Remembering what’s most important
Whatever one’s views on life are – whether or not they think God exists, whether or not they think pleasure is the purpose in life – it seems quite clear that their view of life needs to be hung before their eyes each day. A lot of our unfulfillment comes from forgetting our most fundamental beliefs and instead becoming consumed by the happenings around us. This is especially true in a world that is saturated with goods and information that pull at us from every side.
If I am a believer in God, then I need to remember this each day that I wake. I need to dedicate my efforts throughout the day to Him. I need to try to see His spirit reflected in all of creation. I also need to remember that this world is not my home: the spiritual world is. With all my heart and soul, I need to try to draw closer to God.
If I am an atheist, I also need to remember this each day. I need to contemplate my mortality on a daily basis so that I can seize the day and fill my life with as much elated and vibrant experience as possible. I need to stop trying to finish books that I’m not interested in, stop working at a job that leaves me feeling dissatisfied, put aside my fears, and go out and do what it is my heart truly calls me to.
If I am a hedonist whose aim is pleasure, then I need to be conscious of this. I need to disregard the unnecessary obligations that stand in the way of me enjoying myself. I also need to question what things do in fact give me pleasure. Maybe I don’t in fact enjoy historical fiction – I just force myself to read it because I believe it makes me a more cultured person. But my aim in life is not to be cultured – it is to enjoy myself.
The human condition is universal. Time puts the same constraints on all of us, no matter what our worldview is. In this we are united. So, after we have truly questioned life and forged an approach that we feel is true and authentic, we need to live it fully, day to day, so that we don’t get to the end of our lives and say, ‘I wish I had…’