Regardless of whether or not there is a true, philosophical meaning of life that every individual must accomplish in order to give objective meaning to their lives, every individual must still find a goal that they value personally and actively work towards fulfilling that goal or else they won’t feel fulfilled in life. Thus, their life will feel meaningless, and this will lead to existential depression and maybe even suicide.
However, before you can even begin working on achieving a goal that brings you personal fulfillment in this absurd, existential vacuum of a universe you have to fully understand yourself because you can’t fulfill your wants without defining them and you can’t define them without defining yourself. So the first answer to the question, “What should I do with my life?” is the same for everyone. You should strive to understand and define yourself.”
This is more complicated than it may appear on the surface because you can’t just choose who you want to be. Parts of your mental framework were defined by your biology and the environment you were raised in. So In order to understand yourself you’ll have to first figure out how your nature and nurturing molded you into who you are today.
You’ll be unlikely to understand who you are, what you are, what made you who/what you are and what makes you who/what you are without systematic, dedicated expert instruction. Unfortunately, most parents don’t systematically and rigorously teach psychology and anthropology to their children or do much of anything to help their children understand who they are in the micro/macro scheme of the world. Schools don’t do this either…unless you choose to spend 8+ years and thousands of dollars getting a doctorate in psychology and anthropology, but even then you’ll have to wait until after your formative years to start being taught who you are, and by then the mold will already be set (for the most part).
Even if schools taught self-actualization classes to children starting in kindergarten, many children with strict or poor parents would still be discouraged from pursuing their personal wants because that’s viewed as selfish and irresponsible. Even if children made the stressful decision to defy their parents and follow their own will they’d still have to intellectually dodge the influence of the major world religions, which all emphasize denying yourself and prostrating yourself to mythological constructs of God that reflect the cultural norms of primitive cultures and are at odds with the cultural values you were raised in and consciously or subconsciously base your identity on.
In addition to the snake oil salesmen of mythology you’ll also have to intellectually dodge the influence of consumer marketing that floods every form of media and uses time-tested psychological tricks to manipulate you into basing your identity on the products you buy. You could add politicians, social action groups, clubs, sports franchises and other organizations actively trying to profit and grow by convincing you to base your identity and your wants on their preconceived agenda instead of allowing and encouraging you to define your own wants based on your own organically grown personality.
Even if you received a lifetime of self-actualization training and were brave enough to walk through the beatings, threats and promises of the world, there are precious few businesses in the world who are actively seeking out workers based on their personality inventory. You may know who you are, but nobody else does, and nobody else cares. That means nobody with a job where you’ll fit in perfectly is trying to find you. The system isn’t designed to put people into the niches they fit in. The system is designed to turn a profit by paying the lowest wages for work while charging the highest price for goods and services. Your wants are irrelevant. The only people whose wants are relevant are CEOs, and they want you to be a slave. So unless you beat the system (and statistically speaking, you won’t because it’s rigged so the house wins) then you’re going to spend over half the waking time of the majority of the days of your life working at a job that’s not personally fulfilling to you.
And unless you’ve received a considerable amount of training in reason, introspection and the social sciences you probably won’t ever articulate any of that to yourself anyway. You’ll spend most of your life with this nagging itch in the back of your mind that tells you that despite how much crap you own and despite the promises of commercials, politicians, self-help books, religions and other faux-optimists, something just isn’t quite right. But instead of acknowledging that your life is unfulfilling because you never truly understood yourself, defined your wants or found a place where you fit in you’ll likely mistake that part of your mind urging you to fulfill your potential as just being pessimistic and ungrateful for what you have. So you’ll kill it with optimism and give up little by little over time until your left a wantless drone/consumer/reproducer in a global sweat shop. And if the marketing boys have done their jobs right you’ll tell yourself you love it.
However you felt about this post, you’ll probably feel the same way about these:
- Why: An Agnostic Perspective on the Meaning of Life (Free Ebook)
- An Old Man From Jersey Explains Life (Free Ebook)
- It’s okay to be lost
- The value of life
- Reality is amazing
- The cosmic perspective
- The relationship between sanity, reality, truth, religion and science
- Enlightenment Through Logic
- The Map of Everything
- The prime prerogative
- The value of knowledge
- The danger in telling people life has no meaning
- Reading for truth
- 11 ways mainstream academic philosophy has come to resemble religion
- Deep thoughts by the wise janitor
- A biker looks at social conformity
- A biker looks at bad weather
- A biker looks at the road
- A biker explains why we ride
- A biker wonders again why he rides
- A biker looks at crying
- Ethics without religion -you’re already doing it
- My secular theory on ethics
- Another attempt at explaining my secular theory on ethics
- Reasons to be kind outside of religion
- Karma ghosts
- The non-believers’ 7 deadly sins
- My theory on sexual morality
- Demonizing pleasure is a failed experiment
- Cost/benefit analysis of hedonism
- Should you let friends borrow money?
- Why and when you should have a problem with authority
- Why it’s bad to be conceited
- Self-subjugation is not a virtue
- No action is an island
- The Tao of Booze
- The drug talk
- Why you should be sober
- 6 accurate and 6 inaccurate ways to judge people
- 8 steps to becoming a genius
- My approach to thinking/problem solving
- The science of thought
- Your ability to think obligates you to
- How to think critically
- How to solve a problem using a team
Atheism and Agnosticism
- Agnostic nihilism
- Agnostic atheism
- Do agnostics fear death?
- An agnostic theory on why God is so cruel
- An agnostic take on God
- An agnostic take on Pascal’s Wager
- An agnostic take on intelligent design
- So you don’t believe in God. What do you do now?
- Should reason be considered a legal religion?
- Reason vs faith: part 1, part 2
- Predictions on the New Atheist movement
- Meta Atheists V.S. Pop Atheists