedicate your life to these short-term goals and kick their joyful bums one at a time.

Long-term dreams are dangerous. Sometimes the good stuff is at your periphery.


LESSON TWO

Happiness is like an orgasm. If you think about it too much it goes away.

Don’t seek happiness.

Keep busy, aim to make someone else happy and you might find you’ll get some as a side effect.


LESSON THREE

We’re incalculably lucky, super lucky.

Be more compassionate.

We can’t truly take credit for all our successes nor blame others for their failures. We weren’t in charge of our DNA.

Good stuff. Stay humble. Empathy goes a long way.


LESSON FOUR

You’ll live too long, so exercise!

This long luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed. You might as well take care of your body while you have it.


LESSON FIVE:

Be hard on your opinions.

Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one.

Unlike arseholes, opinions are different because yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined.

Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privileges. Acknowledge nuance and whack your own ideas with some good ol’ critical thinking.

The Arts and Sciences are not at odds with each other. This imaginary division is a recent invention. A silly idea.

Science is not a body of knowledge nor a belief system. It’s just a term describing humankind’s incremental understanding through observation.

Science is awesome.

The Arts and Sciences need to work together to improve how knowledge is communicated. They’re a team.

Together, we’ll communicate better.


LESSON SIX

Be a teacher. They’re awesome.

Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world.

Even if you’re not a teacher, be a teacher.

Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education.

Rejoice in what you learned and spray it.


LESSON SEVEN

Define yourself by what you LOVE.

We have a tendency to define ourselves by what we hate.

Change it up. Express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise.

Be PRO-stuff, not just ANTI-stuff.


LESSON EIGHT

Respect people with less power than you.

Doesn’t matter how powerful you are, or think you are.

People will judge you on how you treat the least powerful.


LESSON NINE

Don’t rush. Don’t panic.

You don’t need to know what to do for the-rest-of-your-life-and-the-future-of-all-time-forever-and-ever-amen.

Most people Tim Minchin knew who were sure of their career path at 20 are having midlife crises now.


LESSON TEN

You will soon be dead :)

Leave it to humans to think the universe has a purpose for them after 13.8 billion years worth of unguided events and circumstances.

No worries.

Life will sometimes seem long and tough and oh-so-tiring. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad. You’ll be old, and then you’ll be dead.

Only one thing to do with this empty existence.

Fill it.

Learn as much as you can about as much as you can. Take pride in whatever you’re doing. Have compassion, check yourself and share some yummy ideas.

Be enthusiastic, and don’t forget your exercise.

Good luck.


Do share this with your pals. We’ll all be dead one day. Might as well have some fun while we’re at it.


Tim Minchin’s 2013 UWA Address in full

“We don’t eat pigs, you don’t eat pigs”