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Lifehack: ignore lifehacks, your life is too important to hack together

Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

I’m against the entire practice of applying ‘lifehacks’ to our lives. Life is too important to be thrown together like that. A ‘hack’ is by nature hasty and not made to last. It’s fine to hack something together that doesn’t matter much, but we as people matter too much for that. Our lives are the last thing we should be ‘hacking’. Instead, we should abandon the entire concept of easy fixes. It’s best to step away from the entire concept of a hacked life, since human beings aren’t dumb machines to be optimized. We aren’t just tools to be hacked into higher performance.

To hack something together, or just hack it to some other state, is to treat that thing like just a means to an end. It is also to treat it as something disposable. That makes sense when it comes to things like, for example, a lawnmower that just need to run for another few hours so you can mow the grass one last time before moving, or something like that, but not for things that matter.

Consider how you’d feel if your airplane pilot came on the intercom and said they had applied a hack to the plane’s flight computer, or applied a hack to the route, or had the engines hacked to be a bit more fast, or really any kind of hack to the plane you’re on and on which your life depended. Would you be happy to hear that? No! No one wants to rely on something that needs to be hacked together. Nothing life-or-death should be hacked.

Why, then, would we treat ourselves with any less respect? Why would we tolerate lifehacks of any kind?

You rely on yourself for, well, pretty much everything, so if you wouldn’t hack a plane you’re on you shouldn’t hack your self, since throwing in a half-assed untested fix for the sake of performance or expediency is how people ruin their lives.

I say we forget the hacked life. It’s far better to respect the life for all its complexity and uncertainty. We should expect real truth to reflect that reality, and be wary of any advice that implies life is simple or easy to master. In this complex life real wisdom is found only after a lot of work and probably a lot of pain.

Genuinely living well is not a simple thing. There is no one weird trick to it. Every single moment is more complex than a thousand listicles could hope to capture. When we spot a problem in our lives we should approach it with care and respect. We should get to the root of the problem and fix it for good in a complete and robust way. It takes a lot more time and effort to dig down into the root of our selves and even more time to harmonize our complex selves with an insanely complex world, but the results of real inner work are far more lasting than just hacking our way through and hoping our half-assed fixes don’t all fall apart at once.

No hack can touch real problems. Addiction can’t be hacked. Depression can’t be hacked. There’s no 5 easy ways to endure the loss of a child. This real pain will find us We would be wise to put work into developing our character so we’re as ready as we can be for the hard tests of life.

If we take the long view on cultivating our inner selves we can certainly incorporate hack-type-methods when necessary, but the goal is to build ourselves up to be ever-more-solidly built, which forces us to understand ourselves and our world in ways as complex and complete as possible. A listicle might add a few drops of truth, but no one who is trying to live well will run off and start applying hacks in order to get cheap and temporary solutions to what are most often significant problems.