Thursday, November 23, 2006

Girlfriend In A Coma

I've been reading Douglas Coupland's Girlfriend In A Coma. I'd recommend it, it's a good book (I've only got 20 pages left, so I'm hoping I won't regret saying that). This isn't a review of that book though.
One of the things that book is about is how "empty" modern life is. It's a feeling I've been having lately. It's the eternal question: what's the meaning of life?
I'm not holding out for an answer from the book, indeed I'm not holding out for any one answer, as I suppose there are as many answers as there are people. Not that I'm saying everyone has a cosmic purpose, I'm just saying different people have different values, and therefore the meaning they give to their life will be different. For example, a suicide bomber's meaning will be different to a fashion model's meaning - as well it should.
To this end, I suppose I've been trying to figure out what I want the meaning, or purpose, of my life to be.
When I was a kid, this was a really easy thing, because I didn't realise there'd be anything stopping me doing whatever the hell I want. And, in a way, there still isn't - the biggest hurdle is my own inhibitions.
Why shouldn't I travel more? because I'm scare of it.
Why shouldn't I work for myself? because I'm scared of it not working.
Having to think about Amy is also a good excuse for not doing stuff too - I have to think about her fears, or at least I can think that some of my own fears are hers.
When I was really young, I was happy to accept the Jesus crap that my parents told me. Losing that left a big a hole, which I suppose I've filled with veganism (at least you can argue for it logically!), but left me without a purpose to my life.
Anyway, this is kind of where I'm at with it - What do I want to do with my life?
I know some things I don't want to do with my life:
  • Spend it writing the same lines of data access code that I've written 1000 times before.
  • Doing evil (well, not serious evil).
  • Nothing.
  • Being addicted to anything.
  • Being ill.
But, they don't really help answer the question, especially if there are a near infinite number of possibilities.
The flip side to this is, of course, my ability to change. If I decide to be an astronaut (yeah, it should have been on the list above...), am I able to change myself sufficiently to achieve that? Am I using this as another excuse not to even try?
So many questions...all I need now is to come up with some answers.
One thing - does this feeling disappear when I pass 30? Most of my friends above that age seem really sorted out - at least spiritually (maybe philosophically is a better term?).


Chris said...

I read that book a while back. I can't remember anything about it, other than the fact that I thought it was a good book, and that there was someone in a coma for a long time.
As for the meaning of life stuff, well there is no meaning to it is there? We just are. I decided the other day that from now on my only goal should be to be as altruistic as reasonably possible. I came to this conclusion after reading about the epidemic of rape in the Congo and the horrific violence inflicted on women there. The article just kind of leaves you feeling empty because you realise that the world is beyond redemption. But then you think, I may not be able to save the world, but if you make more people happy in the world than you make sad, then surely you are a force for good and that is is something positive for the world. I think though that it is important, spiritually, that any altruism comes from somewhere other than a feeling of guilt. You and me are lucky, in the grand scheme of things. Luckier than a 4 year old girl who is gang raped before having a gun fired into her vagina leaving her as physically scarred as she is emotionally. But I don't think it is healthy to feel shame or guilt for that luck, it is what it is, the luck of the draw. As long as you recognise the luck and have a positive impact on the world, there is no reason to feel guilt.
Does this stuff get easier when you turn 30? I guess so. I guess it is also easier when you are 31, and easier when you are 32 and easier when you are 33. I have a Jungian view on life as a journey towards wholeness. I guess the fact that you are asking these questions of yourself mean that you are on that journey, and that is probably the most important thing.
They coincidentally talked about altruism on Melvin Braggs Radio 4 show this morning, but I only heard 1 minute before ariving at work. I think I will have to download the podcast tonight.
I also quite like some of the ideas from Warren Buffet in this blog post that I read recently.
OK, enough rambling from me, I need lunch. Maybe I will turn this reply into a blog post of my own!

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