Saturday, 25 September 2010

We simply do not know!

Social norm: I don't know what to do with my life...?!
Blog's response: Good

It is a common cliche that life is a train. This idea that we are all passengers on this great voyage into the unknown. The analogy is so idealistic and somewhat beautiful that many never come to question it. Yet contained within it is an assumption that we cannot control our life. We are all victims of the notion of fate. Life is as structured and rigid as the steel tracks of which the great vehicle runs on. I have seen this same feeling, same desire in so many people I have met. More often than not we all want to know where we are going in life. What is the end goal? What are you trying to achieve? Interestingly enough, I think if you truly answered these profound philosophical questions most of us would quit our day jobs, change our lives irreversibly and go ride an elephant on India or something. I accept that I do not understand fate. I do not understand the role that chance and coincidence play in my life. Perhaps I never will. But my life so far has taught me two things that I hold dear and would defend deeply. It is these two things I wanted to share with you. I hope that by reading this you will see similar feelings in regards to what I talk about and reflect (ever so slightly) on them. So, here are the two assumptions that I feel people make throughout life that I have thought about in recent times

(1) You have to know where you are going

(2) Chaos, chance and coincidence happens & should happen

I find that we are all scurrying around trying to find this omniscient reason for living. We all feel that we must decide who and what we are, when really we have no idea who are what we are. We make a number of decisions throughout our lives, some we are sure with, some we aren't and we get pigeon-holed into a place that is acceptable somehow to society. We have a role and we are a citizen to a greater cause. Whatever that may be. My mother used to tell me an old saying which has been so ingrained in my mind that I would comfortably refer to it as somewhat of a family motto. She often said "If you work hard and you didn't bother anyone doing it, then you've done well". This is a philosophy which permeates my entire family, based on the old values of those at the head of it. My grandmother and grandfather. My family background, from my mothers side certainly, is a history of grafters. They worked from nothing to something. On many occasions she has told me stories about how they went weeks with electric, worked 20 hour days just to make enough to survive, after all "it was how it was back in those days". My grandad was a builder by trade and my Nana did everything else that wasn't building. My family trade, as a general rule of thumb is the hotel/guest house trade. Admirable certainly. If any of those physics majors tell you that something cannot come from nothing, well I encourage any physics major to go justify that to my grandmother. She would in all probability beat you to death with a scone followed by shaking her head in disappointment. Anyways, tangent...although I agree entirely that someone should work hard. Life is as much as you put it. Input=output in my opinion, although I am in a privileged place in life where autonomy and safety nets allows me to make such a statement. What I don't agree with is that it is predetermined. More specifically and importantly I don't believe that you have to predetermine it yourself. You often hear it don't you " I want to be a doctor", "I want to own a restaurant". Whilst I do accept that in order to achieve some goals, you have to somewhat play the game and jump through the right hoops, I don't accept that you cant then go off and play another game. If you accept that you can do anything you set your mind to. If you accept that just because you go through one door another can always be revisited, revised, re adapted and readopted at any point. Then all that weight I often see in people who feel disappears.

Again I hear it: "I don't know what to do with my life".

Well, my response to that is...'great'. Not 'oh my god sort your life out' which is the undertone that most people make right? We all assume that not knowing what to do in life is like some disease. Like an illness we must shake off. Not knowing what you want to do in life has all too often plague me throughout my studies. I often felt the pressure, the demand and the necessity within our social norms to know exactly were I 'fit' in all this mess. I worried about it, I sat and had long semi-philosophical debates about were my life was taking me. Where the train was stopping next, whether or not i should get off or wait a little longer for the next stop. Or...just keep travelling. After a decade or so of this same thought. I have come to the painstakingly slow realisation that you really don't have to know. You really don't. After all, in the profound world of natural science the default assumption echoes this exact point. The default asnwer is and should always be: "we simply do not know". We have not worked it out yet and therefore we dont know and that is ok.

In fact, I applaud those who accept that they simply don't know. Regardless to whether or not you have a profession or at least chosen a direction for a profession the same point still lies. If you can realise that it is not important to know. If you can realise that it doesn't matter whether you wake up tomorrow and want to be a plumber (no offence intended) and that you are, like most people on the train with your head out the window and the wind blow in your hair. You are on a journey of many oceans and many seas and it is quite remarkable. To date I have gone through life not knowing where I am going. Whilst I accept I am fortunate for a number of reasons, I think that instead of people fearing what is unknown and unsure that we should embrace it. We should see it as part of the fun in life. Part of something great. It is perfectly fine. It is more than perfectly fine. It is perfect. If you can accept that you simply dont know and that is ok. It is a powerful thing.

Life is about the journey. Not the destination.

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