Author Topic: Asking the right questions  (Read 2203 times)

Vanadium Gryllz

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 531
    • View Profile
Asking the right questions
« on: February 28, 2015, 02:48:19 pm »
Recently I have been struggling with a renewed crisis of identity. It rolls around every so often (late teens, again around 20, and now at 24) and in the past I have dealt with it through various methods of escapism. Relationships, alcohol, video games, weed have all worked pretty effectively throughout the years at staving off that sense of ennui. Furthermore, I have watched others doing exactly the same things and some seem to be content with such passtimes. Why is that enough for some and not for others? Or am I looking at others in a too-superficial level and maybe I have to understand that nobody else has the answers either and they're looking for the same things I am. The combined fallacies of consensus and uniqueness pushing up against each other.

Nevertheless, I feel like these are all imperfect coping mechanisms and are not serving to answer that underlying, nagging question: "Who am I and what am I doing?"

Now, I could tell you a myriad of facts about myself. My nationality,  my occupation, my education, my Myers-Briggs type, what I had for breakfast, etc. etc. But compiling this list of labels doesn't seem to clarify my image of myself within my own mind so I can hardly imagine they are much better descriptors for those who don't know me.

So these days the favoured method of escapism is endless trawling of the internet. I know that it's not a constructive use of my time when there's concrete, material things to be done such as cleaning the house or paying bills or actually doing some work instead of sitting at my computer pretending to be busy. But then I wonder if cleaning/working and the more 'productive' uses of time are just more escapism. I look at my brother who is 22 and has a house with a fiancee and a dog and a job selling houses and don't believe that he is any happier or knows any more about himself than I do. Maybe responsibility is a different escapism.

So then if intoxication isn't the answer, and neither are electronics or responsibilities or relationships or religion then what is? What was the question again?


I hope that made some sense - and apologies if it comes off as angsty and self-centred. It's remarkably hard to translate thoughts into coherent, written-down ideas.

I would appreciate your thoughts though.

Edit: Then you've got questions like Am I a good person? What does it mean to be a good person? Do I need to be a good person? Enough to tie a young man's brain in knots.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 03:23:33 pm by Xaz »
"I was fine until my skin came off.  I'm never going to South Attelboro again."

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 77637
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2015, 04:38:44 pm »
The late teens and the 20's are an exploratory time for most people; the big question tends to be "what kind of person am I and what is my purpose?" You're approaching an invisible developmental milestone, which is the end of the growth stage of your prefrontal lobes. The longer you remain in an exploratory self-discovery mode, the longer they will continue to develop (this seems to be a good thing) until maybe around 25-26, although nobody knows for sure.

Drugs, alcohol,internet, and video games can be escapism for some people, as can work or relationships or home improvement; you only need to figure out whether you're using it as a form of escapism. The main question is whether you find what you're doing fulfilling... do you, personally, find value in it?

I think questions about being a good person are valuable. We all have to find meaning in our own ways. For myself, I found meaning in my own understanding of human existence and the nature of the universe, which is that there is no reason for us to exist, we simply do, and then we die.

“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


The Wizard Joseph

  • Not a Real Discordian
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 3644
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2015, 05:32:19 pm »
I tend to find happiness and a sense of direction can come from two major sources.

 The pleasant source is to find what you are talented at and\or truly passionate about and develop it.
I think this is called Eudiamonia in philosophy. It means 'good mind or thought' and considers excellence to be the source of lasting happiness.
This is a bit amoral in some ways as someone could derive such happiness by being, say, the best baker you can be, or the best hitman, or anything really.
It's not easy or free, but the process is not unpleasant and the concrete advantages of increased ability are a nice bonus.

Then there's the hard road. Looking at yourself as honestly as possible and seeking to understand your weaknesses and overcome them. This is a matter of a lifetime's work as there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Nothing here is pleasant but the outcome. The outcome is by no means guaranteed. If you have successfully identified and overcome a flaw the stronger or wiser you is all that you will get out of it, and it will demand both effort and adaptability to be sure. Entirely worthwhile in my ongoing experience.

I can conjure a third thing. AFTER you have seen to yourself and are relatively fit great joy can be had by helping others by your ability. This can be as simple as helping the illiterate to read or as complex as you like. It's a terrible idea if you don't know yourself very well or are seeking praise or thanks. The desire to help others must be genuine and is best understood after you have felt the struggle yourself and seen that it's worthy.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Johannes

  • Known
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Holy is the laughter that overcomes all your fears
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2015, 05:02:45 pm »
The inner voice seems to get stronger as you get older and realize that no one seems to have answers.

Therefore you must try to find them yourself.

But there seems to be little quiet space between the answers where you might seek solitude.

Inbetween those moments where you act your roles.

In there you might come to understanding that reality/realities seems to be liquid without final form.

It seems to be bit scary at first and rarely we occupy that state of mind constantly.

Sometimes you might find pain in pleasure and vice versa.

Plus i personally believe every person has wings of his own and whether he/she decides to fly around the world or drop on his/her own backyard both are still equally valuable.

It seems to be very easy to compare your own journey to others and then you might realize that everybody is kinda lost.
Whether it seems like that on the outside or not.

Therefore it  might be wise to speak to others and help one another.

Sometimes you actually might inspire somebody to live their life to the fullest and you might not never know that.

That is one of the reasons to keep pushing. The absurdity that there are heroes whom we will never hear about.

What makes you tick? Make that tick louder by actions and realize its your own heartbeat.




Vanadium Gryllz

  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 531
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2015, 09:52:27 am »
The late teens and the 20's are an exploratory time for most people; the big question tends to be "what kind of person am I and what is my purpose?"


Pretty much hit the nail on the head there. It's frustrating for me to have questions that don't have concrete answers. Discussing such things is interesting though.


Drugs, alcohol,internet, and video games can be escapism for some people, as can work or relationships or home improvement; you only need to figure out whether you're using it as a form of escapism. The main question is whether you find what you're doing fulfilling... do you, personally, find value in it?

I think questions about being a good person are valuable. We all have to find meaning in our own ways. For myself, I found meaning in my own understanding of human existence and the nature of the universe, which is that there is no reason for us to exist, we simply do, and then we die.



Regarding escapism, I agree with what (I think) you were saying in that all passtimes mentioned can be constructive or destructive depending on your approach and viewpoint. I have been trying recently to introduce more moderation in these areas of my life where previously it's been more of an all-or-nothing kind of deal where I invest heavily into whatever it may be until eventually and inevitably I burn out.

...that there is no reason for us to exist, we simply do, and then we die.

That is comforting and horrifying in equal measure. Rationally I know this to be true but somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain there's something freaking out. Maybe I should turn to religion and get into an afterlife.  :lol:

I tend to find happiness and a sense of direction can come from two major sources.

 The pleasant source is to find what you are talented at and\or truly passionate about and develop it.
I think this is called Eudiamonia in philosophy. It means 'good mind or thought' and considers excellence to be the source of lasting happiness.
This is a bit amoral in some ways as someone could derive such happiness by being, say, the best baker you can be, or the best hitman, or anything really.
It's not easy or free, but the process is not unpleasant and the concrete advantages of increased ability are a nice bonus.

Then there's the hard road. Looking at yourself as honestly as possible and seeking to understand your weaknesses and overcome them. This is a matter of a lifetime's work as there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Nothing here is pleasant but the outcome. The outcome is by no means guaranteed. If you have successfully identified and overcome a flaw the stronger or wiser you is all that you will get out of it, and it will demand both effort and adaptability to be sure. Entirely worthwhile in my ongoing experience.

I can conjure a third thing. AFTER you have seen to yourself and are relatively fit great joy can be had by helping others by your ability. This can be as simple as helping the illiterate to read or as complex as you like. It's a terrible idea if you don't know yourself very well or are seeking praise or thanks. The desire to help others must be genuine and is best understood after you have felt the struggle yourself and seen that it's worthy.

Very informative post. Thank you. The second point seems to me to be the... truest perhaps? I can't think of the right word to describe what I mean. I think you touched upon it too where you say Eudiamonia could be considered immoral whereupon being the best (or maybe simply good if you don't have that competitive spirit) at something will certainly bring contentment but is it ultimately a layer of distraction from trying to find happiness within oneself?

I would be interested in hearing more about your thoughts/experiences regarding your second point as there is a world of difference between understanding your point and actually being able to put it into practice.

Not much to say on your third point. I completely agree.

"I was fine until my skin came off.  I'm never going to South Attelboro again."

The Wizard Joseph

  • Not a Real Discordian
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 3644
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2015, 02:09:19 pm »
I'll try to expand a bit later, but right now I'd note that amoral and immoral are not quite the same. It means it's separate from any morality per se. Also note though comparative the the Eudiamonic concept seeks only perpetual effort not dominance in competition with any but yourself as you improve whatever you have chosen to. Ending the idea "I'm not inherently good enough to do that", common to performers among other things, is a big part of the concept as I see it.


Overcoming immorality and folly are the essential thrust of point two. My most basic personal experience of this was swearing off physical agression in my late teens. The capacity still exists in me, but long effort and fairly recent training in meditation have allowed me to seal it well for the day it may be necessary and not as a reflex of my will. Do you see the synergy?

Point three can be performed by anybody, but the joy gained is entirely dependant on the quality of your character.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Meunster

  • Not really that
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 729
  • SPAG
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2015, 02:32:28 pm »
Existential angst. The only problem that money can't solve.


How I got over my first wave of it was through Stirner, Camus, Wittgenstein, and other assorted men with too much time.

Now my world view is something like, everything is in your power to acquire, but none of it matters, and even if it did that's only your perception there's 3 billion other perceptions.

It's self affirming, to think that I can do anything, I can make a fool of myself as much as I want, I can waste my time in 'escapism' as much as I want. Be that escapism video games, helping the homeless, or perfecting a skill. Either way it loops back to me feeding my ego, which my ego eventually just doesn't matter. I'll die eventually and then people will forget about me and I won't exist anymore, or I'll become the next Gandhi or Hitler, people will remember me for years, and then I won't enjoy that because I'll be dead. 
Poe's law ;)

The Wizard Joseph

  • Not a Real Discordian
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 3644
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2015, 03:28:32 pm »
Existential angst. The only problem that money can't solve.


How I got over my first wave of it was through Stirner, Camus, Wittgenstein, and other assorted men with too much time.

Now my world view is something like, everything is in your power to acquire, but none of it matters, and even if it did that's only your perception there's 3 billion other perceptions.

It's self affirming, to think that I can do anything, I can make a fool of myself as much as I want, I can waste my time in 'escapism' as much as I want. Be that escapism video games, helping the homeless, or perfecting a skill. Either way it loops back to me feeding my ego, which my ego eventually just doesn't matter. I'll die eventually and then people will forget about me and I won't exist anymore, or I'll become the next Gandhi or Hitler, people will remember me for years, and then I won't enjoy that because I'll be dead. 



The ego matters,  just not as much as it thinks it does. Still, like the body, it must be properly fed and exercised to maintain healthy function. A very great part of suffering is one form or another of poor health. Much of the rest is suffering inherited from previous suffering in others.

If oblivion is a certainty why waste time and risk suffering worming around upon the Earth? Enjoyment is no excuse, you can have eternal nothingness right now with no waiting.

Unless you're incorrect about the oblivion. If there is more than life as perceived by the ego then what?

also

No posterity can last forever, but the effects of your life WILL influence all future outcomes that it may.
Should you absolve yourself of such responsibility because you've reasoned an oncoming, absurdity implying, oblivion?

These are sincere questions. I have only had opportunity to read 'The Stranger' from the above listed. If you have absorbed them then perhaps by discussion I will understand their ideas better. I don't have the time to do the reading without canceling other projects right now.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Meunster

  • Not really that
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 729
  • SPAG
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2015, 04:01:46 pm »
Existential angst. The only problem that money can't solve.


How I got over my first wave of it was through Stirner, Camus, Wittgenstein, and other assorted men with too much time.

Now my world view is something like, everything is in your power to acquire, but none of it matters, and even if it did that's only your perception there's 3 billion other perceptions.

It's self affirming, to think that I can do anything, I can make a fool of myself as much as I want, I can waste my time in 'escapism' as much as I want. Be that escapism video games, helping the homeless, or perfecting a skill. Either way it loops back to me feeding my ego, which my ego eventually just doesn't matter. I'll die eventually and then people will forget about me and I won't exist anymore, or I'll become the next Gandhi or Hitler, people will remember me for years, and then I won't enjoy that because I'll be dead. 



The ego matters,  just not as much as it thinks it does. Still, like the body, it must be properly fed and exercised to maintain healthy function. A very great part of suffering is one form or another of poor health. Much of the rest is suffering inherited from previous suffering in others.

If oblivion is a certainty why waste time and risk suffering worming around upon the Earth? Enjoyment is no excuse, you can have eternal nothingness right now with no waiting.

Unless you're incorrect about the oblivion. If there is more than life as perceived by the ego then what?

also

No posterity can last forever, but the effects of your life WILL influence all future outcomes that it may.
Should you absolve yourself of such responsibility because you've reasoned an oncoming, absurdity implying, oblivion?

These are sincere questions. I have only had opportunity to read 'The Stranger' from the above listed. If you have absorbed them then perhaps by discussion I will understand their ideas better. I don't have the time to do the reading without canceling other projects right now.

I don't just off myself because I'm not going to take the universes shit, I'll be happy with the oblivion.

But every thing you do is just ego and power struggles.

Even altruistic acts only serve to benefit you.
Poe's law ;)

Reginald Ret

  • 'Miserable Atrocianthrope'
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 4168
  • Interweb Gloryhole QC Inspector #23
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2015, 05:52:11 pm »
Existential angst. The only problem that money can't solve.


How I got over my first wave of it was through Stirner, Camus, Wittgenstein, and other assorted men with too much time.

Now my world view is something like, everything is in your power to acquire, but none of it matters, and even if it did that's only your perception there's 3 billion other perceptions.

It's self affirming, to think that I can do anything, I can make a fool of myself as much as I want, I can waste my time in 'escapism' as much as I want. Be that escapism video games, helping the homeless, or perfecting a skill. Either way it loops back to me feeding my ego, which my ego eventually just doesn't matter. I'll die eventually and then people will forget about me and I won't exist anymore, or I'll become the next Gandhi or Hitler, people will remember me for years, and then I won't enjoy that because I'll be dead. 



The ego matters,  just not as much as it thinks it does. Still, like the body, it must be properly fed and exercised to maintain healthy function. A very great part of suffering is one form or another of poor health. Much of the rest is suffering inherited from previous suffering in others.

If oblivion is a certainty why waste time and risk suffering worming around upon the Earth? Enjoyment is no excuse, you can have eternal nothingness right now with no waiting.

Unless you're incorrect about the oblivion. If there is more than life as perceived by the ego then what?

also

No posterity can last forever, but the effects of your life WILL influence all future outcomes that it may.
Should you absolve yourself of such responsibility because you've reasoned an oncoming, absurdity implying, oblivion?

These are sincere questions. I have only had opportunity to read 'The Stranger' from the above listed. If you have absorbed them then perhaps by discussion I will understand their ideas better. I don't have the time to do the reading without canceling other projects right now.

I don't just off myself because I'm not going to take the universes shit, I'll be happy with the oblivion.

But every thing you do is just ego and power struggles.

Even altruistic acts only serve to benefit you.
Your definition of self does not include enough others!
Lord Byron: "Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves."

Nigel saying the wisest words ever uttered: "It's just a suffix."

"The worst forum ever" "The most mediocre forum on the internet" "The dumbest forum on the internet" "The most retarded forum on the internet" "The lamest forum on the internet" "The coolest forum on the internet"

The Wizard Joseph

  • Not a Real Discordian
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 3644
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2015, 06:48:29 pm »
Existential angst. The only problem that money can't solve.


How I got over my first wave of it was through Stirner, Camus, Wittgenstein, and other assorted men with too much time.

Now my world view is something like, everything is in your power to acquire, but none of it matters, and even if it did that's only your perception there's 3 billion other perceptions.

It's self affirming, to think that I can do anything, I can make a fool of myself as much as I want, I can waste my time in 'escapism' as much as I want. Be that escapism video games, helping the homeless, or perfecting a skill. Either way it loops back to me feeding my ego, which my ego eventually just doesn't matter. I'll die eventually and then people will forget about me and I won't exist anymore, or I'll become the next Gandhi or Hitler, people will remember me for years, and then I won't enjoy that because I'll be dead. 



The ego matters,  just not as much as it thinks it does. Still, like the body, it must be properly fed and exercised to maintain healthy function. A very great part of suffering is one form or another of poor health. Much of the rest is suffering inherited from previous suffering in others.

If oblivion is a certainty why waste time and risk suffering worming around upon the Earth? Enjoyment is no excuse, you can have eternal nothingness right now with no waiting.

Unless you're incorrect about the oblivion. If there is more than life as perceived by the ego then what?

also

No posterity can last forever, but the effects of your life WILL influence all future outcomes that it may.
Should you absolve yourself of such responsibility because you've reasoned an oncoming, absurdity implying, oblivion?

These are sincere questions. I have only had opportunity to read 'The Stranger' from the above listed. If you have absorbed them then perhaps by discussion I will understand their ideas better. I don't have the time to do the reading without canceling other projects right now.

I don't just off myself because I'm not going to take the universes shit, I'll be happy with the oblivion.

But every thing you do is just ego and power struggles.

Even altruistic acts only serve to benefit you.

Your definition of self does not include enough others!

Overall mistaken. If you don't want discussion fine, but you seem to be mistaking assumption and personal assertion for truth.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Sung Low

  • Inexplicable Bedsore of Last Night's Drunken Fling.
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 167
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2015, 08:27:26 pm »
I carry out 'altruistic acts' which make others feel good.

This makes me feel good.


I see no downside to this.

The d key has chosen to absent itself

Reginald Ret

  • 'Miserable Atrocianthrope'
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 4168
  • Interweb Gloryhole QC Inspector #23
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2015, 09:19:03 pm »
I carry out 'altruistic acts' which make others feel good.

This makes me feel good.


I see no downside to this.
Smart man.

Sometimes simplicity is better than deep thinking.
Lord Byron: "Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves."

Nigel saying the wisest words ever uttered: "It's just a suffix."

"The worst forum ever" "The most mediocre forum on the internet" "The dumbest forum on the internet" "The most retarded forum on the internet" "The lamest forum on the internet" "The coolest forum on the internet"

Meunster

  • Not really that
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 729
  • SPAG
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2015, 10:27:28 pm »
I carry out 'altruistic acts' which make others feel good.

This makes me feel good.


I see no downside to this.

being altruistic is in everyones best interests. Karma law and such, plus if you're nice that person will be nicer and the whole world gets better.
Poe's law ;)

Sung Low

  • Inexplicable Bedsore of Last Night's Drunken Fling.
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 167
    • View Profile
Re: Asking the right questions
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2015, 08:00:10 pm »
being altruistic is in everyones best interests. Karma law and such, plus if you're nice that person will be nicer and the whole world gets better.

I don't believe in Karma, though I could get on board with the old "Smile and the world smiles with you (unless you've got one of those smiles)" motivational poster guff, but...

Even altruistic acts only serve to benefit you.

So, which one is it?
The d key has chosen to absent itself