You are screwed and I’m not going to sugar coat it.
(Literally, I will not put sugar on anything.)
Everybody today faces an impossible predicament.
You’ve been catapulted into this world (literally shot out of a human body) without an instruction manual.
For 9 months you grew inside of a human body….then all of a sudden you were expected to figure sh*t out on your own.
It’s almost like you woke up in a ferrari going 100 miles an hour headed for a cliff and you’re expected to stop the car.
But you have no clue what a ferrari is…you don’t even know what a car is
You don’t know what a cliff is and you sure as hell don’t know what a brake is
You don’t even know that you’re a human being
You just feel sensations
You’re totally lost and helpless
You know nothing.
This state is what the Greeks called aporia.
The problem is that most people are not in it…
They know nothing, but think they know everything.
They are constantly bullshitting themselves and bullshitting others.
The human body & brain is the most powerful machine in the world, but similarly you have no idea how to operate it.
In some ways, you’re not totally helpless — you have genetic programming and DNA that learns & adapts.
You’re programmed with the capability to learn to speak, walk and survive in social environments.
Your body knows how to grow into a full human being (imagine if you needed to mentally grow all your limbs…). But that’s about it.
The problem is that these SAME adaptive mechanisms also open you up to DECEPTION from others and from yourself.
Your body adapted to find certain things salient that would increase your chances of survival.
Like a barricuda, you’re attracted to shiny objects.
You think you know what you TRULY want…but instead you’re just following what your genetic code finds SHINY.
All of us have innate and adaptive mechanisms that increase chances of getting your genetic material passed on.
Things like conformity, status seeking, wealth accumulation and cravings for sugar.
Happiness is not a priority for your genes…all they want is to procreate and survive. On the serengeti this wasn’t a huge issue.
There was a concordance with these behaviors and the environment.
The drive for sugar was okay because there wasn’t much sugar available, for instance.
But with modernity all of that changed.
Companies created hyper normal versions of stimuli and realized that they could tap into these evolutionary drives.
The drive for sugar was translated into recommendations to eat literal dessert for breakfast…
The drive to accumulate fat turned into a massive rise in obesity…
The drive to accumulate wealth led to the worlds richest people in history while much of the world starves
Because these urges are adaptive — meaning they used to increase survival chances — they are almost impossible to resist.
This was a huge business opportunity.
Another level higher, culture conditioned people to crave these things too.
In fact, culture became a mechanism to justify + glorify them.
For instance, someone who eats just steak is now considered weird compared to someone that eats practical dessert 3 meals a day.
Your brain’s adapted computer code has been hijacked and hacked by these modern stimuli. Hackers found these vulnerabilities and attacked.
These aren’t just problems you can just think your way out of.
Even willpower alone is moot…It’s like your computer has been hijacked and you just shut the volume off.
The virus doesn’t go away.
You need an antiviral software.
You need institutions and practices to fight this hedonic tendency.
Over the course of human history, people realized that humans needed more than mere consumption and survival.
They realized the potential for you to DECEIVE YOURSELF into dedicating your life to these base desires to the point where you can’t pursue anything higher
Your ancestors knew that life was more than just eating, drinking & having sex and created things like religions, philosophies and rituals to instill that wisdom.
(If these religions existed today they’d say to stop wasting all your time on porn and tik tok for instance)
They outsourced this to the cultural layer because they realized that this wasn’t just innate.
Unfortunately human beings don’t come out of the womb yet in a meditation pose with the wisdom it takes to live a good life…
But pretty much all of that wisdom has been extirpated from society over the last few 100 years.
Everybody has forgotten how to operate a human body and live a good human life.
Without consciously defining your values and what makes a good life for YOU it ends up getting programmed by cultural conditioning
But as I discussed cultural conditioning can be corrupted by what’s in vogue…
Corrupt humans –> corrupt culture –> even more corrupt humans
The nuclear family, religions and the schooling system were important to help people resist being overwhelmed by their base desires.
But we’ve destroyed all three, removed the katechon…the lid is off…and now base desires run rampant.
We’ve separated knowledge from wisdom.
The schooling system teaches you random encyclopedic knowledge, but not how to live a good life.
Most parents today weren’t taught this either, thus are in-equipped to teach their kids.
– How to eat- How to be happy- How to find meaning- How to be fulfilled- How to live a good life- How to be a good citizen- How to love
Instead, people just defer to culture & politics to answer these questions.
Another layer down, we don’t even have the capability to DISCUSS MORALITY.
Instead morality has become mere preference justification.
You think things are good for society because YOU WANT THEM. Not because they are inherently good.
Morality is just a battle of wills…
More and more, everything is answered by someone’s beliefs and political affiliations than their actions.
The nuclear family has been destroyed. The education system is propaganda. Religions are gone. Nobody philosophizes (in the socratic sense).
Instead of becoming wise, people simply vote for the “right party” and assume that makes them good & virtuous.
If you hashtag the right thing or post the right instagram photo you’re a good person.
If you don’t, you’re not.
It doesn’t matter what you do in your day to day life — it only matters what you believe.
Life is more than voting left and being a hedonist. But that’s how everybody is living.
And frankly, it’s also more than having a 6 pack and healthy body.
Eating by itself cannot make you live a good life (but I think it is an important part nonetheless).
Once you realize that you too have no clue what a good life means, that’s when you can start actually living one.
There used to be a human operating manual. But it was burned to ashes.
Like after a wild fire we can scavenge a few of the remains.
There’s a page here and there about meat I think I found…There’s another about community and love.
But there’s nothing cohesive.
We’re stumbling around in the dark putting together a manual that was burnt to crisps.
Can it be resuscitated? I think so.
Let me know what you think is part of this operating manual…
Thread inspired by the work of @vervaeke_john