Random thoughts in September and October 2021


I consider it more than a small triumph that I was able to work out – for myself at least – what life is about, what it means to be human, what I need to do with my life, what the meaning of life is, and what the basis should be of my ethics.

I had to work all these things out because, as REM famously expressed it in their big hit of the early nineties, I had lost my religion.

Religion played a most significant role in my life until my early twenties. It explained what the purpose of my existence was, where I came from and what would happen when you died, how you had to lead your life, and why you had to do certain things and not do other things. It provided me with a worldview. It explained how everything – the cosmos and planets, and humans and animal and nature – fit together. I even strongly considered pursuing a career where religion would have played an important role.

All of this came crashing down on me like a house of cards. I had to start all over. And I did it in writing, one set of paragraphs after another, until I figured out enough to say, “I understand again. I can now do more than just function.”


Reasonable objectives of an adult life:

1. Survive, physically and mentally.

2. Try not to do harm. If you do harm in the process of survival, try to keep it to a minimum.

3. Try to do good – protect other people, animals and nature from harm, aid in the maintenance of life, aid in the improvement of the lives of other people or animals.

4. Try to live an authentic life that corresponds to the realisation that you are not a machine controlled by unseen forces.


I don’t like this idea of conditional happiness: “I’m happy because …”

I like delusional happiness, crazy happiness: I’m happy despite …

Can the same be said about feeling good about yourself – a necessary ingredient of positive self-esteem? You feel good about yourself despite X, Y or Z.


If the measure of success is that you can create things from wood and steel, then my father was a success.

If the criterion is to be able to fix cars, even turning a wreck that used to stand on bricks into a road-worthy vehicle with which the family goes on vacation, then my father was a success.

But if the criterion is to work for someone else and say, “Yes, Boss … no, Boss” and keep your mouth shut the rest of the time, well, then it’s just one of those things.


“I’m sad.”

If you choose to be.

(And yet, it feels appropriate in certain circumstances.)
[Thursday, 11 November 2021]