How TF can you be happy?
“Our crisis is no longer material; it’s existential, it’s spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore.”
― Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Starting around the 17th century and continuing from there, the world slowly but surely began industrializing; meaning not everyone needed to engage in subsistence farming from year to year for meager survival. With the advent of mass manufacturing, and the use of more efficient external energy sources like dense carbon fossil fuels, scarce resources and goods were made and distributed at an unprecedented capacity.
Living in an industrialized modern society, as we do now, man is confronted by a relatively new problem: “Once I have food, shelter, and water, then what?”. While humanity has always drifted to a fro in a sea of existential wonder, We have never had so much time, reason, or resources to wrestle with these fundamental ideas. I believe that humanity has in a sense “leveled up” from Maslow’s first level of his Hierarchy of Needs pyramid; Some to the second level, some to the third, and so on.
Human kind has never before, in all recorded history, seen abundance or luxury at the level we experience it at today. Kings and Queens in 16th century couldn’t fathom the physical bliss we now take for granted; so much so that even the poorest people in many first world countries can, in some ways, sustain finer lives than the royalty of the past. Everything from Medicine, literature, entertainment, socialization, safety, ease of transportation, longevity, etc… have been improved upon by orders of magnitude, and with it, many of mans greatest ailments defeated, while many new have been unveiled.
The human mind and body are a valuable self preservation and prioritizing machine, looking first tomost immediate and dire needs and moving on to the next after the most important are met; It seems logical, if not probably, to me, that once our base physiological needs have been met, we would move on to the next task at hand, which I believe Maslow was right in suggesting that the following needs are emotional/spiritual in nature.
With the baseline of survival met it’s been reasonably thought that people ought to be happier, and indeed in some ways that’s absolutely true. However, a human can survive in all manner of horrific places, just ask Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Life is obviously about first surviving, but then, more importantly, thriving. To be loved as you are and to love some as they are, to give your time and energy to your passions, to live how you want and for what you want to live for.
For this to ever be the case, one must first be honest; until you can be brutally honest with both yourself and those you care about, neither you or them will really ever know who or what exactly you are. To acknowledge what bothers you, what makes you happy, what you find funny, what you like or don’t like, etc… and not cast moral judgement; that is honesty undefiled. To know that it’s OK to be what you are, not that you’ll be that forever, or that it’s neither good or bad, is honesty in practice; to simply accept that your own reality is what it is and that’s alright, is the first thing a man, woman, or child can do to build themselves the world they want most.
until you can be honest, everything is a lie, or at the very least tinted by lies. How can one love what they do now know? How can one change, what they cannot see or accept? Honesty is the only foundation upon which a free life of choice and passion can be built.
However, honesty is not a end in itself, only a means to an end. Honesty is the most accurate compass one has to lead to them towards their chosen destination. Many will tell you what that destination ought to be, money, status, leisure, heaven, the list goes on, but only you can actually decide what you want, and only an honest self evaluation and lifestyle can point you in the correct direction. Honesty will attract those who like you for what you really are, not the facade of what you would rather be, and therefore surround you with those who will actually build upon what is there and help you on your way.
It seems to me, to be the only way to live this one tiny life I’ve got.