a few months ago

Is the Purpose of Life to Feel Good?

I like feeling good. There’s nothing wrong with that, I don’t suppose. In fact, if I didn’t get to feel good sometimes, life would probably be unbearable, and I’d off myself.

But for me, getting really honest with myself about the subtext of my seeking/being is painful and important.

Whatever fancy language and ideas I might throw around, the secret desire is to feel good.

Why do I do things? To feel good.

Even if and when I seek to make peace with not feeling good – even when I aim to be honest about not getting to always feel good – my intention is to feel good.

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It is inescapable. I cannot transcend my futile desire to escape discomfort and gain eternal-momentary pleasure.

I cannot avoid my shortsightedness and impulsivity.

But I can tell the truth. I can get real about my intention.

The purpose of life is not feeling good.

The purpose of life is not whatever I think the purpose of life is.

My pursuit of eternal-momentary pleasure is not noble.

But neither is it wrong.

I don’t have to suppress the desire.

I can just acknowledge it.

And in acknowledging it, I offer myself the opportunity to inhabit the murkiness of real life. Neither this nor that. Not entirely pleasure nor entirely pain.

Complex. Unintelligible.

Of course, my only motivation for doing that is because it will feel better than not doing it.

So I am trapped. I cannot transcend myself.

But I can tell the truth. Again and again and again.

When I don’t tell the truth, that is fine. I’m not getting anywhere by telling the truth. I’m not transcending anything. It’s not actually better in any ultimate sense.

But as soon as I acknowledge that, I am telling the truth.

Not as a thought or a memory.

Rather, as a present, honest, vulnerability. A humility. An acknowledgement of the heartache of being. The longing to become something else. The wish to transcend, escape, avoid.

Just that. That’s all. Nothing that will get me anywhere.

But strangely, it is better.

At least that’s what it seems.

So then I seek it out. I idealize it. I turn it into a religion. It will save me. It will help me to transcend.

Again, I tell the truth. I am just doing what I must do: trying to feel better.

That is all. Nothing bad. Nothing good. Nothing that will get my anywhere. And nothing that will prevent me from getting anywhere.

joeylott

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