2.25.18 - Brittany’s House off Independence ~ 9:46 AM MT
Coming back from an Internet black hole, 30 minutes later, I’m finally putting some work in. Its really hard for me to focus when there is so much content to consume, making it really easy to divert my attention to passive activities. I’m grateful to have Brittany and Mike’s house to take refuge, although I wish their fireplace worked.
The thought that’s been bumping around my head is to unify all that I’ve been thinking about since studying philosophy in a non-fiction work about living a meaningful life in the 21st century. My immediate response to my own thought is: who are you to say how to live a meaningful life? To which I respond, I studied philosophy, Aristotle intensively, and have meaningful interactions day-in-and-day-out. If you are what you consistently do, then what does that make the average American? A consumer: products, food, entertainment--that is what our culture is known for.
I used to think about dismantling the ideology of businesses, how ethics should be enforced onto ad agencies and mega-corporations because it’s not “right” to manipulate the psyches of the masses to make a quick buck. A realization on that idea is that the inertia behind the consumerist exploitation of the American population is so great and monolithic that it’d be like an ant standing in front of a tank rather than a person in Tiannamen square. A disruption of the system through bureaucratic means not only sounds like an unconquerable uphill battle, but an exercise in futility.
Instead, focusing on the tenet of Aristotle, you are what you constantly do, in order to have a meaningful life you need to make meaningful decisions. You need to exercise discipline in your consummatory choices, recognizing the need for pain, for silence, for the higher cost of quality products to live a more meaningful life. Unless you’re willing to live a meaningless, surface-level life, in which case that’s fine for you to Snapchat your days away, Facebooking until the screen on your phone burns your retinas.
Aristotle’s tenet, then, is a phrase meaning that life is a pattern of decision-making. It doesn’t need to be framed in good or bad decisions, but rather healthy or unhealthy ones. We do not need to invoke a 21st century code of morality to live better lives, all we need is some science.