A lot of time went by since I wrote my last philosophical essay, it’s a matter of concentration, trying to grasp the never changing true form of things; the object of knowledge, not just the ever changing shadows; the object of opinion, and to translate what is true into words, again just mere shadows, without loosing the view on the true nature of things in the process, requires a level of concentration beyond what I could sustain in the last time. Sometimes I feel a little envy when I think of the philosophers of old which lived in a time without poisons in food and water, without wireless communication, without chemtrails, and all those other harmful influence which make it way harder to concentrate than it should be. Anyway, in this essay I will attempt to explain what life is all about and why modern life with all the security and materials it offers makes so depressive and apathic even thought we have so much more of almost everything compared to the people of old.
By David Preussen
Living things are born and they die, the time between birth and death we call life, a journey in the land of material existence, just a short trip compared to the age of the world around us. On the question “is there more?”, we have no certain answer, like a traveler who knows neither where he came from nor what his next destination might be we walk through the land of material existence for the time being that is given to us, the time before our visa runs out. And like a traveler trying to get the most out of his travel experience, we try to get the most out of our life, a meaningful experience, happiness, fun, and all those other things usually used in advertisement for travel locations and hotels is what we expect from live.
We know what we want, why than don’t we seem to get it? Why does modern life in many cases no longer provide enough nutrition for happiness and well being even thought we have so much more to our disposal than the people in the days of old? Why does more appear to lead to less? Why is it that modern life with with all the social security, all those things meant to secure us and our life, only seems to undermine our inner security while rendering life boring and in extension unpleasant? Why is it that our modern society in spite of all its material progress is increasingly less conducive to mental health? Do we really understand the nature of happiness and and well being and how those feelings arise? Is happiness, like the materialists believe, truly something that can be measures by things like per capita income? Why is it than that rich people appear to have much higher suicide rates than the poor? Is it simply to much “happiness” for them to handle, a rather strange assumption, or is it that “happiness” is something which can not be directly measured by material standards alone, and that sometimes, happiness and the material standard of living even stand in antagonism to each other?
Our whole modern society is build on the notion that rendering life more secure by taking care of anything for the individual leads to happiness, a better life, but is it not true that without light there could be no darkness, and that without life their could be no death? How than could it be possible for happiness to exist without misery, and for well being without suffering? Is it not the very existence of an opposing state which defines our understanding? And in extension, would that not mean that removing suffering would also remove well being, and that without danger and the chance of making mistakes there could be no sense of accomplishment?
Could it be, like the ancient believed, that man is truly such a foolish and cursed creature that he his forever bound to misery and suffering because this is the only way he can experience happiness and well being, the only way his life, his short trip in the land of material existence, appears worth living to him? Could it really be that without the existence of misery and suffering our journey would appear equally void of happiness and well being because we would not acknowledge those states as such?
It appears like this is the case, and that our modern society, with all those socialistic inventions meant to render life for the individual more easy and secure, and in extension, at least in theory, more happy and enjoyable, negates those very elements of existence which historically rendered life pleasant and worth living for the individual, and that instead of improving his condition, modern society has worsen it by making life a rather tasteless experience, that by providing a safe environment of plenty, modern society leads to a state of lethargic disgust and undermines the inner security and happiness in the individual. It’s a rather unpleasant assumption that would crash any hope for the possibility for an utopia, but it would explain those questions, and what otherwise appeared like contradictions, I pointed out before. It would explain why in some cases more appears to lead to less, why rich people are more likely to be unhappy and to commit suicide than the poor, why happiness and well being may not be measured accurately by things like per capita income, why our society is increasingly less conducive to mental health, and last but not least, why man seems to be bound to misery and suffering.
Plato once pointed out “that only the dead have seen the end of war”, it appears not just that he was right, but also that only the dead have seen the end of misery and suffering, that it is the destiny of our species to suffer, that we are indeed cursed creatures, or like the French thinker Proudhon put it; “ill done”.
Edit: It seems possible that the quote used at the end may not be from Plato but George Santayana
~ by metadave on March 17, 2008.