• Johnpveiga
    8
    After reading pessimistic philosophy and coming to the conclusion that any achievement i make in my current temporary life is fleeting and meaningless, i have lost all motivation to get into a good college, seek a career, etc.. Instead i feel more motivated and inclined to live a simple life of happiness, a life where i travel the world, make lots of friends and get lots of girls (lol). The problem is that im still a teen and teens that read philosophy are notorious for misunderstanding what philosophers mean. Can somebody please explain if my conclusion is correct or give me a logical argument on why i should seek these achievements?
  • Waya
    830
    Happiness is meaningless. It is here for but a fleeting moment, a shallow emotion.

    What I see from your post is not pessimism, but rather the desire for instant gratification.
  • fdrake
    1.1k


    The thought that everything ends is a haunting one. It comes most persistently in times of personal transition. When things change, when there's conflict in yourself or between yourself and your environment, the thought questions us as a mocking whisper; 'why should I do anything if it all ends?'. It promises a hopeless life; devoid of significance and greater meaning. Irrespective of how you choose to live your life, it says, it will have been for nothing.

    It seems that you're coming to the realisation that a 'good college', a 'good career' and all that are extrinsic motivators. They are undifferentiated, amorphous aims which are imposed on you by the circumstances of your life. Perhaps the same can be said of the juxtaposition of these goals to the life of sensory pleasure you're considering pursuing. That life is the very model of fleeting happiness; a life lived in the comedown between highs. It is a poor substitute for what is supposed to give you contentment and higher purpose.

    Luckily, fleetingness can be felt as a sign; something feels wrong or out of place in the composite of what you think you ought to be, what you think you are and what you really are. Finding the conflicts there gives insight into another kind of goal; an intrinsic motivator. Something which comes from you and is right by you.

    That might seem small compared to the highlights of history; the Eisenhowers, the Einsteins, the prophets; in short, the greats that are handed down to us as if history has a plot and main characters. But all they did is follow their nose like you might learn how to; the stories crop up in their wake, and all stories are told by mere people, fumbling along like you (and all of us).

    You can be one of these storytellers, you can find and follow your own goals, you can experiment with your own life to find fulfilment. There's always plenty of time until it's gone.
  • Corvus
    77
    Under that supposition, even ceasing the pursuit of earthly achievements would be meaningless.
  • Wayfarer
    6.3k
    Can somebody please explain if my conclusion is correct or give me a logical argument on why i should seek these achievements?Johnpveiga

    It sounds to me like you're rationalising the difficult decisions and commitments that adulthood requires; you're trying to decide whether to grow up or not. It's really got nothing to do with philosophy or existentialism. I tried dropping out, and I quickly learned that, absent some mind-shattering knack, talent or luck, it invariably means being required to work in very menial occupations and leading an exceedingly drab and repetitive existence. And that is truly meaningless.

    I think a far better approach would be to try your absolute hardest to do the very best you can, all the while knowing that it doesn't really mean anything, so that you could walk away from it at any point. But you can't sacrifice something you've never earned, so if you want to know the meaning of sacrifice, then first you have to earn it.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.1k
    Should I cease the pursit of earthly achievements?

    No. Get back to work.

    That's it in a nutshell, but you might like the expanded version.

    First, stop reading pessimistic philosophy, at least until you are 60 years old. Now is the time for you to embrace the world, engage fully in life, and flourish. When you get older you will have plenty of time to poke around the sub-basement of Philosophy's House of Horrors.

    Without a good education (in something useful) your chances of having a job that pays enough to travel around the world, making friends, getting laid, seeing the sights, trying new foods, etc. are slim to nonexistent.

    Is the world meaningless, pointless, fleeting, temporary, and transient?

    Well... sure. The material world without life and intelligence is kind of pointless, meaningless, dreary. But... with life and intelligence the possibilities of meaning and purpose are extensive. Our lives do not last very long -- 80 years out of 13 billion years is not even a flash in the pan, but that's what we get. The history of civilization is not very long either -- 5,000 years, give or take 15 minutes. Not a long time, but it is our time, our place, and our task to make the most of it.

    The world, your life, your legacy will be as meaningful as you make it. This is true for everybody. And because most people do engage, embrace, and enter their lives fully, life is good.

    And remember: You are a teenager. Teenagers quite often have a lot of sturm and drang in their lives just because their brains are not actually fully formed yet. Depending on your age, your body isn't quite finished either. You want to get on with living your life, but you can't yet. Very frustrating. Life gets better as you get older, in most respects. (In some respects it gets worse, but uplift is my purpose here, so we'll not go into all that.)

    Study hard, pay attention, learn a lot. Find a good career and pursue it. Read widely in the arts and sciences, but avoid those fucked up life-is-meaningless pessimistic philosopher pricks -- no Schopenhauer for you for 40 more years, at least). And do get laid regularly.
  • Monitor
    91
    Bitter Crank has summed it up nicely.
  • Corvus
    77
    Meaning doesn't exist in the world anyway. Meaning or meaningless is just one's private mental state about something.
  • Jake
    88
    i have lost all motivation to get into a good college, seek a career, etc.. Instead i feel more motivated and inclined to live a simple life of happiness, a life where i travel the world, make lots of friends and get lots of girls (lol).Johnpveiga

    Both of these could be reasonable choices, but like all choices, each would come with both benefits and a price tag.

    The college/career route can deliver stability, security and comfort, but often involves becoming a slave in some corporate gulag.

    The "simple life of happiness" can bring adventure and great memories, but often involves a lifetime of poverty, insecurity, and struggle. Unless you are already wealthy, you can forget about "lots of girls" with this choice once you pass about 30.

    The college/career choice is kind of like being a domesticated house cat, safe and secure, confined and kinda boring. The other route is like being a wild animal, there's glorious freedom, at the price of a harder shorter life.

    My suggestion is to forget about what you read in books, and instead closely study those who have made these choices. The corporate gulag types should be easy to find. The "simple life of happiness" types can probably found at age 45 working as a minimum wage cashier somewhere.
  • unenlightened
    2.5k
    I commend to you unenlightened's first principle as a guide to leading a meaningful life:

    It's not all about you.
  • Jake
    88
    A rational compromise....

    Surrender two to four years in nursing school. Don't think about it, just do it. Now you have guaranteed employment for life.

    Once those dues are paid, dedicate your life to surfing, a truly worthy pursuit for anyone wanting a "simple life of happiness".

    Work only as much as is needed to eat. Here's a guy who did it, and raised nine kids at the same time!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorian_%22Doc%22_Paskowitz

    Here's the movie (costs $3)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn49N2QQ21w

    http://www.magpictures.com/surfwise/

    Here's you a few years from now.

    171003161826-nic-von-rupp-tease-exlarge-169.jpg

    Here's your girlfriend.

    Mimi_surfing.jpg

    Two to four years in school, and it's all yours.

    Yes, great post from BitterCrank. Agreed, if you're reading Schopenhauer, stop immediately.
  • aporiap
    91
    Agreed, if you're reading Schopenhauer, stop immediately.
    :rofl:
  • Jake
    88
    Is the world meaningless, pointless, fleeting, temporary, and transient? Well... sure.Bitter Crank

    Well, um, so prove it. :-0

    To address the philosophy the original poster is encountering...

    There is no proof to any of the theories about the larger context our lives reside in. There is no proof that our life is a test which we must pass in order to live in eternity with Baby Jesus. There is no proof that our lives are just a random collision of mechanical forces which have no larger purpose or meaning. All of these ideas are just theories. So...

    If you don't believe in Baby Jesus just because somebody told you that you should, then by the same logic you shouldn't believe that "life is fleeting and meaningless" just because somebody said that it is.

    The truth is that nobody has a clue about the larger picture, but many people find that ignorance intolerable so they passionately commit themselves to some theory or another in order to create a fantasy knowing experience. Some of these people are very articulate. Some of them have a great deal of cultural authority. But the truth is that these people too are just like the rest of us in having no clue. The fact that they've persuaded themselves otherwise doesn't change the reality.

    You've stated your goals as:

    1) a simple life of happiness,
    2) a life where i travel the world,
    3) make lots of friends,
    4) and get lots of girls.

    These are reasonable, rational, realistic goals IF you are willing to pay the price. If you aren't willing to pay the price then such dreams will come to torture you over time. In other words, we all pay a price one way or another.

    Goal #4 needs some work. If you want to "get" lots of girls, it would be wise to change your mindset to wanting to "serve" lots of girls. Don't think about what you will get from them, but what you will give to them.
  • Marcus de Brun
    337


    If you are indeed a teen, then there is a significant likelyhood that you are stupid. I say this because I was very stupid when I was a teen and am only slightly less so now that I am old(er).

    Happiness is the purpose of existence and you are right to seek it. However the objective is transient and it changes with time. What you think is happiness now, will not be happiness for you in ten years, or perhaps even ten days.

    The good news is however that some aspects of happiness remain constant, and if you achieve these you will have some solid lasting hapinesses to see you through the rough times. There will be rough times and many of most or them will be the result of your own stupidity.. at least thats how its been in my life so far, and I have 2/3 of my allotted time finished.

    Essentially the most important ingredient to happiness is freedom. The next most important thing is to know what to do with your freedom once you have achieved it.

    You have said that you want to travel. This is stupid, because it simply means that you wish to escape. You should begin your quest for self understanding by reading Walden Pond by Thoreau. Therein you will find a definition of freedom. You do not have to travel to experience life. You are life and it is all around you.

    Teenagers are generally plagued with an obsession to belong somewhere and to something. plagued by instincts and urges, like the urge to have sex and to belong to a peer group. If you are looking to travel the world it may be because you feel you do not fit in, to your current social circumstance. If you are smart (smart people know how stupid they are) then you probably don't fit in, because smart people not only know how stupid they are but they also recognise that most of the people they are surrounded by are also stupid.

    Effectively we are all stupid, some more than others. The key thing is to try to address your stupidity. This can be acheived by some formal education, but mostly you have to read good books and listen to good music. This is generally the type of book and music that the majority of people don't listen to or read. (Like Thoreau for example).

    If you are chilled out, and you like yourself the way you are, and you have a desire to unstupify yourself, you will be attractive to the opposite sex, because these are crucial ingredients to being independent and being independent in your thoughts and your deeds is a crucial ingredient into being cool... being cool makes other people want to hang out with you and occasionally.. have sex with you.

    If you are a teenager you probably want to have sex.. don't try to hard to have sex, learn how to be cool and the sex will follow.

    Read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, if you want to learn how to be independent, and therefore ..cool.

    You need money to be independent and to be cool. Therefore you need a job and unless you have an education you are likely to have to spend most of your time working.

    Ask yourself what you really like to do and whatever it is, turn it into a college degree... you can do a degree in anything. If you like philosophy then do a degree in it and understand it properly.

    The world owes you nothing, and you have to earn your freedom from it. If you live in a white western country then an education is obtained with relative ease. An education will help you out of your stupidity and it will purchase you your freedom, if you are careful and you choose to educate yourself in something you like then you will enjoy it.. but you have to be very honest with yourself first.

    Be honest with yourself.

    Work will set you free, then its up to you to cultivate the wisdom to know what to do with that freedom.

    Stay away from drugs, work hard, laugh love, be independent in your thinking see 'God' in nature and in yourself, read read read, masturbate often... but not too often.

    Most importantly be happy and try not to be too stupid.

    M
  • Bitter Crank
    6.1k
    Well, um, so prove it.Jake

    There is no proof to any of the theories about the larger context our lives reside in.Jake

    I was prepared to prove that the world is meaningless, pointless, fleeting, temporary, and transient, but then you said there isn't any proof, so... there's probably not much point in posting the formula that would prove it. Nope -- won't change my mind. Sorry -- you don't get the proof -- ever.

    The truth is that nobody has a clue about the larger pictureJake

    Isn't that a rather sweeping generalization? How would you know they have no clue if you had no clue?

    Goal #4 needs some work. If you want to "get" lots of girls, it would be wise to change your mindset to wanting to "serve" lots of girls. Don't think about what you will get from them, but what you will give to them.Jake

    Interesting. Is that true? I'm gay, so I wouldn't know whether "serving" girls is the best strategy for a straight guy to get laid. What if what the straight guy wants is a "serving wench" rather than a girl to serve?
  • Jake
    88
    I was prepared to prove that the world is meaningless, pointless, fleeting, temporary, and transient, but then you said there isn't any proof, so... there's probably not much point in posting the formula that would prove it.Bitter Crank

    Whatever formula anyone might offer would be based on human reason. So first please prove that the rules of human reason are binding on everything everywhere, and thus would be a credible methodology for coming to conclusions on the larger context our lives reside with.

    Isn't that a rather sweeping generalization? How would you know they have no clue if you had no clue?Bitter Crank

    This is a good point! It's true, I don't know what the reality is, and thus have no way of knowing if anyone is right. I agree I am reporting my own situation, which is that I experience all these proclamations as mere theories. Interesting perhaps, but hardly conclusive, imho.

    Interesting. Is that true? I'm gay, so I wouldn't know whether "serving" girls is the best strategy for a straight guy to get laid.Bitter Crank

    Imho, this principle has nothing to do with sexual preference. Straight or gay, "getting" is the wrong mindset. I don't mean morally wrong, but tactically wrong. The guy or gal focused on serving is going to be more popular than the guy or gal focused on getting.

    What if what the straight guy wants is a "serving wench" rather than a girl to serve?Bitter Crank

    Ok, his choice, and the price tag for that is to be utterly ordinary.
  • Jake
    88
    The case for nursing school...


    1) It's a field dominated by women.

    2) More importantly, it's a field dominated by the right kind of women, generally speaking.

    3) Nursing is never going to go out of style, and you don't have to worry about your job going overseas, being replaced by automation etc.

    4) Flexible hours. Work double shifts on the weekend and then be free all week to surf, etc.

    5) If one has that inclination, working with people in trouble can be a very philosophical experience, putting life in perspective etc.

    6) You can work anywhere in the world, opening the door to travel.

    7) If you decide to, you can work your way up the ladder and make pretty darn good money. I have a friend who makes 100 grand a year as a nurse (after years of experience).

    8) If you bash your head on some rocks while surfing, you'll know what to do about it. :-)
  • Jake
    88
    I've seen this phenomena a number of times on many forums. Some young person will start a thread asking some profound personal question, everyone will jump in to try to answer, but meanwhile the original poster has vanished. Maybe I'll learn the lesson this time. :smile:
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