Scientific Research & Self-Development Activism
This is somewhat an answer to the "should we care" post and to all the hate that was put on the "idiots" that don't want to change the world. But at the same time, it's a whole new discussion that's why I posted it here instead. No need to go read that other post to understand what follows.
First of all, sorry for the obnoxious title, I had to draw your attention.
Two things to remember as you read my post, before I start:
Firstly, keep in mind that the state of mind that I am presently in is probably temporary, maybe not but I don't know, it's just where I'm at in my self development.
Secondly, the title of this discussion may sound controversial on such a pro "sacrifice-for-others-and-for-a-better-world" forum, but hear me out as I try to defend my view, and please try to be open-minded while reading and also while writing me your thoughts.
Presently, I consider myself a non-activist, meaning that I don't try to change the world, or to make it a better place, in any way. Also, this state of mind applies to my personal life : I don't feel the need to accomplish anything, to be proud of myself, in any way. However, I still want to improve my personal happiness and my understanding of who I am (so I hope I still have my place here), which is never complete since I always end thinking "I don't know" when I try to figure myself out. And I am well aware that I may completely change my mind in a few months or years. My life is an ongoing process, and I haven't always been like that. I'll have to talk about my last three years now for you to understand what got me where I am. Pardon me in advance for the time it will take.
So don't get me wrong, I've been there, I posted on this forum 3 years ago and I was all "monk mode" and "we should all sacrifice a part of us to others" and "I want to accomplish a big project" and "I want my life to have meaning" and so on. I've written here about how I felt that need to "be more than just that simple "me". Hell I even got a "props" from Dean on an I Power video!!! Anyway, I felt as if I didn't accomplish anything, as if I wasted my life. I felt that all those years I was a children and I had to become an adult. I felt like I had to learn discipline and responsibilities. I felt like I had to have a positive and strong impact on others... I felt like I had to do my duties as a citizen (getting informed, involved, etc), and as a student (reading more books about philosophy). As an example of what I did to accomplish that, I tried to write a whole fantasy book, to have a positive impact on others and also on myself. I wrote 200 pages and prolly 50 more while preparing my story and my world. I did a similar but smaller thing with learning piano and a few other stuff.
I did all sorts of things, personally and for my contribution to the world, but mostly the book, and it went well for while. I had to write 4 hours everyday and some other stuff as well, but as I look back I realize that I was never completely content with that lifestyle. Something was always a little bit off, or wrong. I was doing all that partly (a big part) from the feeling that I had to. And that never drove me a lot. So I ended up stopping the book, and all the other stuff as well, and I had a paradigm shift in the way I understood myself. And it was such a relief. I don't know what had put me in that "monk" state of mind, maybe all the children TV shows and video games that teach you, in a way, to be a "hero". But I realized I'm no hero, and I don't have to be one to be content with my life. So suddenly, the whole "children to adult, learning discipline, positive impact, meaning of life, getting informed and involved" thing fell apart completely as I observed people and understood something (although I may be wrong) :
People do stuff, not because they feel the need to, but because they like what they do, except things that are necessary for survival of course, and people that extend that "acting on need" thing to unnecessary things tend to be less happy. And I would go as far as saying that people who dedicate their life to helping others also do it because they like it. They have some drive. People are driven by passion, love for what they do. And the passion I had for writing wasn't strong enough, and for the other stuff as well, and I realized that although it's important to be informed as a citizen of a democratic country, I just don't like getting informed, I just don't like reading philosophy books, and so on. I'm a man with no big passions, just a lot of small interests (to reassure you, when it comes to voting wisely, since I'm more or less obliged and I agree about the system, I do my duty although it's boring).
Now, again, don't get me wrong. I like to think, I have opinions. I don't like reading to learn but I LOVE to listen (in my philosophy courses for example) and I LOVE to talk, and I LOVE to think. I can talk and think and listen for HOURS about a political or sociological or philosophical subject. But when it comes to getting my facts right, or to digging into a subject to have a profound understanding of it, I just don't find it fun enough.
Same goes for every other aspect, and this is where it may get controversial and frustrate you. I also stopped trying to have a positive impact on the world, stopped caring about problems of other countries or even problems of my country, I stopped trying to make the world a better place (even if I watch and love the vlogbrothers lol), because I - don't - enjoy - it. To be completely honest, I don't think I'm responsible about others, just because they are humans, or Canadians, or even my own family for that matter! That whole "human race is a big family" thing I don't buy it. I don't think I have the responsibility to help or to contribute more than my laws ask me to. Countries were built to give people the freedom of living their life as they intend and to protect their rights to do so. And if I'll very well admit that I'm not improving my world or my country or my family, I can very well assure you that I'm not making it worse either. Don't see all in black and white guys there are the problems, yes, the solutions, yes, but also what is just neutral, and my defense to the pro-activism is right there. I think it is naive to think that there are only problem-people, and solution-people. Truth is always more complicated than that, always. Things are not clear cut, good or bad, worse or better, etc.
So enough about the past and my arguments. Here is a glimpse of my life right now. Right now I'm content enjoying simple things as I always did before I went in that "monk" state. I'm happy with my little routines, my "super smash bros 64 thursdays" with my friends, my "tuesday movie night" with other friends, playing tennis or hockey, watching youtube videos (often about important subjects but then again because I find it fun and it makes me think but I don't feel the need or the responsibility to spread the word or whatever). I also have a job of course, and I'm planning on becoming a philosophy teacher after my studies. And the thing is, I presently find nothing wrong with my personal choices (although, and I repeat myself here, it may change, since my way of understanding myself and life has had quite a few paradigm shifts).
Then why the heck do I post this? Well, I want to hear your thoughts, your opinions about someone who made different choices than most of ppl here on this forum. Do I still belong here? (even if I was gone for 3 years lol), since I continue trying to evolve on a personal state but at the same time I don't care for the rest of the world. Are my points defensible? Am I a coward, or lazy? What do you think? Say it all, in a respectful manner please. Try and shake things in my head, that's what I'm here for. I'm here to mix your views with mines and see if it changes my perspective, hoping it can also open your minds to mine.
P.S. I don't promise I will answer to all of you, I also don't promise I won't be gone again for an other 3 years. I never make any promises.
"...and I'm planning on becoming a philosophy teacher after my studies."
Wow. I didn't see that coming.
Is there any particular philosophical ideology that you identify with and prefer more than others?
Well, everyone has the right to do whatever they want with their life, and if you have learned anything from this site and the people here you will do whatever makes you happy. Not everyone has the same motives or goals, but in the end I believe if you are doing the right thing in your mind and you have the confidence to make it through, you've already helped someone!
But I can totally understand why you have these "paradigm shifts", I also had my fair share of them, it's just a natural process of developing yourself, and as long as they continue you are on the right track :)
Agreed, however, people shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want if it causes damage or suffering, directly or indirectly to others. That's what I get at in my reply below :)
i got a nice question:D
if you want to help someone, does helping yourself count as helping someone?
"Put the breather mask on yourself before assisting others"
I definitely think helping yourself counts as helping someone :) However, if helping yourself means causing pain or suffering for others, then you shouldn't do it.
It gets a lot more complicated however when we think about times where someone would need to cause suffering for others in order to help themselves. Of course in the ideal world I wished we lived in, no one would have to make a choice like that, but alas, we don't live in an ideal world... :\
I think that debate would deserve it's own post if you want to discuss it ;)
Btw that thing they put on airlines, I was thinking, if they made those cards today, would they be more likely to say "please assist others with their breather masks after you have put your own on successfully" or something along those lines? Nowadays, it does seem like people are focused on just helping themselves and once they are sorted, they are not obliged to help anyone else. The above post kinda goes with this tbh although I'm sure, this as an extreme example and situation and anyone sane would at least help someone with a breather mask in the event they could xD
Hey Vincent, welcome back to the site :)
I can't trust ning with lengthy forum replies, so here is my reply [off-site, no ads]
Great post. Yeah, I definitely realize that trying too hard to change the world defeats the purpose: it is better sometimes to just exist however it feels natural to. To live without constant stress, improvement.. if you aren't feeling that it helps.
A great secret of modern living is that, intrinsically, there is no set of values or virtues or achievements that anyone must meet, if indeed people exist today without being able to make them. Or as I say, "you can't ever be more than what you are now". You can invest in yourself personally, in a mindfulness sense and in a knowledge sense, but by no means does any man(human) need to be smart; skilled; adaptable just as he doesn't need to be good looking. Mainstream society, at its worst, will have you chasing the same goals when they were never a possibility in the first place.. and there is something great about being free from that.
Personally, I do the things I do because I happen to be one of the people who is able and willing. But I wouldn't expect people to be anything more than they comfortably can. Life, today, is pretty primitive in terms of awareness, mindfulness, worldly clarity, knowing your own experience capabilties... but quality of life is better in living more naturally, so it's not a bad thing to embrace that today. I see that we are only in early stages of our manipulation of worldly knowledge for making our experiences better - and this encompasses all of culture, technology, medical care, ethics. Anyway, the point is: we are limited by the systems of our time. There's no shame in not being perfect. It's just not possible.
I did that "monk"-thing myself all those years ago. It was fun, and went good for a while; but i wouldn`t think bad of you for not being able to continue like that for an extended period of time like you did.
And as for not wanting to "help others", having conversations with too many people that "just don`t give a fuck", and are all about "getting some paper", can be very affective at demotivating you. I think it`s important to spend some time talking to people who if they don`t care, at least takes the time to listen to what you say.
And about your current habbits, super smash bros 64 is awesome:D