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An esoteric rant.

Submitted: December 30, 2016

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Submitted: December 30, 2016




Our Existence

Many of us have reached an age where we will begin to pose existential questions on what the meaning of our lives are, and why we are subjected to pain and suffering. Upon extensive retrospection and introspection of my experiences, I have gained a new perception of what my life means to me. I hope this too, offers you some insight.


Searching for a set ‘meaning’ to what life is only sets us up for hopelessness. The more we make something a target, the more likely we are to miss it, especially with something so abstract and unknown. A part of being human is directing ourselves to someone, or something else in order to fulfil our destiny. Meaning is therefore not found, but rather it finds us as we devote our energy to causes greater than our own.


Dr. Viktor E Frankl, a renowned psychotherapist, expressed that discovery of such meaning is manifested through:


  1. Creating work that can be appreciated by someone else
  2. Devoting your love to someone or something
  3. Overcoming adversity in the face of suffering


By drawing your spiritual energy towards a piece, you allow others to experience certain emotions and thoughts that perhaps guide them to explore their deeper selves. This may even serve as a catalyst to help discover their meaning of existence!


Love is such a complicated emotion, but it is the key driver in unearthing one another. We should be careful not to associate love with ownership. It is more so about being able to appreciate the potential you see in someone and then actualising that potential. By allowing yourself to fall in love and grow synergistically with someone, self-fulfilment is achieved by directing our emotional energy to another being. Without loving someone, we lose touch of our human essence.



To explain the purpose of suffering, let me firstly touch on the “just-world fallacy”. This is when we invest ourselves in the idea of “justice”. It’s the hero prevailing over evil, the good guy being rewarded, and the bad guy being punished. The reason why we see the world like this stems innately in the early days of man. For example, rewarding those in the tribe who performed well would serve as a cue for other members in that group to improve their work rate, thus facilitating advancement and growth.


In childhood, this is reinforced very early on through fables and fairytales. Look at Cinderella for example. Cinderella, who is portrayed as an innocent and good-hearted woman, is subjected to unjust abuse from her stepmother and sisters. But because she is the protagonist of the story, her virtue and benevolence allows her to somehow prevail over the darkness that is her dire situation. But the way we as humans have come to be, our interactions have become more complex and our needs are more sophisticated. It’s no longer about a simple need to hunt well for food to survive. It’s now about tending to abstract entities that have become a mainstay as a consequence of social evolution. We are now worried about things such as social status, how others see us, job security, mortgages etc.


We become so obsessed with this fallacy that we begin to falsely believe that those who are losing in life have done something terrible to deserve it. We begin to believe that when we get hurt, it is of our own fault. Our minds deceive us in a way to fit this fallacy through years of confabulation and cognitive priming. When you are subjected to hurt and pain, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a ‘villain’. Such negative self-imagery stains our subconscious, and sets us up for despair.


Despair is a product of suffering without meaning. In the face of adversity, we do not have the freedom to change the past. However, we do have the freedom to change our view of tragedy towards one of triumph. By turning a dire situation around, it becomes an achievement that allows us to extrapolate insight on why we have suffered. This process in itself allows for personal development and enrichment. Remember, none of us are innately evil, and that we shouldn’t see pain as punishment. We should therefore view it as an opportunity to discover meaning.


“He who knows a why to live, can bear almost any how”

-Friedrich Nietzsche



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