I wanted to share a video I found online which I absolutely love. It’s by a guy named Terrence Mckenna, who was this sort of wacky hippy figure famous for exploring psychedelics and giving talks all around the world. In the clip he says, “Nobody is smarter than you are. And if so, what good is their understanding doing you?”
It’s a very deep insight into the dilemma of life. I’m now a middle-aged man, and throughout my 35 years on this planet, I’ve had so many people tell me how I should live my life. Anytime I’ve listened to any of them I’ve been miserable and unhappy. The only person who can possibly know what you should be doing with yourself is you. It comes down to your own direct experience. You have to experience things on your own and make your own evaluations of everything.
People will tell you that this is where life is, or that’s where life is. They’ll tell you that you’ll find meaning in this religion, or doing this form of work, or thinking this certain type of way, or romance, or whatever it may be. You have to go out and experience all these things on your own and make your own judgement. Nobody can do it for you. What’s meaningful to one person isn’t meaningful in any way to somebody else.
Sometimes you’ll go to do something and there’s this magic there. A common instance of this might be meeting someone really special, and it just feels right. While you’re taking part in that moment, you just feel happy, it’s meaningful, and something deep down within you is telling you that ‘this’, whatever ‘this’ may be, is why you exist. It feels like something is happening. You’re alive. You’re operating at some sort of higher output and efficiency. Life has a lot more color, and there’s emotion and life. It might not always stay at that ‘high’ plane, but there’s almost always some color and meaning there.
At other times, you’re off in some weird rut, and everything turns black and white, meaningless, a long boring tedium that just drags on, day after day. If you get derailed off the path in life you “should” be on, and you linger in some place you shouldn’t be, life will just be sucked out of you until you can’t even remember what it’s like to feel alive. If you don’t learn to clear your mind, I’ve often found that “bad” thinking will pull you off into these ruts. I think there are a lot of “good” paths you can follow in life, yet there is also far more “wrong” path-ruts you can get stuck in, which you must always be on your toes to avoid and stay out of.
Terrence Mckenna often says, “Culture is not your friend.”
Maybe some of you out there actually feel alive taking part in everyday culture, but something deep down at the core of my being rejects it all. The worst part of my life experience is that our institutions and economy seem structured in such a way that they end up controlling me and dragging me off into some meaningless grind; if I give into it, they mercilessly wear me down and leave me in some apathetic, lifeless state. I try to escape it, but it’s always at my heels. On my blog over the years, I’ve often referred to it as the rat wheel. It’s this wheel where you get on it, run and run and run, and you get nowhere. You just end up exhausted. You may even be “successful”, and be accomplishing things in others eyes, but deep inside, everything is meaningless to you.
When you find something that has that life and color in it, you’ll often have to fight to keep it a part of your life. When life’s tribulations arise, don’t give up those beautiful things easily. Fight to keep them in your life. And don’t submit to the rat wheel, even if it seems to be promising an easier life. You may be tired of trying to stay on your toes, keeping those meaningful things a part of your life, but I’ve experienced the alternative and that ‘dead’ feeling inside, where everyday just blends into the next, and you feel nothing, that to me is far worse than any other struggle life throws at you. Without any meaning, it all just feels like a big waste of time.