I was getting into the elevator today, running back and forth between managing a long-term vendor project and keeping things under control with my other “regular work”, when I was struck by a thought:
I have so many things I want to read about. So many things I want to learn about. And then I want to talk about them with friends. I want to write about things. I want to share. To communicate. I want to grow as a person.
But I don’t have time.
I’m literally wasting my life working 10 hours a day in a job where I can’t think. This isn’t to say that my job isn’t mentally demanding — it very much is. But it doesn’t involve thinking about the things that really matter.
It Gets Worse
So then I started questioning what I should really be doing, and it’s not much better from an ultimate worth standpoint. Take my most ideal path, for example — relaxing and experiencing and learning. For what? What’s the goal.
Let’s say I get all my debt payed off, pay off my car and have a basic job where I’m allowed to think and write at work, etc…and that I have tons of time afterwards to do the same. Let’s say I read all the classics a few times. I read all the philosophy I want. I study all the math I want. I get really good at Jujitsu. I cook all my own meals. Etc.
What have I really gained?
A sense of control, really. Self-mastery.
Well, isn’t that just another game? Isn’t that just another head trip that squirts endorphins through my body and makes me feel good? I mean, theoretically I would be learning all this stuff so I could help others, but that’s just not realistic — especially not without starting some sort of movement that gets people involved. But I have names for those people.
I suppose I could write books in order to reach people (and that’s actually the plan), but realistically who would read such books and benefit from them? People who are pretty far along already, really.
I just feel like even the most noble goals we have are driven by base human desires, which are essentially biological, like the desire to procreate and defecate. Some of these are “higher” than others, sure, but they’re fundamentally the same.
People do good things for others because it makes them feel good, right? Selfish, right?
So, think about what drives you. Children? You do that because you’re supposed to do it. And your body is telling you that you should. There are plenty of kids that need help and have no good homes. You should always question something that the world as a whole thinks you’re “supposed” to do, and procreating is definitely one of those things in a world as overpopulated as ours.
Material things? Pure biology. I drive a BMW, wear a Submariner, carry a William Henry folder, have a Tumi work bag, wallet, and luggage, etc. I even like to write that down. But what does that give me? I know precisely what it is. It’s a sign to myself that I’m in control. It’s external verification to myself that I’ve achieved some level of control over myself and my environment.
It’s quite sad, really. First of all, and this is trite but true — control is an illusion. I’m not in control of shit. I could be killed at a red light on the way to work tomorrow, or I could die in a flu pandemic that starts in August while I’m at BlackHat. Where’s my control then?
Basically, my whole game is to get better. Self-mastery. Learn more. Collect more knowledge. That’s why I have so many books. It’s like I’m capturing the book’s soul by owning it. “You belong to me now. I know all your secrets.” Ok, great. Now read that. Now what?
Write about it. Do something with it. Ok, now what?
Maybe Chemicals Are Happiness
I keep coming down to the squirting of happiness into our brains. Sex. Squirt. Winning at sports. Squirt. Buying a house. Squirt. Building a house. Squirt. Having a kid. Squirt. Seeing your kid graduate from Harvard. Squirt.
We make these things into greatness, but they’re just squirts.
Being proud of a BMW and being proud of a flower garden. What’s the difference? If you waste 50 hours a week so you can have nice material possessions vs. making other sacrifices so that you can garden and cook, what’s the difference? It’s still about putting effort into something and ending up with something you’re proud of. Something fleeting. Something ultimately pretty weak.
And what of beauty? It’s a great garden, and you put a lot of effort into it. Or the great poem you wrote. It moves people, perhaps. But why? To what end? Why is that a worthy goal vs. having sex with lots of bimbos?
I guess what I’m asking is whether or not those who seem unaware might actually be on the right path. The pleasure in the brain is what it comes down to. Sex. Food. Appreciating beauty. Seeking the surge of chemicals in the body that indicate happiness. These are the basics. They are the core of what makes humans happy. And the higher forms are simply abstractions.
How different is it, really, to have a really nice garden that you show your friends vs., say, cumming on a hot girl you just met? I’d argue it’s pretty much the same. Squirt goes the happiness into our feeble little brains. “Look at the petunias.” “I cam all over her tits.” Show me the difference.
So, becoming powerful means you get to squirt more happiness into your brain at will than other people. You “control” the environment enough to be able to satisfy the base desires of the brain of a slightly more evolved primate. Yay.
Well, until you get old and die, which you can’t prevent.
Oh, you can live forever? Awesome.
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Uh oh, the sun’s burning out.
Oh, you made it to another solar system? You got a fix for that pesky entropy problem? You know, the one where all atoms stop moving?
The next time someone asks me what I do I’m going to tell them that I vibrate in patterns dictated by the big bang, and that our current stage of entropy I’m basically seeking control over my environment and ways to feel important. And that I’ve met with some success.
So, in other words, what if indulging is the answer?
Fighting in MMA. Mad wicked sex. And drugs to enhance and modify the experiences thereof. And then we work in order to allow ourselves to do these things.
It’d be a whole lot more honest, I think.
Reading, writing…learning…it’s so abstract. It’s like watching someone else live.
If we’re just animals in a forest trying to make a den and protect our territory, why not embrace that? Why not be that?
I know the answer, of course. Just bear with me. (bear like Yogi, you understand)
I’ve developed a really strange habit recently. Whenever I experience some kind of thrill or happiness, I look for the cause. The REAL cause. Squirt. Squirt squirt. Squirt squirt squirt. It takes away from the experience, let me tell you.
And that’s my point.
Not that this is new, but perhaps the happiest are those who are not looking for real answers. Not just ignorance, but willful ignorance. Realizing that the higher pursuits are merely diluted versions of the lower ones, and that those are where the fun is.
Ultimately, if I were to explain my life to a highly advanced alien, what would I say?
I sleep for eight hours so I can work for ten. And in between I’m trying to create territory, find a mate, and do things that blast chemicals through my silly little brain.
If I were that alien I’d shoot me out of sympathy.