This is a nerdy, philosophical extension of yesterday’s post. If you are uncomfortable with philosophy, weird logic, or complex trails of thought, you may want to step outside for a moment.

Yesterday I talked about how, in 2007, I desperately desired to achieve certain goals that, if I had achieved them, would have probably made my life worse. I certainly wouldn’t have become the person I am today.

So… I didn’t achieve my ambitions and it worked out better for me in the end. This is a bit discouraging to anyone who sets goals. But it brings up a very interesting question.

How could I ever set a goal again? Wouldn’t it be foolish to set a goal from my current perspective, expecting that “now” I am wise and mature enough to set the “right” goals? Who knows, I might still need to fail at my ambitions in order to get somewhere even better for myself…

So, what do I want? I don’t have to look very far before I realize this: I have no idea. Sure, there are ambitions on the surface, and they seem smart enough, but I have no idea whether the future-version of me would be better or worse off if I achieve them. Whether I get what I think I want or not, it seems that life (as an intelligent process) has my best interests at heart and will take me exactly where I need to go no matter what I intend to do.

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

The most bizarre part of this is that, when I get right down to it, what I really want is… THIS. I want exactly what I already have (I just don’t see that most of the time). Today, right here, right now. Anything beyond THIS is just my mind playing tricks on itself.

Ironically, from what I have experienced, this is the correct way of approaching the message of religious/spiritual traditions. Jesus and the Buddha both emphasize the danger of desire and clinging to possessions. Many people take that to mean you should fight against desire, but that is merely desiring not to desire. The message is simply to realize the folly in wanting anything outside this moment. Because, 1) you don’t have that kind of control, and 2) even if you did, you aren’t smart enough to seek the things that would really make you happy.

At some point, you must throw your hands up and say, “I have no idea what I want,” and then it all makes sense.



2 Responses to “What Do You Want?”

  1. I so get what you’re saying, Andrew. I’ve seen this happen in my life so often – I’m glad God saves us from ourselves, sometimes!
    I always recall Garth Brook’s song Unanswered Prayers. “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers….”

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