Cats and Theories
a blog by coticheque
a blog by coticheque

On personal eschatology

What’s the perceived direction of your life? It it a downhill slope or an upward ascend? Do you believe in progress (regardless of how widely its concept is being criticized) or do you envisage your personal eschatology?

Judging from my own background, perception of life as a route in downward direction is just something more natural. Whether it’s your mother saying you should enjoy school, as afterwards it’s only going to be an eternal torture: 40 years of having to work full-time, 5 days per week. Maybe it’s your younger self looking at adults around, thinking there’s no life after the age of 25, but only despair, office job, marriage and mortgage. You may object that this attitude is only familiar to people prone to depression, but antidepressant prescriptions are growing worldwide, so apparently it’s not just me who has a problem.

You need to possess a certain privilege to perceive life’s course in the opposite way. Sometimes it takes a dozen years to attain such privilege.

So… what’s the story of your life? Here’s the story of mine.

Life used to be pretty fascinating around the age of 16. Instead of planning future or thinking about higher education, we used to create art: shoot movies and music videos, write and record songs, draw pictures and take photographs with a film camera. The world seemed like an interesting place around the year 2008: there was always something fascinating to discover on the Internet, in the school library or in a movie rental place behind the corner: poems, journals of others, movies by underground directors. At the young age, such things leave a long-lasting emotional footprint. Afterwards, at the later stages of life, this time was always perceived and remembered as something great, lost and unattainable.

Creative spirit was lost upon entering the next stages of education. I started the University education in the year 2010. In the University people tend to get interested in more conventional affairs of human existence, banal stuff that seems exciting due to its novelty. Social interactions, dating, consumption of mind-altering substances, attendance of social events, and other adventures, you name it. Some people find this mode of living more fascinating than others and adopt it as their permanent lifestyle.

For me, an eye-opening change occurred around the year 2013, when I had a chance to move abroad for half a year and experience the foreign way of education. What was planned to be just another adventure had a long-lasting impact on life. Turned out, the world has a path outlined for you, and you are welcome to embark on it, and pursue it. Life in a third-world country unfortunately conceals existence of this path, so you need to get acquainted with the world’s standards by yourself. Since then, I knew exactly what to do. Get good grades, get some work experience, participate in the University’s extracurricular activities, secure internships, prepare for international examinations, go abroad for a good Master’s program, get more internships, emigrate, leave your third-world country forever. That was accomplished by the year 2015.

Fast forward to 2019: having done everything by the book, you find yourself quite settled. You have secured a decent job that pays bills, your new home country has a liberal jurisdiction that allows for a moderately high level of life and personal freedoms, you’ve been lucky enough to find security and acceptance in personal relationships. And now what? That’s the exact moment when for most people life starts going downhill. Or, more like… gradually transforms into a desperate state of a dead-hearted stagnation disguised under the label of stability, the middle-class complacency.

Unlike in student years, the world doesn’t offer you a pre-defined path anymore, you have already achieved the end-point of all guides, and need to figure out the rest independently. For most people, the need for external guidance is so strong that personal development trainings seem extremely appealing. Upon the University graduation, people are no longer forced to use rational methods of critical reasoning. Subscribing to a curriculum of a self-help guru who promises you to achieve prosperity through a mix of esoteric practices sounds like a right thing to do. Mixing astrology, yoga and popular psychology seems like a reasonable way to attract success into your life. The adventurous lifestyle typical to high school and first years of the University seems appealing like never before. Going for an eso-trip to some Asian country sounds like a hopeful promise, somethings promising to reset your spirit and reveal your ‘life path’. Yet, it’s all going downhill, and keeps going.

People strive for meaning. Unfortunately, they often have to rely on meanings pre-produced by others, and what’s even more dreadful – produced by their contemporaries, ignorant and short-sighted. The only truth however is that a human condition is queer and uncanny, and a truthful way to live one’s life can only be attained through invention of one’s own code of rules to follow and meanings to aspire.

It took me around 10 years to return to the same blissful point when creative pursuits seem to be the most natural thing to do, to attain the point of view directed again towards progression, not a dreadful stagnation. Could the same thing have been achieved without all those years in between? I doubt it. If I have chosen to pursue a creative profession at the age of 16, I would have probably ended up either as a props master in a theatre or a camera operator with a salary of just above the bare minimum and a hatred towards profession.

Of course, you cannot skip the basics – you first need to ensure satisfaction of the most basic necessities. Follow the standard path that the world outlines for you, learn how to play by the rules and master this skill. I think, in my previous post about the strategy of life I have overlooked this level in the hierarchy of needs – to become conventionally successful in order to check off a need for social respect.

I guess they’re right, when they say that life develops like a spiral. So the first coil is to find a way to satisfy and forever forget about the basic necessities, making sure their attainment doesn’t exhaust your time and energy. Only after that, it’s possible to look back and identify what has always been important, what you enjoyed when the question of money and conventional success was not within the scope of attention. If you take off at a high-start, life will soon leave you disillusioned. However, if you don’t reattain your truth afterwards, the conclusion will be no less dismal: it will all inevitably go downhill, towards a sad eschatological finish of your personal life-quest.

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