Why do anything? To survive, yes, of course. But for more than a billion of us, food, water, and shelter are far from dreams. Quite the contrary; they’re expectations.
Often, getting a job solves that conundrum.
With economic utility established, I ask this privileged group again. Why do anything?
My search (insofar my age permits) has resulted in only one answer: Because you want to. Collusion between your environment and genes has created, and is still creating, a concoction that is you. From which emerges what you want.
Neither is Mr Gates isn’t trying to solve disease nor Mr Musk providing humanity with a hedge against self-annihilation because that’s the “right thing to do.” Yes, it happens to fit nicely in our perception of what is the “right thing to do”, but if they didn’t want to spend their time there, they wouldn’t.
I suspect this reality isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Here, however, ‘want’ represents a deceivingly versatile range of meaning. To simplify, we may introduce another element into the mix: Time. After all, what is Life if not the experience of passing time?
Hence, we end up with ‘want’ in the short-term, and the same in the long-term.
I say ‘deceivingly’ because whenever we come across resources — energy, capital, option, etc. — we tend to confuse the two and inadvertently pick the former (Short term over long term). Our primitive brain, the part that controls emotion, influences our perception to our detriment.
This is, of course, because it covers Time with the proverbial cloak of invisibility.
TAKE BACK CONTROL.
You, the prefrontal cortex, must add Time back into the equation.
So, now that you have, ask yourself: ‘Is what you thought you wanted really what you want?’ If my experience is any indicator, the answer tends to be no.
Instead, what you truly want will be something else. It could be anything, but a common characteristic is this: it will be difficult to attain.
Right there! Do you see it? The delta between your current state and the future you wish to be part of. Right there, is where your hero’s journey lies.
In the midst of the arduous untraveled road that culminates in the outcome that satisfies only you, will you find what you are looking for.
You may choose to accept this fact, or not. The sun will make its final descent either way.
I have come to terms with it because I wish only one thing: not to experience regret and helplessness in my penultimate chapter.
Yes, once the last page is turned, that’s it. It’s over. Well, is it? You may choose to believe so, or you may choose to concede to the ignorance that accompanies mortality.
Thus, yes, once the last page is turned, it could be over, or not. I don’t know. I suspect no one does. I suspect no one will for generations to come. And that too might be an understatement.
What I do know is that a fruit that ends with a sour last bite leaves a sour taste in the mouth regardless of how sweet it was.
So, do the needful right now, my friend. While you are young and Time is on your side.
I believe you wish the same thing as me.