Category Archives: Society

Excellence and Habits – what Aristotle taught us

Do you want to achieve excellence in a field? If so, this short article is for you. The topic of achieving excellence is not an esoteric one, it is all about habits that you need to incorporate in your life. We will let you know some important guidelines right here right now from the best teacher, Artistotle. This will allow you to truly understand what excellence is all about.

Excellent is a Habit

According to Aristotle (read his complete works here: link) we become what we do on a regular basis. This is something that we need to take into consideration if we want to achieve excellence in anything we do these days. If you experience a higher sense of motivation and drive in your work and life, you will reap the rewards down the line. Making a high level of productivity a habit and you will truly have the upper hand.

Falling short of your potential is not something that you should encourage in your life, and that is something that you need to keep in mind as much as you can too.

New Habits

It is somewhat difficult for some people to develop new habits. You need to get out of your comfort zone as soon as you can so you can move to the next level in your life. Doing this will allow you to truly get a lot of rewards down the line. Make excellence a habit. Incorporate it into your daily habits, and you will see wonderful things happening in your life right away too.

Try to do the best job that you can do every single day of the day, and you will experience amazing things in your career.

Doing the Action

You have to work hard to incorporate excellence into your daily routines. Action is what will create what you want. If you want to become a generous person, practice that. If you want to save money so you can invest in your future, do that as soon as possible. Do not even think that you are going to become an excellent musician if you do not practice on a regular basis. You might sing very well today but tomorrow that might not be the case. You have to understand this if you are to become a successful musician, for instance.

Excellence is Life

Moral virtue is the first step to living a life of excellence. Your ethics and morals must be excellent so you can build your life over the best possible foundation. Do not believe anyone who says that morals are not something important in your life. Happiness is an important part of your life, and that is something that you need to achieve. Do not forget to mix experience and theory with your habits. If you want to become the best golf player, you have to study the best books about it and practice like crazy.

We have talked about what excellence entails so you can truly know a thing or two about it. Aristotle said that you have to incorporate this habit into your daily life so you can see what you can do. This habit can truly become something great for you. We cannot stress enough the fact that excellence is a habit. There is something that you need to bear in mind when it comes to excellence. The first thing is that you need to develop this habit yourself. You should do it yourself because no one else will do it for you. Action is an important part of developing the habit of excellence in your life. Do this and you can change your life for the better down the line. Make excellence an important part of your life and you will see something beautiful each day.

The Third Morality

The Third Morality is a work by Gerald Heard, first published in 1937, now in the Public Domain.  Heard was a modern philosopher and author of more than 20 books. He was a close friend of Aldous Huxley and a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Heard, among other spectacular activities, formed an informal research group to look into developing group-mindedness or group communications. The members of this group later became some early developers of the computer industry in California. One of Gerald Heard main interests was morality and The Third Morality is his take on modern morality. From the book:

This book is called the third Morality because in man’s history he has had three main moralities, three general ideas of conduct based on the three world-pictures he has so far made. The first world-picture, and its resultant morality, was Anthropomorphism, the belief that the universe was the expression of individual persons, and then of one such supreme person. The second world-picture was Mechanomorphism, the belief that the universe could be explained as a huge machine. Men have tried to act on that-for as you believe things to be, so you must try to behave but it has never worked. You cannot make a true morality from the belief that the universe is nothing but a machine.

Nevertheless, until this generation, Mechanomorphism has been the accepted world-picture, even among the religious, and the majority of men today are trying still to act in accordance with that picture, because they are sure that it is true. This attempt so to act-however inconsistent and however unethical must then be classified as the Second Morality. It is a Morality which has never really succeeded in functioning, but it must be recognized as a phase. The Third Morality is the gradually defining impress which is to-day beginning to be made by the third world-picture, that world-picture which is now taking the place of Mechanomorphism. The following essay attempts to trace in outline the conduct indicated to us by this third world-picture, that conduct which must finally take form as the Third Morality.

Download the free PDF e-book here:

 The Third Morality

Listen to Gerald Heard here:

Explorations with Gerald Heard

 

Free book: The New Morality

The New Morality is written by Durant Drake and published back in 1929. For long I have thought about posting Public Domain books here on the ethic and moral topics. I have collected a small library of books of high quality, and here is the first one on the series.

Durant Drake was concerned about the problem of happiness and morality. He understood “the new morality” as the consciously aim to secure the maximum of attainable happiness for mankind, much as other philosophers defines utilitarianism. In this book he outlines “the new morality” has been a concept in the entire history of ideas, but only espoused by a few since the great thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Morever, Drake draws lines to our genetics and the animal kingdom to find the roots for our moral behavior. From the book:

Why should we be moral? What is the good of morality? No questions that could be asked touch us more closely. And while few have been given more confused and confliaing replies, few are really capable of simpler and more certain answer. The first point to note is the discovery by genetic psychology that human morality has its roots far back in the lives of our pre-human ancestors. It is the product, as are our instincts and bodily organs, of millions of years of natural selection. And since this stern process results, in general, in the survival of the fittest structures, and types of behaviour, we may be pretty sure, a priori, that morality, like our various bodily organs, has survived, persisted, developed because of its usefulness.

Download the free PDF e-book here (375 pages/15.2MB):

 The New Morality

 

Morality in Buddhism

The Buddhist believe in Karma as a guiding principle. Morality in Buddhism is derived from the Karma-law that describes that your every action has an invisible karmic attachment that will affect you in the future.

Morality in Buddhism: According to the Buddhist moral worldview, your actions will stick to you like glue, and it will do so for all your incarnations. This is the reason some are born in unfortunate situations. Dalai Lama was once asked why he meditated.

He replied with a laughter: ” To avoid being reborn as a pig.”

For the Buddhist morality is the way to handle karma in daily life. Different sects have their different guidelines, but in general morality in Buddhism is connected to the idea that all life is connected, and that the faith of life is same no matter if you are a butterfly, a tree or a monk.
This faith is connected to the concept of non-duality (advaita) which states that the feeling we all have that we are separate, individual beings is at a more divine level just an illusion. We actually all are the same, we are one.

Once this concept is accepted it is easy to understand the behaviour of devoted Buddhist’s. They are acting nice to you, not to please a God or because they fear the laws, but because they see themselves as being inseparable from what you are in your essence. Hurting someone, stealing, lying etc. is essentially harming yourself.

The Noble Eightfold Path

However, having experienced this full insight in your own life is not for everybody. It takes practice, devotion, and meditation. For the layman Buddhist, there is a set of eight rules to follow. The rules are called the Noble Eightfold Path:

  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Conduct
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Samadhi or meditation

Practicing this will lead to the end of all suffering and the end the cycle of rebirths, which is equal to attaining Nirvana. The virtues 3, 4 and 5 are sometimes called the Moral Virtues since they describe how to behave in everyday life.

The Noble Eightfold Path is the basis of a number of other concepts typically associated with Buddhism. For instance, non-violence (ahimsa) and vegetarianism.

“Excellence and quality is not an act it is a habit!”

“Excellence and quality is not an act it is a habit” – To achieve excellence it is important to nurture your habits.

Do you want to make a change or maybe excellence in a certain fiels? – Then You need to start with habits that you need to incorporate into your life.

Throughout the ages of mankind, there have been many deep thinkers. Some have been known more than others and have become household names. Socrates was one of the Giants in this category. He left behind many ideas and teachings that are still at work today, helping shape our Western society as well.

“Excellence and quality is not an act it is a habit!”

Socrates 

The philosopher under fire

It’s always easy to go back and look at the thoughts and ideas of past generations with disagreement. For many reasons but mainly because as time changes so do we, so do our ideas. This can become a paradox of sorts as we now see with this famous quote he left us. Even though it is now widely thought of as untrue it still remains a part of large religions, philosophies, and teachings.

Strange right?

With the broad philosophical strokes painted by our genius’s of thought, it can be easy to misunderstand their original meaning.

Meaning is what it really comes down to if validity is questioned. The controversial quote has definitely reached this point, so now we ask: What did he mean?

What is a life worth living?

What does anyone of us really know? Honestly? Do we know that the sun will rise tomorrow? Or that the oceans will stay put?

The word “know” is difficult to wrestle with sometimes and tends to be thrown around…

A LOT!

The past is easier to deal with though, for instance: I know that I woke up yesterday. So to find out the context of Socrates’s “unexamined life” quote we need to know him and his ideals as closely as possible.

Unfortunately, he left zero written teachings behind, so we turn to his students: Plato and Aristotle.

After looking at what they left behind we quickly see that these two students adopted very similar thoughts on life. They both believed in virtue, truth, knowledge and ethical behavior. They also placed immense importance on one of their teachers’ most famous answers: “know thyself!”

Know thyself

Is this so different from the quote that clearly tells us to examine our lives? No.

Then why is one accepted and the other under fire? It is very simple and comes down to the last part of his quote.

When he says “life is not worth living”. People thought this was an arrogant statement given that we are so diverse.

I have always wondered at the quote “knowledge is power”. Why not “the application of knowledge is power”.

Knowledge is useless unless you use it, so what is knowledge without application? Well, I think Socrates would disagree with me for a very important reason.

Knowledge is a powerful thing in itself only because as conscious beings knowledge becomes part of who we are. It becomes ingrained in us on a level hard to comprehend.

When I say knowledge I mean true knowledge, not the fact that we read a book and believe some of what it says.

True knowledge is special, and I think Socrates wanted us to understand that.

When we gain knowledge it becomes a new part of us, we become something more. If this is the case, what would you want to understand most of all?

Ourselves? That seems to be a good place to start.

A point of reference

Imagine this: You are born just as you were before but on a different Earth. The two Piles of the earth are the exact same except for one thing.

The new one has no light at all. No sun, fire, light bulbs, or any way to see anything. If this happened to ask yourself, what would you call the darkness?

Nothing, everything, it would just be. Simply because there is no point of reference to distinguish its existence.

There is no opposite and there is nowhere to start.

Final words on excellence in life

Unless we examine who we are, examine our lives, we lose our point of reference.

We will go through life blind, deaf, and hardly with any real understanding of this controlled chaos we call life.

I think that our late Greek Philosopher wanted us to enjoy our lives. And maybe, just maybe, when we get to the point in which we know ourselves something amazing will be born. Maybe we will agree with Socrates.

Maybe we will wish we had all done it sooner.

Moral virtue is the first step to living a life of true excellence. Your ethics and morals must be excellent so you can build your life over the best possible foundation. Do not believe anyone who says that morals are not something important in your life.

Happiness is an important part of your life, and that is something that you need to achieve. Do not forget to mix experience and theory with your habits.

If you want to become the best golf player, you have to study the best books about it and practice like crazy.

We have talked about what excellence entails so you can truly know a thing or two about it. Aristotle said that you have to incorporate this habit into your daily life so you can see what you can do. This habit can truly become something great for you.

We cannot stress enough the fact that excellence is a habit and you should do it yourself because no one else will do it for you.

Can a Society Exist Without Culture?

We see culture every day and everywhere. Culture is part of our life and part of our being. It entangles us on an individual basis and on a group basis. But can a society exist without culture?

Understanding Culture

Culture is ideally a set of norms, values, and ideas that defines or exemplifies a society.

But then again, how does a particular society acquire these attributes? How are they formed?

The reply lies within the prevailing dynamics in a particular society. To be precise, in the mutual characteristics common in all societies.

To begin with, every other society that exists has some sort of relation. In other societies, these relations are small while others are huge and multi-generational.

Other societies exhibit patriarchy, for instance, in some society the male lineage is most significant while others practice matriarchy where the female lineage is highly significant.

In essence, there exists “haves” and the “have-nots” in each society, with others exhibiting vast discrepancies between the splendidly rich and the dirt-poor, and while others have differences not closely as great.

Can a Society Exist Without Culture?

To give a proper response to this, one will need to craft an open definition of the term culture.

While at this, culture in social sciences implies everything about the human society that transcends down not in biological aspects.

Moreover, culture runs down from art to food to the government to the hunting techniques. Ostensibly, the only exceptional things that are not culture-related are biological things such as the fact that humans die and also that women give birth to new humans.

From a deeper perspective, if we view culture in a more precise way, then we can understand why culture is essential for societal progress.

Without the aspect of culture, there would be no society

Again, devoid of culture, people would turn out to be animals, moving along and doing things based on the human instinct, which transcends down biologically.

In simple terms, the only culture can have an absolute capacity of creating a society with different traditions, customs, and values.

Reflecting on Society and Culture

Each society has an aspect of religion. In other cases, this implies severe laws enforced by influential clerics while in other cases it implies a free spirituality sense with which religious leaders only serving as helpful leaders.

Culture being an age-old concept tracing back to Ancient Greece and Rome, one can, for instance, learn that a person’s reputation is tethered to society or city of origin, which in most cases was applied directly as a last name, for instance, the Athenian Lawmaker.

Going deeper, Socrates, for instance, had an accusation from a jury of undesirably persuading the youth of Athens. He opted for his penalty over exile since the latter would have uncovered him of his entire Athenian citizenship, an aspect considered to be an integral part of his respective culture and identity.

He sought posterity to understand and remind him as an Athenian or Greek philosopher, but not an individual who resulted in assimilation by a different culture while in exile.

Contemporary, we tend to emphasize the individual place of origin, society, and culture to which one belongs as a matter of priority to identify and help understand them.

In other words, culture is primarily what holds a given society together and acts as a sort of reference point in any given society. Here, without culture then a “society” cannot stand to be a society yet.

Relationship between Culture and Society 

Society and culture are very much co-existent.

Surprisingly, one cannot exist without the presence of the other. Culture and society comprise some mutual fundamentals even though the two may not be similar or identical, the crucial variance is that society comprises people while culture entails knowledge, customs, ideas, traditions, beliefs, folkways, skills, institutions, artifacts and organizations.

Interestingly, society is a combination of people with diverse cultures. Conversely, culture deals with the language, food, behaviors, and activities of specific people within an environmental aspect.

Society is mainly a group of individuals existing collectively while culture is essentially anything subsequently made of the aforementioned people. Notably, culture is seen as an institution that attracts cohesion and endurance.

It may have a pool of diverse meanings and relationships but it forms population traits and behavior, beliefs and values.

On the deep side, the relationship among the two is consequently very much extant with culture affecting ways in which the people respond to thoughts and changes while the society being more or less the “external structure”.

No culture! No society!

Retrospectively, through culture, one can express personal uniqueness in all human life aspects, like beliefs, food, schooling as well as sports among many.

On the flip side, any human being in existence in a given society, then this society comprises its culture and values, thus for each human being is a cultural being.

Culture – A Culprit that Divides the Society 

Whereas serving to unite people, culture also serves, adversely as a division tool on the same lines. In harmony, a universal union surpasses thousands of limited cultures as they attract redundancy.

We may no longer have the desire to extricate our human selves in a superior means through customs, religions and or languages, while our traditions and customs celebrate our human differences.

Final Words on Society and Culture Co-Existence

To sum up, it’s always a fact! Any given or existent society cannot function without the aspect of culture. The aspect of anarchy is perhaps the closest we as a race could get devoid of culture, and since there is no assembly of people that has upheld simply anarchy for a protracted expanse of time, anarchy is therefore impossible.

In other words, America has a culture. Southern America does too. Other nations have culture too. Subsequently, every humans’ collections have a need or desire to endure some kind of order, which again necessitates culture.

Ultimately, culture is not a fix and rigid tool but rather it is a way of operating in a specific condition so that if an individual faces isolation from his or her main culture, then one would certainly subsist with his or her own culture.

This subsistent culture would again sound simple and noticeable that the same very different would coexist in his current culturally complex counterparts and since most humans create a culture and this culture, as a result, shapes the same human, this can be thought a comparison of mass of matter. Any time a matter gets formed it becomes an intrinsic property of mass.

Likewise, when a collection of humans gathers instinctively, a deliberate conscious culture is created. This collection of people does not invent a sort of culture but rather struggle and co-operate with the external physical world as a result of common behavior of dealing with the surroundings that seep into them.

Thus, it makes great sense that society cannot exist without culture since it’s like thinking matter without the aspect of the mass.

 

Why beauty is associated with morality?

Throughout the history of Western Culture, philosophers have always associated the good, the beautiful, and the true. These elements are known as transcendentals of philosophy. Furthermore, these transcendentals lead to associating beauty and morality.

This association has roots dating back to Ancient Greek philosophers such as Parmenides, Socrates (as recorded by Plato), and Aristotle. Running through Medieval philosophy, as seen in the influence of St. Thomas Aquinas, reflected in the aesthetic musings of Kant, and even influencing later philosophers.

In fact, four branches of Western philosophy have developed to explore these fields.

Ethics explores issues of the good, the moral, and the just.

Aesthetics examines the meaning of the beautiful.

Epistemology and logic dissect various aspects of the truth.

Together, each of these branches contributes to our over-all metaphysical understanding: what it means to be a being in the world.

Parmenides – the father of metaphysics

The pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides is considered the “Father of Metaphysics” for being the first Western philosopher to explore that which constitutes and coincides with being itself. His considerations laid the groundwork for the development of Western philosophy.

Socrates, and his disciple, Plato, held with the prevailing wisdom that happiness, beauty, was the telos of morality, the end to which all virtue was directed.

To live a virtuous life, a moral life, was to attain the highest state of well-being.

In his Symposium, Plato defines beauty in terms of the order. It is an objective principle external to both the object and the perceiver. Simply put, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder.

Similarly, morality itself, virtue-based ethics, is objective. It is based on objective notions of what is good and what is just. In Plato’s Republic, Socrates demonstrates that it is always in one’s best interest to be just. Therefore, by extension, also striving to live the life of beauty.

Aristotle, while breaking with Platonic thoughts on many fronts, maintained the connection between beauty and morality.

The golden ratio is one of the expressions where math meets beauty and philosophy.

His famous “golden mean” or “golden ratio” is applied to understandings of both beauty and morality. Both his Eudemian and Nichomachean Ethics speak of virtues as being lived in balance. An excess or deficiency of an otherwise virtuous behavior becomes a vice. An excess of courage, for example, is foolhardiness, whereas a deficiency of courage is cowardice.

Similarly, beauty is considered a physical manifestation of this golden mean. A beautiful object is an object in which all of its proportions are mathematically symmetrical. Thus, beauty and morality are measured by the same standard, albeit in different ways.

Influence of Plato and Aristotle to the concept of morality and beauty

The influences of both Plato and Aristotle continued to be felt throughout the Middle Ages. Beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire, and continuing through to the dawn of the Renaissance.

Throughout this period, the Roman Catholic Church dominated philosophical thought.

One of the most notable philosophers of this period was St. Thomas Aquinas. In his Magnus opus, the Summa Theologica, Aquinas describes beauty as “that which gives pleasure when seen.” Therefore, according to his thinking, beauty serves as a function of cognition, as it takes discernment to recognize what does or does not give pleasure.

The function of moral discernment is similar to the function of aesthetic discernment, in this view. Aquinas builds his definitions on Aristotelian grounds, although he puts a distinctly Christian spin on his exploration of morality vis-a-vis sin.

Kant solidified the connection between beauty and judgment

During the Age of Enlightenment, German philosopher Immanuel Kant further solidified the connection between beauty and moral judgment in his 1790 Critique of Judgement. Aesthetics is again linked with teleology.

Beauty is considered in terms of absolute standards, although it is separated from cognitive judgments that seek to ascribe moral valence to even a beautiful object. Similarly, in his 1785 Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant had previously established morality as being determined in absolute terms. It is clear to those who study Kant’s works that his absolutist methodology links both beauty and morality in a de facto association.

Modern-day phenomenologists, notably the “Father of Hermenuetics” Hans-Georg Gadamer, have continued to draw associations between beauty and morality in their works. The association of all that is moral, beautiful, and true, continues to be held as a standard for what it means to live a “good life.”

So, as a conclusion, we can see that morality and beauty have been going hand-in-hand since ancient Greek times. As a result, association so deeply entrenched in our philosophy that it continues to be revisited at every period of our philosophical development.

Does life have a meaning and how to approach life meaning?

I can say with a certain confidence that question –  “Does life have a meaning?” – is the most popular question that arises in a certain group of friends after they have had too much to drink.

Especially if this group consists of your average ‘Joe’, ‘Steve’ and ‘Bob’.

By no means do I imply that average is in any way demeaning towards this group. One can only be demeaning if one says certain things that are not true.

P.S. Stick to the last paragraph…

[toc]

Average Joe in Rollercoaster

Life is similar to roller-coaster – up and down and upside down!

Why has this question gained such immense popularity? Simply because media has made it into something big.

“You must seek the meaning of life!”

“Money is not the meaning of life, love is!”

“You will be happy when you find the meaning of your life!

These are only a few examples. While some of the stuff posted above and elsewhere in the World Wide Web may have some truth to it, the way how it is explained is utterly wrong.

All these generic stories are regurgitated by gurus all across the globe in all colors, varieties, and languages.

As a consequence, our beloved average Joe, Steve, and Bob start to seek their meaning of life without actually understanding what-the-actual-duck they are looking for.

Furthermore, they have no idea what will they do when (and if, obviously) they find this unique meaning to their lives except that it will allegedly make their life fulfilled and therefore happy.

Let’s look at this from a different perspective, using casual and simple terms. I look at people who try to answer the question of whether life has a meaning with pity.

Did that sound arrogant? Good!

Stick around and continue reading.

Have you ever been to a rollercoaster?

It’s fun, scary, amazing, disturbing and so many other things. The thing is when you sat in it, did you try to answer what is the purpose of it?

Let’s suppose you did although I am pretty sure you were too fucking excited or scared to think about anything else.

The rollercoaster takes you from place A to place B, preferably, in an entertaining way.

What else can take you from A→B?

Car…Bike…Legs… Heck, even hands if you are strong enough!

The main point is the “meaning” of the rollercoaster is not unique to the rollercoaster itself. There is nothing special about it. It just exists.

It takes people from A→B and that is it. Just like your life. It takes you from birth to old age.

You are going down that hill and you are feeling the breeze of the wind against your cheeks and you don’t give a damn about what is the purpose of the rollercoaster while it gets the job done. You were enjoying the ride!

What would happen if that wouldn’t be the case?

Take a wild guess. You might as well start reflecting about its purpose, what it’s meant to do, what it could do, while totally missing the whole point.

By thinking about all that you are not being delivered A→B in an entertaining way which was the one and only meaning in the first place!

Throw Out the Fast-Food

Throw out fast food! – Will You do it?

If you are just way too average, then you still are not getting my point.

It’s totally fine, I mean, the truth is 100% Raw, 100% Organic, and 100% stripped out of the last bits of Romanticism still left in the world.

It is not beautiful. It is not pleasant. But then again, hey, nobody promised you that.

Except, of course, all two-faced eels who bake inspirational quotes for breakfast only to later throw them on your Instagram plate and laugh while you gobble that shit down your throat.

Have you ever seen anyone grabbing onto carrot as their life depended on it? What about a chocolate bar or a burger?

Yeah, precisely.

Knowing the truth is more desirable for your emotional and mental health but since ignorance is bliss, you are better off getting morbidly obese on all the pseudo-facts delivered to you for free by pseudo-gurus.

Day-to-day.

Year-to-year.

Does life have a meaning?

After all this brainwashing, you feel unhappy only because someone told you that love is the way or helping others is the way, or getting children to take care of is the real meaning of life.

Love is great. Helping others is awesome. Children are amazing. There is one very relevant message I had the urge to tell you since the beginning of this post.

I just thought I should prepare you for it. Sit down, take a deep breath. LIFE DOES NOT HAVE A MEANING.

“Now That Just Can’t Be True. You Are A Cynical Bastard. How Dare You.” – you may say…

Anyone with some basic knowledge in biology will at least partially agree with me right off the bat. For those of you who don’t – Please, don’t limit yourselves to such generic accusations and, moreover, don’t let it grind you up from the inside.

Below there’s a comment section meant for meaningful discussions, be sure to thank me or hate me there.

The thing is, there is not a lot that separates humans from fish or from the tree growing outside your house that also happens to be your dog’s best friend every time he needs to take a leak. All living things have five things in common:

  1. Organization – all living things are made up of cells, their count may vary but they have a strict structure within the cell and cells themselves are organized in a neat manner.
  2. Metabolism – a mix of different biochemical reactions that allow the organism to sustain itself.
  3. Homeostasis – the ability of organisms (even if comprised of a single cell) to maintain optimal conditions for metabolism to happen.
  4. Growth – one cell becomes larger and many cells divide and accumulate to make the whole organism take a particular shape.
  5. Reproduction – Living organisms can reproduce themselves and create new living organisms.

Five things that must be found in an organism to claim it is alive. As you probably noticed, I didn’t add anything else.

Like, Meaning of life? How would you even define it? Do all living things seek to find the meaning of life? I hope you do find that as ridiculous as I do.

If we were to define a meaning to life then it is quite simple. Be Alive. Every single cell in your body wants to live as long as possible and that’s that.

Another problem with Life’s meaning, besides the fact that everyone’s trying to sell it to you is that you actually feel you are entitled to one just because you are a human being.

How arrogant and miserable is that?

Herein lies the cause of the pity I feel for everyone who is seeking for it. We are being taught that we are something special.

Nature’s wonder.

Born from a golden egg. The rough truth (Again!) is that our DNA (basically what defines the difference between species) differs by approximately 2% from that of chimpanzees.

Who’s laughing now about monkeys? You are no more than a next-gen chimpanzee. That tiny difference has been of great impact on our world around us, for sure, however, the fact remains the same. Feel special?

Religion as a meaning of life

I will start pressing the red buttons because the next point is religion. Religions come and go. If you are born in country A you are more likely to be brought up with religious views that are most popular there and it is the only determining factor.

Different religions have been trying to give you the same pseudo-meaning. A miserable one and yet, nevertheless, meaning. Basically, they say – be a slave.

Yep, you heard me, be a slave and everything else will be taken care of.

Be a slave to someone that is all super-powerful and although your life will be shit, at least you are going to get a sweet afterlife.

Just when you thought slavery was so 19th century-and-late, right?

Listen, I get it.

You are into banging your head against the floor, starving yourself when some dude tells you to and doing some basic thing that’s written in a fiction book.

It has no meaning in itself BUT somehow through decades and millenniums, we all have been trained to feel like this is the right way to live our lives because it’s easier to control a herd of sheep rather than a crowd of sheepdogs.

What I am getting at is that sure, we do have a cool thing called consciousness and abstract thinking and we can make neat stuff with it, explore the universe and what-not. The only problem for me is our total fucking inability to use it properly.

Our self-taught arrogance and the feeling of superiority, while mixed up with thousands of religions that blur our perception have deceived us into thinking we are something more than living, organic matter with the small bonus of being able to paint some shit on the fabric or build some shit in a more sophisticated way than our long-forgotten cousins.

Life Does Not Have a Meaning. Life starts, go on, you make a kid or two (or more if you are in Africa), and then you die. Max you can squeeze out of your life is planting a tree on top of your rotting body that is being eaten by worms a few days after your “soul has gone to heaven”. Hopefully, you don’t fucking care what happens to your body, since it was just a phase, just a temporary entertainment for your “meaningful and eternal soul” while it’s on a fast-lane to hell, paradise or whichever place you believe you deserve to go.

A Very Meaningful Postnatal Depression

If after this you come to the conclusion that your life doesn’t need a generic label then great, you have finally given birth to a useful thought after x years of your otherwise meaningless life.

While the thought of no-life-meaning can be depressing, it’s actually a good thing!

What to do with this information?

Do you feel empty?

It’s a good thing.

You can fill an empty vessel with a bunch of interesting, amazing and useful things. This time, put a lot of effort into this and leave all the crap outside.

Live your life as it is the only one.

You don’t get second chances. You don’t get to please your master or his servants in order to get a special VIP ticket to someplace special. Your organism possesses cool features but it’s hardly unique and those who say otherwise either lack necessary education or are just plain ignorant.

Is this it?

Should you just go to your 9-5, earn your 401(k) and get two children? Do what you like.

There is no meaning in life as much as there is no right way to live life. You are the judge to yourself.

Not the fictional character in the sky or below the ground. Not your brothers, sisters or friends. Be yourself.

Life is the meaning and the absurdity of life itself.

I understand your doubts about what you have just read.

Mull it over, sleep on it. Accept that you (a human being,a species) are not the center of the world and the sole ability to think abstractly does not guarantee you a ticket to world dominance Your life is not of bigger importance than that of the flower in your pot. It may seem so, but it is not.

There is another point that should be taken into account. While the flower can’t choose where to be in the pot you can.

You have granted certain cool features as I mentioned above. Use them, develop your own thoughts, share them, discuss them. Win arguments, Lose arguments.

Life in itself is purposeless. Nevertheless, you can become a rationally thinking and wonderful creature!

Be sure to check other posts regarding life meaning:

“The unexamined life is not worth living” – What does it mean?

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” These were the words that came out of Socrates’ mouth when he was asked to choose between penalty and exile.

Socrates chose his penalty over exile, but why?

Since there had been no further explanation regarding this statement, it sparked several arguments if this holds true or not. When he chose his penalty, would that meant that he gave up?

Amidst all these, the statement is something modern age still listens to.

Philosophers who lived through the years had different and opposing views on how and when to say that one has thoroughly examined their lives.

An examined life for Cicero is based on integrity and service whilst Seneca is to have meaningful goals.

Fyodor Dostoevsky defines examined lifelike human’s resistance from evil and misery. Whilst, Socrates see it as becoming wise and humble as human.

Yet, is there a wrong or a right answer to what constitutes an unexamined life is?

As the answer is all-encompassing, each philosopher raised valid points.

From which, other questions arise.

Would this mean that if you fail to examine your life, you are as good as a walking dead? How do you examine your life?

The philosopher under fire

It’s always easy to go back and look at the thoughts and ideas of past generations with disagreement. For many reasons but mainly because as time changes so do we, so do our ideas. This can become a paradox of sorts as we now see with this famous quote he left us. Even though it is now widely thought of as untrue it still remains a part of large religions, philosophies, and teachings.

Strange right?

With the broad philosophical strokes painted by our genius’s of thought, it can be easy to misunderstand their original meaning.

Meaning is what it really comes down to if validity is questioned. The controversial quote has definitely reached this point, so now we ask: What did he mean?

Is life worth living?

What does anyone of us really know? Honestly? Do we know that the sun will rise tomorrow? Or that the oceans will stay put?

The word “know” is difficult to wrestle with sometimes and tends to be thrown around…

Life is worth living!

A LOT!

The past is easier to deal with though, for instance: I know that I woke up yesterday. So to find out the context of Socrates’s “unexamined life” quote we need to know him and his ideals as closely as possible.

Unfortunately, he left zero written teachings behind, so we turn to his students: Plato and Aristotle.

After looking at what they left behind we quickly see that these two students adopted very similar thoughts on life. They both believed in virtue, truth, knowledge and ethical behavior. They also placed immense importance on one of their teachers’ most famous answers: “know thyself!”

Know thyself

Is this so different from the quote that clearly tells us to examine our lives? No.

Then why is one accepted and the other under fire? It is very simple and comes down to the last part of his quote.

When he says “life is not worth living”. People thought this was an arrogant statement given that we are so diverse.

I have always wondered at the quote “knowledge is power”. Why not “the application of knowledge is power”.

Knowledge is useless unless you use it, so what is the knowledge without application? Well, I think Socrates would disagree with me for a very important reason.

Knowledge is a powerful thing in itself only because as conscious beings knowledge becomes part of who we are. It becomes ingrained in us on a level hard to comprehend.

When I say the knowledge I mean true knowledge, not the fact that we read a book and believe some of what it says.

True knowledge is special, and I think Socrates wanted us to understand that.

When we gain knowledge it becomes a new part of us, we become something more. If this is the case, what would you want to understand most of all?

Ourselves? That seems to be a good place to start.

A point of reference

Imagine this: You are born just as you were before but on a different Earth. The two Piles of the earth are the exact same except one thing.

The new one has no light at all. No sun, fire, light bulbs or any way to see anything. If this happened to ask yourself, what would you call the darkness?

Nothing, everything, it would just be. Simply because there is no point of reference to distinguish its existence.

There is no opposite and there is nowhere to start.

Unless we examine who we are, examine our lives, we lose our point of reference.

We will go through life blind, deaf and hardly with any real understanding of this controlled chaos we call life.

How do you examine life?

Some argue that those who tried to examine their life and decides not to go through it all can be considered “examining life” by itself.

Somehow similar to the “falling in love with the idea of love” but not actually “falling in love” itself.

To examine life, do we measure it up versus a certain standard or is it about finding a meaning to it? If it is the former, to which standard should we measure it to? Whereas, the latter asked a profound question of how do you find meanings into your life?

In this age where everyone is on survival mode with barely enough time to ponder on their lives, human, in general, succumb to go with the flow. Following the standard set by everyone else, would that count as an examined life?

It is a standard in itself but would that be enough?

All these questions are under the premise that we have been brought to this life to be at our “fullest potential.” In the quest towards the best version of ourselves, conscientious effort to continuously assess our lives has to be made. The ability to think and examine sets humans apart from the rest of the creatures on Earth.

Failing to use this unique ability to think is like losing your purpose, which equates to dying.

Happiness Versus Fulfillment

In this journey called life, many argued between pursuing one’s happiness over finding fulfillment. Happiness in itself is subjective as it can take the form of tangible representation such as awards or material possession like house etc.

On the other hand, it can also be intangible taking the form of meaningful and deep relationships. As simple as it seems, many find this pursuit superficial. Happiness is fleeting and Earth bounded. Yet, a quest to find fulfillment or your purpose is more fitting towards the worthy life.

Examining life goes beyond having a checklist of your material possession to a profound understanding of current versus ideal state. The ideal as our fullest potential. And, seeking the fullest potential leads to look deeper into our spirituality, acknowledging the existence of a higher being or entity.

That the existence of humankind is not merely to fulfill its earthly desires but in creating a “dent in the universe.” It requires a higher sense of spirituality with the conscious effort to reflect, correct our own mistakes and contribute to society.

Our purpose is our birthright. We then need to go through the purpose of life examination.

The journey towards fulfillment is a never-ending tirade of searching and finding our place is in this vast universe. To make a difference where you are with unquenched thirst towards wisdom and love.

When that time comes when we are stripped down to our bare necessities, it is not what we have acquired materially that matters most but how our presence has contributed to society. The aim is for continuous progress, not perfection.

In conclusion, the statement “The unexamined life is not worth living,” is Socrates’ way of reminding everyone to spare some time for self-reflection. But a mere analysis would not make any progress without action. A life worth living is being mindful that you are a work in progress towards fulfilling your purpose in life in making a difference in this world.