Cats and Theories
a blog by coticheque
a blog by coticheque

Life is not something to enjoy

When you’re living your life through, it’s mostly routine, pain and struggle, mild daily suffering. Neverending doubt, anxiety whether you’re on a right way, whether your life goes in any meaningful direction. An upside thing though is that such conscious way of living allows you to calibrate your course of actions quite precise and on time. Yet, living it is a struggle. And while looking back, you might at least say that most likely you have chosen the wisest option out of alternatives, in the best case happiness can only be contemplated retrospectively. You don’t feel it while living the life, at least not until you reflect on it from some future perspective.

Anyway, those people who say that life is a joy deserve a close examination. By default, life is not joyful, it was never meant as something to enjoy, even though this is what all self-help books advocate. Important note: modern-day books. It’s just a lucky coincidence that in the 21st century we managed to get rid of most gruesome inconveniences of physical existence thanks to advancement in medicine and hygiene. Just 50 years ago dental treatment was a very different experience.

But even looking at the basics, the maintenance of a physical existence is an extreme burden. Most of the daytime you’re either tired or sleepy. Not a single day of my life I could relax and breath normally without balancing on the edge of hypoxia. At night you cannot fall asleep due to diminishing psyche of the old age. The weekends are spent fighting the entropy in your habitat (aka cleaning the apartment). The idea of a joyful life is a propaganda of the big-pharma. People think there’s something wrong with them and go ask for antidepressant prescriptions. The truth is that joyful life is unnatural to humans.

Can a cup of specialty coffee with an avo toast for brunch counterbalance the misery of a human body and mind, its constant need for maintenance and mental validation? I don’t think so.

Even naive utilitarians agreed that there’s a hierarchy of human experiences. The ability to achieve intellectual insights or obtain sophistication to enjoy Homer novels and Wagner operas rank higher than eating nice stuff for lunch. But ordinary people don’t particularly classify Homer and Wagner as small pleasures of ordinary existence. It’s more often the opposite – when you achieve a sufficient level of sophistication to find pleasure in such stuff, most likely you’ll find yourself too smart to enjoy this ordinary existence.

Same with happiness. Would a Middle Ages peasant strive to achieve happiness in life? Or narrate to himself while working in the fields that every moment of his existence on Earth ought to be a joy? No, he would rather strive for some other meaning that would at least portray his daily actions as something not wasted in vain. The conclusion is obvious: joy and happiness are unnatural attributes of human existence, the concepts of them only arose as a lucky side effect of contemporary improvements in western living, but in no way they’re meant to provide humans with a meaning of life. Don’t fall for the trap of the folk psychology of Instagram gurus. Suffer mindfully and consciously and at least be genuine at it!

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