On aim in life...

me: What is your aim in life?

myself: What is YOUR aim in life?

me: I asked you first.

myself: Will you have an answer by the time I give you an answer?

me: ummm. Probably no.

myself: Let me digress. What is the aim of life?

I asked my 7 year old sister that what is it that she wants to be when she grows up. A fair question we're often asked. A teacher, she replied. A simple answer to a simple question. But is it really a simple question? Because from what I think, her answer was biased. Biased to her 7 years of experiences. The main purpose of any life form is to, well, not die, live. Why then are we asked questions like, what do you want to do in your future? Well, simply because we've come a long way from mere survival which our forager ancestors dealt with everyday.It's highly unlikely to die of hunger in a typical homo sapiens society. We have human rights. Also, it's pretty convenient to use some standard papers to exchange services with others which they themselves can use in exchange of services they want. For example, you don't have to grow and process wheat in order to eat bread, rather just pay 20 bucks to a shopkeeper who can further use it for services he want. This imagined order of money has become innate in us. As such, one of the purpose in today's time is to somehow get hold of those standard papers to sustain oneself. One interesting study says that human babies are born under-developed. This is because being able to walk on 2 legs made the womb of female specimen smaller over time and so, mothers bearing developed babies started dying at time of birth giving process. It can thus be said that the principle of natural selection chose women who gave birth prematurely. This makes a typical human babies to remain dependent on their parents for quite a while (about 10 years at least). This makes humans very social. Now, the trend favors nuclear families unlike early times when a female could mate with anyone in the tribe and the whole community would together raise the offspring. Now there are marriages and a couple with their children, are regarded as a basic social unit. So a child, for the early stages of life, is provided the basic needs by the parents.

Enter, the aim in life. Makes sense. Find something you'll have fun doing as such it'll help you get some of those standard papers to sustain yourself and with some extra of those notes, to get you, your friends and family some other services to enjoy. Those extra notes maybe irrelevant to some who will just find nature enough. But even they will need the basic amount to sustain themselves. Minus that basic amount, one would live as a forager as we actually did before the agricultural and scientific revolution. But that would be difficult in today's time. We don't mark our territories the conventional way. We build walls. The pivot is to find that thing. It's interesting to ponder if my little sister has already found that thing. She wants to be a teacher which would sustain her and maybe she'll have fun teaching. But why not biologist, fashion designer, archaeologist, trekker, violinist, poly-athlete? How does she know that she wouldn't love following these other professions? She doesn't. As such, her experiences have been limiting. An unbiased answer would be one if she knew about all there is to offer, like a video catalog of all the things one could do on earth along with examples of people loving what they do. Even then her answer would've been subject to change as she grew up and experienced things for herself. From what I feel, this is critical. Coming across something. Some do, most don't. The key is to experience as much as you can, for your intuition is what you experience.

1.you love it, it sustains you- Phillipe Petit, the French high-wire artist who loved to walk on a wire

2.you don't love it, but it sustains you-money is just convenient to have

3.you love it but it doesn't sustain you-Chris McCandless, loved nature, hated all the imagined orders of the world, wandered off into the wild and lived like a forager (didn't last long)

But why do anything at all? Enter happiness. Happiness is a different recipe for everyone. How that recipe comes to be has to be from experience. Spending time with friends, a puppy, stars. Also, in psychology, optimal happiness is defined when you push yourself mentally, physically or both to achieve something. Our biochemistry plays a vital role here. Goals in life work towards one gaining optimal happiness. Another prime mover is gratification (not distinction) which we seek innately. We are social animals after all. Now, it doesn't have to be one single thing you'll be doing for your whole life (can be, violin for Paganini). Rather, a myriad of trivial things throughout life. For example, learning a new swimming stroke, getting shares at IPO, decorating, finishing a trek, finishing a sketch, running an extra mile, a new tune in a music instrument, a music instrument, bungee jumping, a group discussion, buying new things. So, you continuously find things which you'll be happy to do, and push yourself to achieve it. A sense of purpose you can pursue.

Enter, the Unabomber. Ted Kaczynski a child prodigy in mathematics, excelling academically from an early age enrolled into Harvards at 16. Read about him only because of the 17 year terror he waged with pipe bombs against professors, technologists, and business people. Interesting guy. He argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization. According to Kaczynski, modern people are depressed because all the world's hard problems have already been solved. What's left to do is either easy or impossible, and pursuing those tasks is deeply unsatisfying. What you can do, even a child can do; what you can't do, even Einstein couldn't have done. So Kaczynski's idea was to destroy existing institutions, get rid of all technology, and let people start over and work on hard problems anew. The guy is serving eight life sentences without the possibility of parole. As long as you don't act as if there are no secrets left to find, or interesting things to do, you're fine. If not, don't go about bombing. There are people who won't agree with you (for me, just looking at the stars is enough to know that there is so much to know), and if there are some, go discuss your views over coffee with them.

To sum up then, a good way then to lead a life would be to make a list of things for some definite period of time, say a year, one would find joy in doing and working towards completing those things based on experiences up to that point of one's life. There are somethings which require a fair amount of time. And it gets confusing. A good way to sort things out is to ask oneself, if some whimsy alien warlords declared that they would destroy earth in exactly one year from now, would I still be doing what I was going to do anyway. Nothing can be both important and boring.