Saturday, November 08, 2008

Life, Love, and Liberty

This is a different kind of post. It is more philosophical than I normally write. You may think I am completely off-base, but I can only judge this by own life. Think what you will.

I think that in order to be happy and fulfilled, humans need life, love, and liberty. When I say "life", I don't mean mere existence, but "A Life"; a "Purpose". Those are the minimum requirements. You can have one or two of those and still be relatively content, but without all three, you may seek a substitute for that missing component.

The substitutions that come first are entertainment, sex, and money. Entertainment can make you forget that you don't have much of a life. After all, living vicariously can make you feel more alive, can't it? Sex can take away the pain of living without love, since it is usually a part of a life that has enough love in it. And money can buy you a lot of privileges that can be almost indistinguishable from real liberty. The only difference is that when the money is gone, so is the "freedom". Yet there is another level down from these substitutes.

The last level can be the saddest. I am not saying these things are necessarily bad, just that if they are your only outlet for those higher level needs, they are not really satisfying. This is the level of diversions, porn, and debt.

Diversions may not really entertain you, but only occupy your time. They keep your mind and hands busy and keep you from thinking about how bad your life is. If your life is normally OK, then a diversion now and then doesn't hurt anything. In that case, it is just a way to spend your down-time. At the worst, they are the busy-work you do while waiting to die. Porn is sex without human contact. While those who have real love can enjoy porn, to have it as your only outlet is tragic. Then there is debt. It is pretending to be able to buy things that you really can't afford. It might give you a little temporary illusion of freedom while it bolts the chains around your ankles. You are betting on an uncertain future.

I would say that most of us have dipped into the substitutes for Life, Love, and Liberty from time to time. It is my hope that you and I do not end up spending our lives down there.