Friday, January 19, 2007

Philosophy of Life

I was watching Dead Like Me the other day.  I enjoy that show in the same way I enjoy other acquired tastes: there's something bitter about it.  The theme of that episode is that you had to grab as much experience while you could while you were alive.  I don't know what that means.  Strike that--I know what it means, but what are the implications?  I do not want to live my life like a pinball--bumping into and rebounding from collisions with solid objects!  Am I a vampire?  Do I have to suck the marrow out of every bone in my path?  Or can I make choices? 

My philosophy:  What I can't do is make choices based solely on fear.  Sure I'd rather be a writer.  I'd rather work at home all day long and get up at noon.  I'd like to work from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. and never see another person as long as I live.  But that would be living my life based on fear.  So always doing what I want is hardly the best path to a fulfilling life.  I have to employ wisdom, too.  But I don't have to feel guilty because I'm not doing something that someone else chooses to do. 

I don't have to feel shame and guilt about the way I'm living my life.  I don't have to question whether or not my life is fulfilled (or whether or not someone else might consider it fulfilling).  It is fulfilled.  I've lived an incredible life.  Sure I've missed out on some things--but I've had other adventures.  And the value I'll take to my grave is that I tried to do my best.  If fear ever got in the way of that--well, I ask forgiveness. 

So, this is a little later, and I've re-read the above, and made myself sick.  What an effete, privileged, bourgeois set of principles.  I want to vomit.  Didn't Sartre say that the first stage of existential crisis was nausea? 

I've created a little cocoon of video pleasure in my living room, with LCD tv, media center pc, and all the bells and whistles.  All on credit.  Well, the PC is paid for, as is the software.  The colors, the sounds, the imagery, all of it massages a little pleasure center in my brain.  Like an alcoholic, I want more more more!  More until I feel normal! 

So, the first half of this entry is what?  Is it my higher self--or is it an excuse?  Will I, as my spiritual guide Dr. Vicktor Frankl suggests, have the ability to take responsibility for my own meaning?

"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual." p.122

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