I grew up examining things. It came naturally. I was introspective by nature. I always wanted to know why. This was considered an irritant by my elders until I reached a certain age, and then I was told it was a strength. While I think a certain level of introspection and intentional philosophizing is healthy, I managed to find no motivation for living because of my extremes. I disassembled ideas and principles to bare bones and found that I had nothing to live for.
I was amazed later on when I first read Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes confirmed my suspicion that more was wrong with the world than with my view of it. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. And yet he managed to proclaim “All is vanity. Everything is utterly meaningless.” He knew there was no point. I saw this too, and lost all desire to strive for a lifetime of nothings.
He knew that whatever stuff you accumulate, you can’t take it with you when you die. He knew that rich and poor alike get sick and die. Righteous and unrighteous alike suffer. You can work your ass off for 50 years, missing out on everything else but work, and you’ll end up with nothing. You can spend a lifetime loving someone and raising children, but they can get sick or die.
You cannot control every aspect of life. You do not decide which way the wind blows, and you do not decide which countries’ economies fail. You could live a pauper’s life, saving every penny for a retirement you never live to see. Or you may live to see it and find that you’d rather give all the money back to savor more of the moments along the way.
I watched. I watched and I learned and I studied and I hurt. People can teach so much just by living in front of you.
At the end of it all, I saw that I am not in control. I saw that I absolutely anything I count on can change against my wishes. I saw a world of no guarantees. I saw a world full of choices with no guaranteed results. I saw too many risks and too many potential outcomes of each decision. I felt paralyzed. I could think myself into a stupor and want to curl up into a little ball and hide.
This was supposed to be about formal, scholarly philosophy. That’s not what came out this time. I’ll give another try sometime soon.