Tag Archives: find your purpose

Wise Sloth Video List: The Meaning Of Life

I prefer watching educational videos on YouTube more than watching television, but it’s tedious digging for good content, and I’ve already seen most of the good stuff while searching for videos to put in my blogs. In case anyone else is looking for entertaining educational videos on YouTube, I made a series of posts with all the ones I’ve used on The Wise Sloth, organized by topic, with links to the posts they appear in. You’re bound to be enlightentained, and if you need help exploring the 600+ essays on The Wise Sloth, these video lists offer a quick overview that practically summarize my philosophies.

This list comes from my essays on philosophy and focuses on the meaning of life.

 

How do you find purpose without knowing the meaning of life?

 

 

 

 

 

The value of life

 

 

 

 

Reality is amazing

 

 

It’s okay to be lost

 

 

The cosmic perspective

 

 

 

Why you shouldn’t commit suicide

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these other video lists:

 


You Can And Should Live Somewhere Awesome

Picture of a garden gnome sitting on a beach looking at the waves with the caption, "Wish you were here"

Life is infinitely valuable yet agonizingly short. Every fleeting second of your life is worth as much as life itself, and you only have once chance to make the most of each moment. Life is never going to be perfect. The universe isn’t going to hand peace and fulfillment to you on a silver platter. It’s up to you to make the changes in your life that will bring you happiness. You’ll never have complete control of your environment. So you’ll never be able to create the perfect life for yourself as you imagine it, and even if you could, it wouldn’t last forever. So being happy depends more on your ability to enjoy life right now, as it is, than your ability to control the world.

Having said that, there are situations where this philosophy doesn’t apply. Being dogmatically optimistic when there are legitimate external problems in your life isn’t a virtue. That’s insanity. You’re not helping yourself by deluding yourself into believing everything is okay when it’s not.

If you live in the ghetto or suburbia, your life isn’t as good as it could be. Ghettos and suburbs are designed so that you’re far away from work, shopping and leisure. You may have a micro park near you, but that’s about it. You’ll be forced to spend time and money driving anywhere, and wherever you go, everything you do will cost as much money as possible. So you’ll likely spend most of your free time at home where your rent, mortgage, utilities, food and home furnishings will be as expensive as possible. This will limit your options and force you to buy low quality goods and services, which will provide you a lackluster quality of life. If you live in a community that has cultural values that you disagree with, you’ll probably enjoy life even less.

If none of that applies to you, then congratulations, you’re the exception. The rest of society lives in a sensory deprivation pressure cooker. If you’re one of the unlucky people who live in a ghetto or suburb, I have good news. You can live somewhere awesome, and if you haven’t proven it already, you will eventually. At some point in your life you’re going to move houses and change jobs. If you can do that in one city, you can do it across cities. Moving to another country isn’t even that complicated. If you’re in good health, have a bachelor’s degree and are under 30 years old, you can emigrate. All you have to do is file some paperwork and then move your body from one place to another. It’s not as easy as baking a cake, but it’s within your capabilities.

The only thing holding you back from living in a beautiful town with lakes, forests, rivers, ocean waters, nice people, clean air, good food, beautiful culture and freedom is your excuses. You can make all the excuses in the world for why you’re stuck in a dead end town working at a dead end job surrounded by dead end people, and your reasons might sound inarguable on paper, but all of those perfect excuses aren’t going to do you any good 30 years from now when all you have to look back on is a lifetime spent waiting for your real life to begin.

Your only shot at life is happening right now. This is the only chance you’re ever going to have to spend today somewhere you love. This is the only chance you’re going to have to build the memories of today that you’re going to carry with you for the rest of your life. There’s nothing more important going on in your life than making the most out of your life. If you can’t afford to move, then you’re doing something wrong, and you need to read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. There’s nothing you can’t accomplish if you put your mind to it and never give up. You can and should live somewhere awesome, because the cost/benefit analysis of spending your life in an oppressive, stifling environment just doesn’t add up.

 

Photo of a disgruntled office worker sitting at a computer pretending to hang himself by his telephone cord

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
Self-Esteem
Health
Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Leadership and Authority
My Tweets About Self-Help

Where Does Hedonism Fit In The Meaning Of Life?

Hedonism is defined by Dictionary.com as:

1: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good.

2: devotion to pleasure as a way of life

 

Renaissance painting of a Greco-Roman party with excessive eating, drinking and sensual behavior

 

There’s a lot humans don’t understand about life. We don’t know why or how the Big Bang occurred. We don’t know why or how DNA exists in the physical universe. We don’t know why or how we exist or what happens to our consciousness after we die. All we know for sure is that we’re here now, and honestly, the all the evidence we’ve found so far points to the conclusion that after we die our consciousness will simply cease to exist as surely and completely as our consciousness didn’t exist before we were born.

Based on what little we currently know about the universe, the evidence points to the conclusion that once we die our consciousness will simply cease to exist and our bodies will simply become food for other smaller life forms, and eventually our bodies will be broken back down to inert matter. In other words, we were born of dirt, and we’ll return to dirt. On many levels, this is subjectively tragic, but how we feel about the situation is irrelevant to the reality of the situation. What is, is, and what will be, will be.  And you’re born and will die not knowing what it is or what it will be. It’s tough, but that’s life.

When you take all of this into consideration, it creates a powerful argument for the conclusion that the best we can hope for in this short, difficult life is to enjoy ourselves as much as possible. And while some people cling to faith to give themselves the illusion of certainty in life, pleasure is an immediate certainty. This raises the question, Why not have as much physically rewarding fun as possible while you’re here?

 

"Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." Kurt vonnegut

 

I can’t empirically prove why we shouldn’t devote our lives to the pursuit of pleasure. All I can do is raise more questions, and the question every hedonist must constantly wrestle with is, “What if there’s something more rewarding I could be doing with my life?” which leads to the next question, “What could possibly be more rewarding than physical pleasure?” And even if there were solid answers to either of those questions we’ll always be left with the question, “So what? What if I personally choose to devote my life to hedonism instead of some other unprovable philosophical ideal? If that’s my choice then what’s wrong with that?” I don’t have an answer to that.

As I said earlier, my current theory on life is that the best we can hope to do is fulfill our potential. This theory doesn’t offer much in the way of guidance though because humans are capable of doing and becoming so much. We’re also capable of not doing and not becoming even more. So if anyone asks you what your potential is, you wouldn’t be wrong to reply, “Whatever I choose.” But if you answer that then you would be wise to ask yourself, “What should I choose to do or become?” Well, there’s no sign painted in the stars telling you what you should do. If you don’t know what you should do then you can at least ask yourself, “What do I want to do or become?”

Your wants are defined by your personality, your identity, your uniqueness. By identifying and fulfilling your wants you’re expressing yourself, you’re exercising your individual existence. Regardless of whether or not your wants turn out to be “right” or “wrong” by some cosmic standard, by identifying and fulfilling your wants you still exercised your existence, and on some level, that’s more admirable than enslaving yourself to doing what someone else once said was right. Of course, you could also argue that The Good Guy’s slaves chose to be mental slaves; they even made considerable personal sacrifices doing what they believed was right and should be rewarded accordingly. And sure, there’s logic behind that point of view that gives it credence…

But let’s take a step back for a moment. Consider the age-old argument of nature v.s. nurture. Do humans behave the way they do because that’s how they were born to behave or because that’s how they were taught to behave? When a child growing up in Saudi Arabia “chooses” to become Muslim, was that really their choice or was that the result of indoctrination? If a middle-class white boy in Texas becomes a pseudo-Christian who acknowledges the divinity of Christ but doesn’t put much more effort into their religion other than that and voting against gay rights, was that truly their choice or was it the result of indoctrination? When a child from a broken home turns to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of a lifetime spent receiving discouraging feedback, is that a choice or the result of indoctrination? I don’t have the final answers to those questions, especially since those issues aren’t black and white. They’re as complicated and gray as life itself.

One thing I suspect is true is that the better you understand the universe, challenge your beliefs, define yourself, and achieve self-actualization, the more truly your actions will be your own. The more your actions are your own the more you will express and exercise your existence by everything you do. I don’t know how much work that takes or where the finish line is. I don’t know what a self-actualized person would or should do with themselves after defining themselves. I don’t know how much fun they’ll have. I don’t know how much hedonism they’ll embrace or avoid, and I don’t know if there are eternal consequences for either path. What I do know is that life is short. We only get so many minutes, days and years to do so many things. If you spend all that time having fun, then you won’t have much time left to tweeze your identity apart from the environment you were raised in or to refine your wants outside of how you were indoctrinated by society. And if you don’t do that then I don’t know how much of “you” is really “you.” I don’t know what you could accomplish in this world without being yourself, but I would strongly question the the immediate personal value of any choices you make regardless of how fun, socially acceptable, or productive they may be. Regardless of how much fun you had or how much of a difference you made in the world, I would strongly question whether or not you ever truly lived because there was never truly a “you” to live. There was no expression of yourself, there was merely an expression of an existing society.

So should you devote your life to hedonism? I can’t answer that question, but at this point, my personal recommendation is to use the time you have here to defining yourself. How you do that is up to you, it’s your life after all, and it’s nobody’s responsibility but your own.

 

"Alcohol is not the answer. It just makes you forget the question."

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
Self-Esteem
Health
Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Leadership and Authority
My Tweets About Self-Help

Is It Lazy To Not Want To Work?

There’s a common attitude in American culture that anyone who doesn’t want to work at least forty hours per week is lazy, spoiled, entitled and weak. Baby Boomers are famous for vilifying the younger generations for not apathetically accepting a lifetime of toil.

To be fair, when our elders warn us of the importance of work, they speak from experience. Those who lived through the Great Depression had to adapt to a brutal environment. The beliefs and life-skills that helped them survive became staples of their culture, which they passed down to their children. Now, when Baby Boomers see young adults ignoring survival-based customs, they interpret that as being irresponsible. On the surface, these feelings are reasonable, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re disastrously short-sighted.

During the Great Depression, America had enough resources to feed and house every citizen. The only reason everyone didn’t have at least the bare minimum to survive already distributed to them, was because the premise of the economy was to pay the lowest pages and charge the highest prices possible so that the nation’s wealth flows upward, leaving the poorest workers stuck in perpetual wage slavery, and President Hoover’s solutions to these problems only made this worse.

 

 

America’s economy has evolved in a lot of ways, but the premise is still the same. Every business in America is still paying and treating its workers as close to slaves as they can get. The wealth still flows up, and the average worker still lives under constant control and fear.

For most Americans, life is pushing a boulder uphill. The situation has been hard and hopeless for Americans for so many generations, we teach our children it’s immature to follow your passion, and real adults suck it up and pick the smallest boulder within reach and get pushing. Coping with poverty has been a part of American culture for so long, we’re so used to it that most of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. We even celebrate it.

 

 

The Millennial generation realizes the game is rigged against them. They know even if they do everything right, they’ll still spend the best years of their lives working their asses off at jobs that pay and treat them like second-class citizens. No matter how much they save, even if they get to live like a first class citizen for a brief time, eventually one of the ever-circling bill collectors is going to rip the last dollar they have out of their hand.

Morbidly, the thing most likely to bankrupt them and take away all hope in their life is the hospital they’ll eventually have to go visit to stay alive. Life for the Millennials is so fucked, hospitals are an existential riddle, and the government’s latest solution to the unaffordability of healthcare was to force everyone to buy unaffordable health insurance that doesn’t cover the cost of health care. So there’s every reason for Millennials to assume life is only going to get more unfair. Parents, politicians, and employers shouldn’t be surprised when Millennials aren’t enthusiastic about their career because working isn’t an opportunity. It’s government-sanctioned slavery.

Millennials are working. They have to, because they can’t survive if they don’t, but if nothing they do matters, then why should they do more than the bare minimum? Why go the extra mile for an employer who treats them like profits are worth more than their lives? If Millennials should reciprocate the respect their bosses show them, then they shouldn’t show their bosses any respect. It’s insulting and unethical to ask Millennials to be excited about the company they work for, because if they’re excited to be in an abusive relationship, then they either have battered person or Stockholm syndrome.

Human beings weren’t put on this Earth to work, especially not at strip malls and office buildings. Spending your life working your ass off in a Polo shirt isn’t “just the way life is.” That’s the way life shouldn’t be. This isn’t the world our ancestors scraped their way out of the mud tooth and nail to create. Philosophically, our economy defeats the purpose of existence. It forces people to devote their lives to surviving, and just because survival is the most immediately important need in life, that doesn’t mean it’s the only need in life. There’s a whole hierarchy of them, leading up to self-actualization at the top.

 

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Physiological, Safety, Love/belonging, Esteem, Self-Actualization

 

Our minds are compelled by our DNA to grow to our full potential. When we get stuck at a lower level, our brains act like a nicotine addict urging us to go seek out the thing it’s missing. If we ignore the craving, we get anxious and desperate. Capitalism keeps people stuck at the survival level almost their entire lives. It should be obvious that human aren’t lazy for not wanting to sit in a cubicle for 60 years worrying about bills. They’re monkeys trapped in a cage, raging to get out.

Since immigration laws are so strict, and every country has the same business model anyway, there’s no escaping jobs that pay too little and bills that cost too much. The most common way people cope with living in a Skinner Box is by accepting the apocalyptic nature of their existence and trying to find whatever happiness and motivation they can between shocks.

If you devote your life to surviving, you neglect the rest of your psychological needs. If you don’t fulfill the rest of your potential, then there was no point being here in the first place. Since we’re all going to die eventually anyway, the cost/benefit analysis of risking a slightly earlier death in order to fulfill higher needs in the immediate present adds up.

In America, it’s financially irresponsible to work less than forty hours per week, but it’s cosmically irresponsible to be financially responsible. Granted, if you don’t work so you can sit around all day smoking weed and playing video games, then yes, you’re lazy and irresponsible. But if you work part-time so you can live your dream, you’re efficient and wise.

If we didn’t live in a financially oppressive economy, we wouldn’t need to philosophize about how responsible it is to work 40 hours per week. If we were living in the kind of world our ancestors hoped humanity would build, everyone’s basic needs would be guaranteed. Everyone still needs to pull their weight, but the world could function if we all worked 10-20 hours per week. Whatever conveniences that cost us would be outweighed by the benefit of getting our lives back.

The debate the world should be having isn’t, is it lazy to not want to work? We should be debating why we still put up with a system that works us so long it deprives us of the meaning of life. And instead of bickering about the pros/cons of capitalism, socialism and communism, we need to look at the ground and ask ourselves what we really need, and what we’re willing to give for it.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
Self-Esteem
Health
Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Leadership and Authority
My Tweets About Self-Help

Demotivational Inspiration For Work

Picture of a beautiful galaxy in space. Below it are the words, "PERSPECTIVE: The realization that nothing you do actually matters"

 

Everybody has a dream, that big thing you want to accomplish in your short life. Unfortunately, the bigger your dream is the more work it’ll take to achieve it. Thus, the farther away it’ll be and the harder it’ll be to achieve. To make matters even worse, since the size of your dream is relative to your ambition, the bigger your dream is the stronger you’ll burn with desire to accomplish it. Thus the more miserable you’ll be in the present because you’ll be weighed down by all the work you have ahead of you, and you’ll be weighed down by the shame of not having fulfilled your potential yet.

If your unfulfilled ambitions weigh heavy on your soul, take solace in the fact that it doesn’t matter if you accomplish your dreams anyway.

Think about it. Let’s suppose you write the next great American novel, get promoted to CEO, become a rock star, buy that house by the ocean with the rickety dock leading out over crystal blue waters, have sex with a supermodel… whatever.

You know what happens after that? You die. Your fans die. Your lovers die. Your house collapses and gets paved over to make way for someone else’s dream house that’s going to collapse after they die.

In the long run, on the cosmic scale of things, it doesn’t really matter if you accomplish any of your dreams because they’re all just castles made of the sands of time that are going to get blown away, kicked over by the next snot-nosed kid who comes along or dissolved by the indifferent cosmic sea when the celestial tide comes in again.

So what does that mean? That dreams are futile and we shouldn’t have them? No. You need to have dreams because your tomorrow will only be as vibrant as your dreams tonight. If you don’t have a dream then where’s your life going to go? Nowhere. And that would be a waste of a life. But you do need to keep those dreams in perspective.

When you start to stress out over your dream, ask yourself this question. So what if you achieve your dreams? So what if you get a gold-rimmed hot tub and a trophy spouse; is that really going to fundamentally change the experience of existing for you? No.

You’re still going to be you. Your reality is still going to be defined by how you perceive what you experience in the immediate present. All you’re going to do after you fulfill your dreams is continue being you and experiencing the moment.

Life is made up of “todays,” not “tomorrows.” Stressing out about a tomorrow that hasn’t happened ruins your “todays” that are actually happening. So even if you finally do achieve your dreams and tomorrow is everything you ever hoped for, your “yesterdays” will be miserable if you’re always stressing out today.

You don’t need to own a Bentley to enjoy yourself and savor the moment. You can do that right now sitting on the mini lawn chair in your empty one bedroom apartment while typing on a laptop that’s sitting on the upturned luggage you’re using as a table because you don’t own a real one…or whatever the case may be.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
Self-Esteem
Health
Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Leadership and Authority
My Tweets About Self-Help

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