Being Okay With Being Meaningless

A problem with objective measures of value.

The major problem, I see, with objective measures of value is the resistance of the individual. The fear that a fully realized conception of objective meaning would render one irrelevant or invalid. I share the pull away from an objective measure because I too fear, not only failing to live up to my own standards, which can be reframed, redefined, and explained away, but living a life deemed unworthy by definition. And the fear that someone outside of myself has the power to label my life as such. But that doesn’t make it a valid position to take, and certainly doesn’t eliminate the possibility that an objective standard does exist.

Making meaning and worth objective will likely diminish the value of many people’s lives, perhaps even my own. In daily life, I, like most other people, can rationalize away my faults and errors in decision making and living. Objective standards will eliminate these excuses, so that the only way to continue with the delusion of meaning in a meaningless life would be equivalent to believing in a flat Earth. One would have to openly live hypocritically and incoherently to the point that his or her opinion wouldn’t be entertained by anyone. Many of us already live this way but can offer strong enough arguments to fool ourselves into seeing value where none exists. Without defined objective standards, we can settle for excuses. At the moment we have nothing better than rationalizations, which are sometimes good, but are usually poor versions of logic. And in the process of reasoning our mistakes away we justify (to a degree) sad and empty lives.

It’s much easier to be dishonest than we realize. It typically doesn’t require any effort at all. Conflicts in our minds are continually resolved without the influence of our consciousness. We don’t need to imagine reasons why we acted one way or another, the reasons are provided for us in our heads, prepackaged and ready for shipment to the outside world. No one is immune from this, but most of us fail to realize it’s happening.

It’s not difficult to be a bad person because so few bad actions people engage in are seen as bad. The majority of people think stealing is a bad thing to do. But the person who steals sees it differently. Perhaps it’s a necessity. Perhaps in his mind the victims deserve it. But few people do bad things thinking what they do is bad and if they do, they have other justifications for it.

But that’s the expected result if we accept poor reasoning for behavior. Platitudes like, “Do what you love” are so vague and meaningless they allow anything to fall under that category. The mentality that we shouldn’t listen to naysayers is the same mentality that allows one to do whatever one pleases with no consideration for how the rest of society is affected by it. Most of the people who use such vapid phrases are harmless, but they don’t see that just because your intention is harmless you can use empty words to justify yourself. If you accept that for yourself, you have to accept it for everyone else.

To eliminate justifications for what is generally thought of as bad ways of life, we have to stop using them for benign ways of life. The way to do that is have an objective standard that takes everyone to task for how they live. Only the strongest positions will survive and should survive. There may be no way to reach an objective standard and the whole endeavor may go nowhere. But at the very least it can increase the level of argument we accept to pass a life as meaningful.

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Being Okay With Being Meaningless

4 thoughts on “Being Okay With Being Meaningless

  1. I bought a scarf today at the spa. It’s very soft and pretty, knit from some lovely cashmere like stuff. When I got it back to my room I discovered that a very pretty necklace was tangled in the threads. I suspect that the scarf was on a mannequin at some point and the necklace was over looked by myself and the sale woman. Interestingly it was a style of necklace I have been admiring. I held it in my hand and considered whether or not to keep it. I mean, it isn’t like I took it in purpose, or that anyone would notice. In a way I paid for it because it was attached to the thing I was buying. I suppose I made this a much more complex moral dilemma then it really had to be, but stealing is wrong – so why did I have to think about it at all? I did take it back to the store and give it to the sales girl. I knew I would never be able to wear it knowing that it was questionably stolen. Reading this made me think a lot about that decision and my thinking…and a lot more.

    1. I haven’t been home much the last few days, and I feel bad for not responding to this. I feel like I have tons to say in reply, relating a lot to your story, but haven’t had a chance to give it the attention it deserves. I didn’t want to give the impression that I was ignoring this.
      One quick story. A lady under charged me at Starbucks and I tried to correct her. She

      1. OH man, the connection is terrible here. I’ll just finish the story by saying the lady was super rude and dismissive when I was trying to do the right thing by paying the correct amount. It made me think that next time I wouldn’t try to do the right thing.
        Sorry for this horrible reply. Haha

      2. Nothing wrong with your reply. I live in the mountains and my connections wonk in and out all the time. People can be sensitive about math, I guess. I used to be pretty sensitive about my typing, but anymore I accept that I have dyslexic fingers and I am happy for all the help I can get! I suppose that is why writers have editors. Maybe it’s a case of no good deed goes unpunished. 🙂

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