Monday, 11 April 2016

Whisky, Cigarettes and the Meaning of Life

RooshV is a smart guy and playing a long game none of the rest of us get. He’s found his audience, and is cultivating them well. Some of it is good, some is okay, and some is just old-fashioned twaddle. Like this...
Lifestyle design has become so popular among both men and women because meaning and purpose have been removed from their lives, particularly god, family, and tribe. Without those, you have nothing to ground your existence on...
No. No. No.

The meaning and purpose of any person’s life cannot be found outside of them. We can decide to dedicate ourselves to a goal that is external to us, but it isn’t the goal that brings meaning, it’s the dedication. Any athlete, artist, scholar or entrepreneur will tell you that. Children don’t bring meaning, they bring the opportunity for the parents to find meaning in the task of raising those children - an opportunity that a noticeable proportion of parents don’t take. God cannot bring meaning, since there isn’t one (or a hundred): what makes the meaning of the religious life is the devotion and dedication. Meaning isn’t an object, it’s a process: it isn’t a goal or an objective, it’s the manner of one's living.

I read somewhere a story about a man who was having a slow recovery after heart surgery. One day the doctor suggested he put something on his bedside cabinet to remind him of why he was getting well. A couple of days later the doctor returns and is shocked to find a bottle of whisky and a carton of cigarettes on the man’s cabinet. “What’s all this?” the doctor asks, and the man reminds him about his suggestion. “Well, I meant a photograph of your wife and children, or some pastime like walking or sailing,” the doctor stutters. The man looks at him. “I’m not married,” he explains, “and I’ve worked hard all my life. I have no hobbies. This, the whisky and cigarettes, this is what I like to do, and it’s why I want to get better.” And the doctor did indeed notice that the man had improved even over the last two days.

That man understood. It wasn't whisky and cigarettes: it was smoking and drinking and all the things that go with that. The process, not the products.

God, family and tribe were never purposes, but institutions to whom we owed something for providing social order, support, welfare and work (maybe, if you were lucky). Today we discharge that obligation by working and paying taxes.

Roosh is right about one thing: find your purpose and your "lifestyle” will follow. Mine, as an ongoing amend for being a drunk and a psychological mess for so long, is to be a quiet, modest, useful worker and a quiet, considerate neighbour, as well as a reasonable brother, son and friend. From that, the early nights, training, work and quiet living follow.

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