If Life is a Race, What Should We Do?
Pessimism. Existential Crisis. And THE HOPE.
When Dalai Lama was asked what surprises him the most, he replied candidly, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Every religion in this world tried to explain the life. Especially, and only, Human Life.
Science explains it in biological terms.
All the great philosophers did that too.
And even, every individual has an explanation to life, their version of the story.
But, the great puzzle is still unanswered, what is life? or why do we live?
As Seth Godin puts it in one of his interviews, we may find another version in his words;
“Just like skiing, the goal is not to get to the bottom of the hill, the goal is to have a bunch of good runs before the sun sets.” — Seth Godin
My Version of The Story
It is not eternal.
Whatever beliefs that we hold today about life, are not eternal.
The beliefs were different when the earth was inhabited by a variety of species of the genome Homo along with others. The animals only believe in the objective reality. The trees, water, forest, other animals, etc.
The beliefs changed when the earth was inhabited only by the sapiens of the genome Homo. They lived by the objective reality in the hunter-gatherer era or pre-agriculture.
The beliefs took a new shape when humans settled in small groups to cultivate their own food (Agriculture). In those times, our beliefs were mostly animistic. We shared the lands with other animals equally, without a superficial behavior.
The early agriculture started somewhere around 9,500 BCE as per the found evidence. And our beliefs changed and new beliefs developed independently in many parts of the world.
The definition of life was different for different groups of people in all those times and it kept on changing and taking new forms. It revolved closely to the objective reality for long and beliefs were limited to the people of a tribe or band.
Writing and Money Changed Everything
Until recently, when we invented writing and money, brand new.
The world took a hit of subjective and inter-subjective reality. Now the stories that we believe in are as true as objective reality.
Our belief in stories is so strong that we believe in a soul, creator of the universe (in different names throughout the world), money, nations, purpose, and organizations.
This is called inter-subjective reality because it exists in our minds and we all share and reinforce these common stories.
The New Shape
Life takes a brand new shape in the presence of these stories.
The stories do not carry value or power, but the fact that we collectively believe in them.
Among the strongest of the stories, is the story of Growth, Productivity, and Purpose of Life.
Medium is filled with stories about Growth, Productivity, and Life. And this story will only increase that count 😅
This new and powerful worldview acts like a force in everyone’s life. A force to keep going, getting a job, working hard to make this world a better place even though the definition of ‘Better’ has changed bazillion times and we still end up with a controversial definition of the term ‘Better’.
We all collectively make sure that the pursuit of ‘Settled and Happy Life’ should never end for any of us.
According to the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, the only purpose of life is to be Happy.
Epicurus was far ahead of his times;
According to Epicurus, death is the end of both the body and the soul and therefore should not be feared. He also taught that the gods neither reward nor punish humans; that the universe is infinite and eternal; and that occurrences in the natural world are ultimately the result of atoms moving and interacting in empty space.
His views were straightforward and outright offensive for many. One such example is;
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” ― Epicurus
Where is The Race?
It is right here, we all are part of it.
We work hard to buy a home and we go there only to sleep. Then we buy a car to reach the workplace and work harder to pay it’s EMI. We work even harder to buy fancy clothes to wear in business class flights and business meetings. As I quoted Dalai Lama in the very first paragraph, the life comes full circle.
So, what should we do? We have no idea.
There are two ways to look at it, one is to find easy answers to hard questions about life in scriptures and ancient philosophies or we seek hard answers to all the hard questions.
The later is fun (The answer to, ‘What should we do?’). And that is what the technology and science are doing lately. The First approach ends too soon without answering anything in real.
Go The Epicurus Way.
The things you really need are few and easy to come by; but the things you can imagine you need are infinite, and you will never be satisfied. — Epicurus
Because we have a biological limit to the happiness we can feel. That too is not measurable because we cannot quantify it.
Hope is another story from the list of greatest stories of all time that we have ever invented.
The HOPE is, in future Humans will roam around the galaxies, may attain partial immortality, and redefine all the beliefs that masses hold as true today. It is really hard to say anything right now. But it may reach beyond our science fictions.
And the engine which drives this RACE and GROWTH and everything around can be summed up in a single sentence —
The Future will be Better than our present and the past.
But we are unsure about the goal. The time when someone will say that ‘THIS IS IT, WE ARE NOT MOVING FURTHER AHEAD‘.
But that would be a ridiculous thing to say.
Call To Action
Xreach is a new publication.
We are trying to bring different voices to our platform to write personal thoughts and stories on a variety of topics.
Don’t forget to follow Xreach.