I have lived in dogma for most of my life. My perception of what society expected, what other people thought or what I thought other people were thinking, what I thought my parents expected and what I thought happiness expected, all controlled why and what I did. Constantly contemplating identity, meaning, consciousness, and existence were all very overwhelming, the same is likely for many other young minds today. Why? Why me? What is this? Who am I? What the fuck is going on?
Finding guidance and feelings of importance in other people is the quickest and easiest way to meaning. “I don’t know what the hell I am or want to do, but I know what other people want and can give that to them, even at the expense of my well-being”. Growing up with this absence of belonging creates a need to fulfill other peoples needs, rather than your own.
Do you know who you are? How intrinsic and true are your values and beliefs? And how much of that was influenced by another? The deepest parts of your mind is where you may squabble and plead to be seen. The truest form of what you are and hope to be.
Truth is an interesting notion to ponder. What really is truth? As I think of truth, I see it as previous beliefs and ideals handed down from generation to generation through filtration process of natural selection and rationalization. Something that is true is just, in other words, ‘right’. What’s true is true and what’s false is false. A statistic is true, numbers and mathematics, right? Nevertheless, when we get down to more complex trains of thought, the truth starts to become blurry. Beliefs from previous generations that were believed to be true, because the people who supported them believed that the people before them told them it was true because they believed it… I am not saying that we cannot trust others, but our knowledge and understanding of life, science, philosophy, and these massively heavy weighted questions of existence and consciousness is so much more developed than it was in the past. So much more developed to the point of realizing that we actually know so little about this thing we call life. A great book of meta scientific, mathematical and philosophical ventures is When Einstein Walked with Godel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought, by Jim Holt. The amount of times I rethought life with an overwhelming feeling of “what the fuck” is ridiculous.
So, why am I talking about why you may do things to make other people happy, rather than yourself, and truth? Well, I think our perception of truth heavily influences these preconceived notions of how we make choices and operate in society. My favorite Steve Jobs quote is as follows, “everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you”. Despite the room for argument about peoples level of intelligence, the meaning I take from it is that ‘no one’ knows better or has a better understanding of what is right and wrong, true or false. Our conception of reality can be distorted and shaped to what we want it to be, despite the already established order. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs. However, not everything that already exists is wrong. There were a lot of smart, but more genius-like, people who helped shaped the way we live today. Distinguishing between what is useful and what could be improved upon for the betterment of what you want, is way more efficient than rebelling against the whole system, and a lot less stupid.
Finding balance between what is intrinsically true for you and what others may expect or see as expected, staying strong in your thoughts but allowing new ones to be considered, and creating a life you want but not forgetting about the already existing world around you, would be my best explanation of how to live. With exceptions of course, but nevertheless a set of principles to put forward. Another one perhaps, is to have your own principles, and to not think of what I say as the undeniable truth.