Everything about life is a joke. Don’t you know that?
A nihilistic way to view life is to state the meaninglessness of it all and how impermanent everything is. The trees are gonna disappear, the ice is gonna melt, and everyone is eventually gonna die. You spend the majority of your life trying to understand the dynamics of the world that our previous generations have left for us and once you’ve learned it, you’re gonna have to prepare to die. This certainly has a pessimistic ring to it when you realize that there’s not much meaning to it anyway. But I, for one, find life to be rather funny. I like to think of life, as a big punchline and I will tell you exactly why.
The way a joke works is rather simple. You take two independent events of no relation whatsoever and put them together in one singular event.
“Underwear for a hat.”
Underwear is worn below the waistline, whereas a hat is worn on the head. When you have underwear for a hat, voila, you’ve got yourself a joke. Not so funny when you explain it right?
Similarly, life is the biggest example of an underwear for a hat because unexpected events like this can happen all the time. Surely we can predict some of our immediate future but it is never truly a 100% accurate. Surely we can say that we are going to study for the upcoming test but we never truly do it until the last minute. Surely we can expect to own twenty Ferraris but not all of us can be like Bruce Wayne.
It’s funny how everything flips a full 180 degrees in the blink of an eye. You’re on top of the world during the weekend and its Monday before you know it. You spend your time and effort knowing someone and suddenly you don’t mean a thing to them. You wake up feeling sad and hopeless and someone comes along and makes you smile. Sometimes there is misfortune. Sometimes there is luck. So in other words, life is a joke, as it follows the basic mechanics of a punchline. And all the religious mumbo jumbo and philosophical bullshit further explain this point.
So one day Buddha was sitting under a tree, and a hopeless businessman comes to the counsel of the exalted one. The man starts complaining about everything that is falling apart in his life and says that he doesn’t have any peace of mind.
Buddha says, “Isn’t it because you desire peace?”
The businessman’s brain goes haywire. How am I supposed to remove desire? When I desire not to desire, do I not desire?
Unlike several other things, our mind is a tricky thing to master. When you ‘try’ to do something, you fail at doing it. Remember when you ‘tried’ to sleep and you just couldn’t sleep at all? This is referred to as the reverse psychology of the mind. It sounds complicated but it isn’t.
Don’t think of a blue monkey.
When you look for the meaning of life, you lose it.
When you explain a joke, it is no longer funny. When you try your best to sleep, you’re gonna stay up all night. That is the same thing with life. When you go about searching for the meaning of life, you’ll be rewarded with disappointment and anxiety.
You’re probably thinking, “Okay, I get it. Ignorance is bliss. Let me go back to scrolling my Instagram.”
Ignorance may be bliss but knowledge is power.
We live in a time where quick fixes have become our neurobiology and online presence has become our identity. Satisfaction is now just one tap away. Hungry? Food delivery. Lonely? Social media. Horny? Pornography. There’s an answer to everything except happiness. Why? You’re looking for happiness in your smartphone. Good luck finding that.
Now that I’ve mentioned it, you will try to look for happiness elsewhere and you will fail again. But that was necessary.
The Myth of Sisyphus
The existentialist philosophy was started by Soren Kierkegaard and later followed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Friedrich Nietzsche. The philosophy of existentialism states the absurdity of life and the meaninglessness of everything. Kierkegaard, who had many hopes and aspirations with life, was almost always fragile and sick. He wrote several volumes of philosophical work stating how meaningless an absurd everything is in actual reality.
The greatest philosophical question is, therefore, “does one need to suicide in the face of the absurdity of life?”
Albert Camus, a 20th-century French philosopher replied to this with, “No, one needs to revolt against the absurdity of life.”
In his book, titled “The Myth of Sisyphus,” the final chapter compares the absurdity of man’s life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The essay concludes, “The struggle itself is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy”.
I say we must also imagine Sisyphus wearing an underwear for a hat.
Life is not so serious
We take our lives really seriously when in fact it’s really simple.
Life is a big punchline. Laugh while you can.
We think we need to be in control of everything. Sometimes we just need to let it happen.
I sometimes hear people tell other people to calm their mind when they are angry or sad. That is impossible. How can you silence your own mind? It will give you further anxiety. Your mind talks because it needs to do its shit to evolve. If you are anxious or depressed, solve the cause, not the effect. If you can’t solve it, find the cause and then endure it.
Pain is necessary for growth. Ask evolution.
Sit down with your legs crossed and breathe deeply but don’t try to still your mind. You can’t still the mind. A fire can’t burn itself. A knife can’t cut itself. Just be.