an existential crisis

earlier in 2018 i came to the conclusion that i was no longer in pursuit of understanding the meaning of life, or the knowledge of how to achieve happiness. i had reached a point where i felt as though i finally understood everything. i also maintain this position. i feel i have nothing else to learn. any new insights that i get are mere echoes, or repetitions of previous insights.

now, with this understanding unfortunately comes a dreadful awareness which has been plaguing me ever since; one that i have yet to properly acknowledge.

it is the fact that life is pointless.

we, as humans, are in a perpetual state of anxiety. we are in survival mode. all of the things that we seek are those which provide us with, at the core, a sense of security (which brings us relief of the anxiety). that security may come in different forms, whether it be a sense of belonging, sustenance, shelter, and so fourth.

the dopaminergic, or net effect produced by each new thing that we acquire in order to satisfy some aspect of this need eventually dissipates, leaving us hungry with that need yet again. i.e. you are hungry, you eat, you are full, 4 hours pass, you feel hungry again. love and belongingness are no different. but regardless of the situation, once the novelty of it wears off you need something bigger—a bigger stimulus—in order to reach the same level of satisfaction again. this no doubt applies to various social situations, such as affection in romantic relationships, the number of likes or comments that a person gets on their social media content, etc. what once sufficed to bring us happiness, is no longer good enough.

with the ever increasing need for stimuli, happiness, as a permanent state, must be an illusion. it must instead be something which can only be felt in fleeting moments of novelty, when we are satisfying our needs; once a certain threshold of stimuli has been reached.

the only rational alternative to pursuing happiness, then, is to pursue a permanent state of “okayness.” in other words, a mere absence of pain (a state of neutrality). but that is the sobering part of this realization. because it is exactly what invites the question of the meaning of life: what is the point of living, if just “okayness” is the goal? doesn’t death accomplish that? why live instead, if pain and suffering are inevitable?

the only rational answer is: because it is the only way to experience and enjoy the fleeting moments of happiness and pleasure.

and at this point the next step is to ask whether the moments of happiness and pleasure experienced justify the pain that is felt during life. and is the answer to this question universal or subjective? i have yet to resolve this. but it is on this very answer that i think one’s decision of whether or not to continue living depends.