You’ll notice that most of the people that do actually look you in the eyes (and there aren’t many anymore), aren’t really there.
They might come to life if you kicked them in the shins, but they’re slowly dying. You’ll most likely run into these people within corporate America, but they’re everywhere. Maybe they’re no different from you.
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The full realization of themselves as individuals has been blocked, and they are now, essentially, automatons. You know many of these people personally.
They’re the people who are always complaining about working jobs they hate, under bosses who hate them in turn. Drudgery is their life sentence, and for most, escape seems next to impossible.
You would think, as Alan Watts has observed, that people returning home from this life would engage in all sorts of life-affirming activities and revelry, and really get down to the business of living.
They would dance, go outside and play sports, read each other stories, have dinner together, etc.
But what do we see?
Row upon row of darkened houses, withering away in front of a “twittering” screen.
And sleep? No, most of them are too depressed and anxious for that. If they ever tear themselves away from their little screen, they won’t get more than 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
The problem boils down to the insanity of their thinking.
To need something that you don’t have is literally an insane thought. Of course you don’t really NEED it in order to be happy, because if you did, then you would already have it, right?
Gratitude is free.
Love is free.
Nature is free.
Books are free.
Connection is free.
Motion is free.
Thoughts are free.
Compassion is free.
The only things that cost actual money are the things that people think they need which are actually driving them downwards in a spiral of depression and fear.
The world outside looks as though we hated it as well. And why shouldn’t it; the world outside is a representation of how we feel about ourselves.
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The costs of our self-oppressive lifestyles are killing the planet that we need to survive. The only one we can go to right now.
How pathetic is that? There are at this moment as many as 100 BILLION habitable, earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, and we have been to exactly none of them. We hate ourselves too much to be able to leave.
I believe that every problem has a solution and the solution to this one is extremely simple.
In fact, we don’t even have to do anything extra. We just have to STOP.
We actually have to do LESS things in order to be happy.
Here are just a few:
STOP – Spending time with people you don’t like
STOP – Buying things you can’t afford
STOP – Blaming other people for your current circumstances
STOP – Trying to achieve something beyond yourself
STOP – Caring what other people think of you
Those could have been written by anybody, but they all work.
One of the common themes in my writing is the efficacy of using death as a motivator.
It scares a lot of people, sure. But there is almost nothing so useful in helping us to figure out our priorities, align our lives with what will bring us the greatest happiness, and get down to the real business of living.
Because this can’t be it.
There is simply more to life than wanting it to go faster.
There is more to life than competition with out-groups that share different beliefs than you and I do.
There is more to life than simply going through the motions, keeping yourself safe and anonymous until the day of your death.
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That’s no way to live, and that’s sure as hell not how I live my own life.
I experience no negative stress at all in my life (most weeks!) and I have boundless gratitude for everything that has been given to me. This is open to everyone. Including you. And your best friend. And their 30 friends.
In my work as a human rights activist, I see what this lifestyle is doing to us. Whether I want to or not, I see the effects every day.
But how can I reconcile this with my own life and the lives of other people that I know who DON’T live that way? We are perfectly happy, doing what we love, and making an impact on people’s lives. Every single day.
That’s what I want for you, my reader, and it’s entirely within your control.
You can keep living with your head down, accepting what you’ve been told to accept, or you can carve out a life for yourself free of misery and heartache.
I know what I would choose.
All the best,
Matt Karamazov is a mentor, boxer, and human rights activist who reads 200 books per year and throws 300 punches per minute. The website, Godlike Discipline, is his most deeply felt project, dedicated to raising money for causes like Doctors Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch, among others. It’s also dedicated to helping people tackle their biggest willpower challenges. He also like death metal, and so, consequently doesn’t get many second dates. Here he is on a horse.