Why losing all hope is indeed freedom
“Losing all hope was freedom.”, I came across this particular phrase a couple of years ago in a movie called the Fight Club. When I first heard it, it seemed nonsensical and downright depressing. I mean, if a person loses all hope, then they have no reason to live right?. However, over the next 24 months, I learned that not only was I wrong, but this counter-intuitive approach to life brought me a certain freedom and peace for which I yearned for years. And maybe once I explain what this particular quote means to me, maybe this rambling will make sense to you too.
The problem with hope is that it comes attached to something that all philosophies advocate us to avoid, namely expectations. You hope to be rich one day or at least earn a good deal of money at a stable job. You hope to have amazing friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime. You hope you will achieve that amazing body someday and people will fawn over in awe after they see how godlike you are. Now, just replace the hope with expectations and you will see what the problem is- we all want good, amazing experiences to happen to us. Hell, pop culture wants us to hope, to always be positive, to keep smiling and pretend everything is hunky dory, to believe we are all special unique snowflakes destined to do amazing things and that we deserve only things that bring us pleasure. The problem with this thinking is pretty obvious, it is not at all realistic and has turned a lot of us into entitled pricks who cower at the first sign of adversity. Another problem that many fail to see is that the desire for this amazing, pleasure-filled life makes us chase more, more, more and indulge in a hedonistic rat race that is never-ending. However, no matter what we achieve at what cost, happiness and peace continue to elude most of us.
It definitely eluded me for a long time. My personal demons existed in the realm of relationships- both the romantic and platonic kind. For me, validation was a drug I desired the most. Due to the way I was raised and conditioned, I had a firm belief lodged in my brain that I must please everyone, I must blend in, I must be nice, I must be self-sacrificing and put myself before others. As you can guess, I was pretty much a loner and my people pleasing tendencies only made me vulnerable to be exploited by everyone. You see, I had hoped that if enough people validated my existence and if I changed myself enough, then maybe I could accept and respect myself. This is where social conditioning and positive thinking led me, down the never-ending rabbit hole of chasing people to like me. Until one day, I realized that the only way I could be truly happy is if I let go of the need to be liked by others. Then something amazing happened, I really let go- just like that. I made a conscious decision to live life on my own terms, to put myself first before everything else and focused my attention inward.
As a result of this new way of thinking, things that used to bother me a lot before now hold no power over me. I started to stand up for myself and of course, I was initially called a prick for that but then eventually I know people will respect me, even if it is grudgingly. Bottom line: it doesn’t matter who thinks what about me. But most importantly, I started to develop the ability to let that which does not truly matter slide. And this is how losing hope, the idea of hope that the current society holds dear bought me my freedom and made me a badass in my own eyes. The reason being that this delusional level of positivity, complete with sunshine and rainbow farts, does not resonate with my idea of the real world and it is only my view that truly matters in the end to me.
So yes, lose all expectations that society and people have for you and see for yourself what you truly want. Because at the end of the day, when you are on your death bed you will be much more fulfilled having lived a life on your own terms than living a life pleasing others. Hell, this is the very reason I am expressing myself in public even though I might face ridicule, but hey, who’s gives a rat’s ass about what others think right?