My Philosophy of Life

It's been a while

It's been a while.

Listening to an interview with Dan Carlin, he said that somebody said once that "History is philosophy by example."

That is, you have a human, they're put into a situation. They come up with a religion or philosophy that they somehow cobble together to make their way forward. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Many times it's changed or switched off along the way.

This strikes me as honest to the way I've observed humans actually operating. No matter what, we seek to put ourselves in some greater Platonic narrative and use that as a guide both going forward and as a way of explaining what the past looks like to us.

So here's mine. I'm three things: existentialist, stoic, and anti-solipsist.

Existentialist: I believe that the only true thing we own as humans are our choices. Even people "locked in", paralyzed and unable to move, have the choice of what to think about. This means that our ability to make choices with passion is the only way to be our authentic self.

Stoic: At the same time, as the Buddhists point out, life is suffering and pain. The more we are attached to it, the more we experience. I don't believe in giving up our attachments, but I believe with the stoics that taking a "long run" realistic picture of the universe and our place in it can make us have happier lives. Expect life to be life, and surf with the waves of up and down experiences and emotions instead of trying to chess-play your way out of it.

Anti-solipsist. Solipsists believe that the only thing that's real is their minds, everything else is just a product for them to consume. They believe the universe is a giant hologram just for them. Other people are not even people. It's a very selfish and cold system. I believe the opposite. Since I am so very small in the scale of things, and since I'm only here for a miniscule amount of time, it's really the case that I don't exist in any meaningful long-term sense. A hundred years from now, I may be lucky to be listed somewhere. A thousand years from now, I was never here. A million years from now, none of us were. I do not exist, and this means I should do the best I can to make those things that might exist have a more enjoyable and productive experience.

Finally, I believe in the "buffet" version of philosophy. I don't hero-worship, and I don't expect any philosophy to work for me at all times. That's one of the reason I've adopted three simultaneously. If these aren't working for me, I'll pick some others. They'll be just as clever and broken as these are, and they'll work well-enough until another crisis requires another change. I don't expect to have perfect answers and I don't expect others to have perfect answers. We're all just doing as best we can, and that's perfectly natural.

I'm out.