I pottered through the cramped library aisles, aimlessly scanning the titles of the non-fiction books. A world philosophy book, covering life outlooks over the centuries, snagged my attention, despite the black book’s unadorned appearance. I wandered over to a long wooden table, slumped in a chair, and flicked through the eras. I was in need of some insight.
In my final college semester of senior year, I became acquainted with eastern philosophy by enrolling in a class to fulfill my Chinese-major requirement. I had an affinity with Daoism, agreeing with the primary principles: The Dao and Wu-Wei. I skimmed through that section, refreshing myself once again on Laozi’s wisdom of being in harmony with life and nature as it unfolds. It still hits home.
Subsequently, I forwarded to a section detailing Jean-Paul Sartre’s and Friedrich Nietzsche’s views–existentialism. Although I rejected the philosophy in my post yesterday, two points did resonate with me. First: Nietzsche emphasized the celebration of the awakening or awareness of one’s existence. Though, this process may be overwhelming and daunting, it should ultimately be cheered. One is now conscious of the options available to himself and is no longer limited by the original illusional ideologies. Freedom is now available. Second: Nietzsche did not believe the purpose of life was to deliver meaning or essence to it, despite widespread misunderstanding; rather, he believed the purpose of life was to live with vitality. Do whatever you wish, chase after goals, become “someone,” but more importantly, live with zest.
And this–this point alone delivers me the solace I was reaching for. Yes, easier said than done, but it’s vital. Zest or vitality is not synonymous with happiness. Discard the notion that the point is just to be happy. Rather, live with curiosity, excitement, gusto, goddamn madness. That’s the point. That’s what evokes the feeling of being alive. And that’s what I was attempting to stamp with my trembling finger yesterday.
Making meaning or living out life purpose is rooted in the ego, because the ego bases itself around self importance. Therefore, it’s reasonable to accomplish goals, surpass obstacles, and make a career, but these endeavors should not drown oneself. They can compliment one’s liveliness, of course, but regardless, whether it’s getting dressed or creating art, zest should be interlaced with it. And that–that is simply what I wanted to share.