Do you want to know what it means? Are you sure you’re ready for it? Remember, once you read this, you can’t turn back. Continue at your own peril…
First, a little background.
I’m almost finished with Tim Ferris’ The 4-Hour Workweek, and though I’ve gleaned a lot about things like automating repetitive tasks, or setting up remote work agreements, the best things I’ve picked up have been largely unrelated to the main theme of the book. This is one of those things.
In a page under the chapter “Filling The Void”, Tim describes what to do when you have all the time and the money in the world, but no clue as to what you should be doing. He attempts an answer at the big question, “What is the meaning of life?” and produces an answer so profound and simple that I had to write a post about it.
The Answer to the Meaning of Life
I really hope you’re ready. This is the only 100% logically supported and valid answer to the question that has puzzled philosophers and kings for millennia:
How’s that? Are you enlightened?
And no, I don’t mean that the answer to the meaning of life is a meditative silence, although if you gleaned that from “…” then you are definitely paying attention. “…” is just the sound I make when I read a question that makes absolutely no sense. Perhaps an emoticon is better. The answer to the meaning of life is this:
What I mean is, the question is bogus. It’s totally loaded and nonsensical. Here’s what Tim Ferris has to say about the meaning of life:
“It is the characteristic state or condition of a living organism.”
Haha, not what you expected right? Me either. The book goes on:
“’But that’s just a definition,’ the questioner will retort, ‘that’s not what I mean at all.’ What do you mean, then? Until the answer is clear – each term in it defined – there is no point in answering it. The ‘meaning’ of ‘life’ question is unanswerable without further elaboration.”
I love it! This kind of suave disregard of drooling hippie-esque questions really gets me excited. Don’t get me wrong, though. I used to be quite the drooling hippie myself back in high school. I thought questions like these were far out. I often lay awake at night pondering that the earth was actually a single cell in a much larger organism, with us people-folks being nothing more than organelles. Bleh.
But since then, I’ve stopped worrying a lot – or actually, pretty much entirely – about things that I either can’t control or are fundamentally absurd. The question of the meaning of life is exactly the same. Which brings me to my next point:
How to Ignore 90% of Everything around You (and Why!)
While I’ve known this one for a while, I also encountered it in the book, so I’d like to give credit where credit is due. By the way, this is one of those books where the energy of the force behind the author’s words really affects you. I learned a lot of cool techniques, sure, but the sheer unapologetic freedom in Tim’s style is what really got me.
Without further ado, here is my typical decision-making process:
- Do I have any influence whatsoever over it?
- Will acting upon it change anything for the better?
That’s it. It’s simple by design, and cuts through most BS.
For example, if I were to somehow produce the correct answer for answer the meaning of life, what would I do with it? Would it actually change anything, or allow me to prove anything?
I’m drawing a blank here. There is no real conclusion that you can draw because the question is so vague. Now, if you asked the right question, like, “What is my purpose in life?” Then that’s definitely actionable, provided you can find the answer.
More Stupid Stuff
I had to put that single word off by itself after such a dazzling headline as “more stupid stuff.”
The reason being, unless you are running for president or something, almost anything politically related is outside of your circle of influence. So it fails our first “should I give a damn about it” test.
Sure, you can vote if you want, that’s a way to influence politics. But learning who you should vote for is actually a fairly simple process. Find intelligent people that you respect, ask them why they’re voting for who they’re voting for. Get differing opinions. Do some Google searching. If you’re spending more than a day or two on politics of any nature, especially if you are arguing about it, AND it has nothing to do with your job or circle of influence, then you’re wasting your time.
Not that I have anything against wasting time, but I wouldn’t do it on something that raises your blood pressure, as a general rule.
But back on subject:
The Ultimate Answer to Question of the Meaning of Life
Find a better question.
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