I don't mean to make this post too personal, but I've been in the midst of the first kind of existential funk in my life. A bunch of negative things have happened around me recently, and as a pretty young guy it changed my world view from being a guy with a simple view of life and what I want and what can keep me going no matter what, to one where I hardly even know what to make of the world anymore.
Is the world a good or bad place? Terrible things happen to people for no meaningful reason, while lots of people are perfectly happy. I feel like I don't understand the world I'm living in. The fact that this is the real world -- where it can be a living hell or heaven on Earth at once. People get depressed - miserable beyond belief. Horrible things can happen to them. It's not a starry-eyed world.
However, it's not all bad either. Isn't it true that the majority of depressed people, even severely depressed people, will find a solution through testing different anti-depressants and etc? Some people get sick and die though. I've had an amazing childhood, and as such I'm only recently getting to realize what the world is all about -- and I don't know what it's like anymore -- whether it's a good or bad place. What even to make of it.
I feel kind of lost, disillusioned. Unsure of what to make of the world. I think on that a lot sometimes, and it can make me feel depressed sometimes. And then I worry that it might be causing me to develop a depression by deciding that life is a hellish place where everyone is doomed to suffer and die rather than have more good times than bad. And I worry that I'll be in the living hell depressed people live in as well.
I'm 20, so I guess this happens a lot. But I don't know, I grew up believing life is a place where you have an awesome time, live old, have grandchildren and die happily. But this seems.. almost rare? That something is bound to screw me over. I don't really know what to make of it. I guess I need more wisdom on this. I just don't know what to make of the world.
I'm scared I'm being too negative and making myself feel miserable. But I'm also scared that it's because I'm finally being honest to myself about the world. I know this kind of goes on and on, and I don't think I'm depressed or anything -- I'm still having a good time -- but I'm utterly confused, and I'd be lying if to say this stuff isn't bothering me a good amount.
I feel like religious people who go through suffering lie to themselves about what will reward them when they're dead when they persevere. Which makes me think that people can't rationalize why they should pick themselves up by the bootstraps when the going gets tough -- that they have to invent some false reward for continuing. What can I tell myself that is true?
I'm not a spiritual person. I'm highly skeptical. Recently, I've developed the following questions I want to be able to answer to myself:
- How can a non-religious person justify or rationalize hope or optimism in an absurd world?
- How negative am I painting things? How can anyone's interpretation be more right than the other? And if none are more right than the other, why should I subscribe to any one interpretation?
- Can you acknowledge the absurd and still be hopeful and optimistic? I feel like you either can acknowledge the absurd, or lie to yourself. That doesn't mean that you can't find meaning in life, I will also contend.