My password worked, can you believe it?? I haven’t blogged since 2013.
I’ve noticed. It’s been pretty quiet here.
My last post was about the meaning of life, and if I say so myself it was a damn good post.
It was alright. So what was so important that you came out of retirement?
Happiness? That’s a myth, right?
No sir, happiness is about balance.
So, back when we last spoke, I was not in a very good place. I felt lost and alone and just plain miserable. Now however, I just feel lost and alone. 😛
I kid. Life is great, even if it is pretty shitty.
You’re not making much sense, buddy.
Exactly. I’ve spent a huge amount of time looking into happiness. I’ve read books on Philosophy, Buddhism, how people define happiness, and how the human mind works. There are so many things I want to discuss, like the Four F’s, but that’s all for another time. Right now I want to talk about scope.
No. When I say scope, I’m talking about your view of the world and life in general. You see, one of the reasons I was completely miserable was because I used to look at life from 10,000 feet, if you will. I would zoom out and question human existence at the widest level. Why are we here? What’s the whole point? The Earth will be destroyed. Nothing I do will matter in 100 years, or less.
Kill me now.
Right? I would see people who were happy and I’d notice something about most of them, they were blissfully ignorant about our inevitable demise. They didn’t think about those distant thoughts, they focused on what was directly in front of them. I was looking from 10,000 feet, they were looking mere inches before them. The problem, I find, is that once you know to see from 10,000 feet, it’s not easy to zoom in and ignore the big picture. You cannot go back to ignorance.
I can’t recall who said it (note to self, find source), but a famous philosopher, while in the midst of depression himself, said that there are three types of people, those who are blissfully ignorant; those who see the futility of it all and end themselves, and those who see the futility of it all but remain curious enough to see what happens next. I paraphrase, of course.
I don’t know about most, but I find that the root of my unhappiness is often derived from feeling helpless. I’m a control freak, and things outside of my control just knock my legs out from under me.
It has taken me a long time to finally come to grips with the point behind the Serenity prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
My life has changed so much for the better since I started realizing that worrying about the things you cannot affect is like praying for things you don’t want. When I feel a negative feeling, I have to ask myself if there’s anything I can do to make the issue not be an issue, and if not, then I have to stop letting it get to me.
What’s this got to do with scope?
Well, I’ve had to find a balance in scope. Ignorance is bliss, but that’s not possible for me. I seek knowledge. Life is wonderful the more you know, as long as you don’t get lost in the big picture. Keep the big picture in the back of your mind, learn about everything, but try to stay close to the ground. There’s so much beauty in front of you and you might miss it. A sunrise is an amazing miracle. Every day you are not sick is the result of millions of things going right. Every meal you eat is an opportunity which could have gone wrong.
“To live is the rarest thing in the world.
Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde
The world has had and will have horrible moments for the rest of human existence and beyond, but there is only one you. Your life is unique and you should spend as much of it in wonder as possible. Better yourself, mind and body. Read. Take trips. Affect change where you can, but let go of the rest.
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies, Alfie.
“When I was a boy at St. Alban’s Secondary School, the school took us on this cultural trip to observe art at one of the… one of those big famous London museums. Anyway, when I was there, I came across this statue of a Greek goddess in marble. Aphrodite, something like that. Beautiful, she was. Perfect female form. Chiseled features. Exquisite. I stood in awe of her. Finally, the teacher calls us all over, and I’m walking past it, and on the way I notice, in the side of this Greek goddess, all these cracks, chips, imperfections. Ruined her for me. Well, that’s Nikki. A beautiful sculpture… damaged… in a way you don’t notice ’til you get too close.” – Alfie
Enjoy the art that is life, but don’t stare too closely.
Really? You’re ending with a quote from Alfie? Ugh.
Fine. How about Epictetus?
“Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.” – Epictetus