Early take on identifying a fundamental purpose for my life.The original post is here: https://erikbenson.typepad.com/mu/2003/0...
Performance reviews have just happened at work (they went better than I was expecting), and I’m now responsible for creating a development plan for my next year at work. It has got me thinking about my general plan for development for my whole life. In particular, it reminded me of the list of questions posed in this essay, as well as Paul Whitmore’s thoughts on the Delmore Effect (which is the human tendency to make goals for low-priority tasks but neglect them for high-priority tasks), and I’ve realized that I have no understanding of my fundamental purpose in life.
So, I made a list of all fundamental purposes that I should be considering.
- Live a life of least harm.
- Live a life of least notice, inconspicuously.
- Live a life of maximum influence and change.
- Live a life of striving to be heard, to teach (could be related to maximum influence).
- Live a life of striving to understand and learn, pursue truth.
- Live a life of appreciating the most beauty possible, worship.
- Live a life of greatest entertainment, most laughs, most pleasure.
- Live a life of greatest ease and comfort.
- Live a life of greatest effort, earning of rewards.
- Live a life of greatest appreciation by others (family and friends, or world).
- Live a life of greatest honesty, truthfulness to self.
- Live a life of greatest generosity and giving, selfless.
- Live a life of greatest length.
- Live a life of supporting causes one believes in and fighting those one opposes, activism.
Of these, it’s not clear which one I’m following, though I think it could be the last one (which I only added because it was as close to the general idea of how I answered this question before I created the list).
What am I leaving out of this list? What is the “best” option on this list? I say that I’m implicitly following the activist purpose because I feel like there are certain ideas that I continue to try to express (not necessarily immediately evident as political, but maybe social), whether it be through my writing or my actions or something else. In essence, I feel like my primary purpose is to promote certain ideas that I think are true, and try to stamp out ideas that I think are false, or harmful. Which makes my reading of The Electric Meme: A New Theory of How We Think particularly timely since that is the premise of the book pretty much. We are slaves to ideas. They control us, dictate our behavior and use us as hosts to replicate themselves in the environments that they’ve led us. All of history can be summarized as the history of ideas using humans as tools, and so far I have not been able to conclusively state that it is humans, not ideas, that are in control.
Anyway. So much is going through my head now, I wrap up each weekend feeling that I’m just getting started, and I end each workday feeling that the work has not even begun. I’m feeling a strong need to rest and organize my thoughts. Between RDF (in which progress went horribly this weekend), memes, design factories, development plans, and writing my novel, I should have enough to distract me from my fundamental purpose for a while.