Saturday, January 16, 2010

This is the purpose of life??

"In every one of us there are two ruling and directing principles, whose guidance we follow where ever they may lead; the one being an acquired innate desire of pleasure; the other, an acquired judgement which aspires after excellence."
-- Socrates

I think this means that there are two reasons that we, as human beings, do things. One being, for joy, pleasure, happiness. To do something just because you want to and it keeps you living.
The second reason being, so that you can excel, achieve, gain, and/or become something greater. Something that you couldn't have become or achieved without having done all the things before hand. Something you can't just naturally be.

So basically Socrates just told me: I can do something just to do something and be happy (scratch that ....) and be content.
OR I can do something so that it ultimately leads me to be able to do something else.

Sometimes when you break things down and simplify, life just seems so silly. But even though I expected something more mindblowing from such a distinguished astute philosopher such as Socrates - I gotta give him credit. It makes sense. I totally agree.

Have you ever sat down and wondered "What is the purpose of life?"
I hope you haven't. Because I have ... and its not a pretty thing to think about. It can really screw with your head. But it's really not as complicated as I used to think. I guess, after breaking it down with Socrates, I kind of realize that the purpose of life is to do things. No matter what is is, or what it is for. People just do things. And as you continue to do things, life goes on.

Thus my second quote of the day:
"In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about in life. It goes on."
-- Robert Frost.

On page 60 (yeah I should have done this a while ago but just forgot!) I was supposed to sit in a public place and pretend to be an alien and take notes on human behavior and customs.

So here I am, at Starbucks, on a Saturday afternoon, people watching.

From my notes I can sum up human behavior and customs as follows:
Some people are loud. Always talking. Laughing.
Some are quiet. Just looking. I can't conclude what it is they are looking at. They just look.
Almost everybody is with somebody. Or multiple people.
And when someone is alone, they have something else to accompany them. A book, a newspaper. Even though they don't have another person to talk to, its like they can still talk and communicate through the text of something else.
Its okay to touch each other. Hold hands.
People pay money in order to get something else. Food and drink.
Everybody has their own stuff. A bag, a purse, a backpack. They keep it close to them.
People are walking. I can't conclude where they are walking to, or why.
Some people come and go quickly, some have not left yet. I can't conclude where they are going when they leave. And I can't conclude why somebody hasn't left, because there isn't much to do here necessarily either. They are just sitting here and talking. Why here?
Other people are actively doing stuff. In the same uniform. They do what they are asked to do by the people who seem to be doing nothing.

Back to Socrates...
People come into Starbucks and sit and read, sit and talk, sit and tell a story and laugh with friends. And they accomplish very little besides living. Doing something. And enjoying themselves, because of their "innate desire of pleasure," according to Socrates.
Other people are working. They have a task at hand - to make a grande nonfat mocha cappuccino - not because it makes they happy. But rather because by doing this, they are working hard and making money which will allow them to do something else and achieve something greater. Such as a promotion, or a big check that can buy them something new and great. They are doing something becuase they aspire something greater, according to Socrates.

The purpose or meaning of life is a funny thing to think about.
There are moments in our life when we do things for a purpose. And there are moments when we do things just because.
Either way, as life contiues around me in Starbucks...people just do things. And I will probably never know the real reason why. But thats life. You do things for any reason. And it goes on.

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