Friday, October 07, 2016
My stupid, miserable life
A few weeks ago I attended a lecture where the lecturer pointed out an interesting characteristic that appears to be in common with many people. It seems that in times of crises we easily start looking for quick fixes or answers to our problems from external sources, not necessarily from within.
When a person's own life is boring, unfulfilling or has caused disappointment, people often react in ways that on the outside seem different but actually might have similar reasons. Some people quit their jobs and move across the globe to find themselves, others get divorced and try to find solace or a fresh start with somebody new. Some turn to religion, and some even join extremist movements. Different reactions, but is it really so that all of these choices stem from the same source; the feeling that my life as I know it now is so stupid, miserable and insignificant that something just has to be done?
For earlier generations misery was okay; the present life wasn't supposed to be happy or fulfilling, happiness was reserved for the afterlife. It was easier for people to accept hardships because it was thought that they were given to you to be endured; also the difficult times and misfortunes had a meaning.
Maybe one of the most difficult things for us modern people is to withstand ordinary life. Many people don't believe in heaven or life after death anymore, and that is why you'd have to make the most of this life. Maybe this is why we are afraid of losing time or opportunities, the "so much to experience, so little time" -attitude seems to be pounding in our heads. It is difficult to be content with what you have if there actually could be something better around the corner...? Is the worst thing that could happen to a modern person that he or she would have to settle for something less than brilliant? There is always the problem of not knowing; how will I know if this is as good as it gets..?
I suppose the wise realize that sometimes the difficult times in our lives don't have to do with any external factors but rather the inner discontent that we (all?) feel at times. I guess the real question is to be able to separate inner temporary turmoil from real, actual problems that have to be resolved.
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I think it comes down to being able to relax. Most issues are temporarily arising and will fade just as easily if seen as ephemeral. Buuuuut, it has been the hardest thing for me to learn. Society tells us everything should be "brilliant" and if it isn't, they have a product to sell us as a remedy. It seems like I'm trying to undo a lifetime of useless learning. But, I try.
You're quite right. And in a large scale, the ability to distinguish the useful from the useless would be a very beneficial skill for us all. It goes from things to services and from hobbies to relationships. To be able to tell what I need and what is really good for me, I suppose that's the hard thing.
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