Disillusionment & Meaning; Where is joy?


It’s interesting, how we feel when we find ourselves simply drifting along the river of life, feeling disillusioned, sad and depressed at times or simply dark, angry, confused.. It’s interesting, because when we look at the same floaty path of life and the choices made, and the turns that life choicelessly took..and find a meaning, a value, and look for that common string that binds things together, life doesn’t feel illusionary… one doesn’t feel lost n ‘drifty’..

I suppose when we keep the goal of finding some meaning out of life’s events than trying to achieve a specific meaning or make something out of it, we may find joy from within and a different kind of motivation or driving force in life- one which keeps us rooted.







12 thoughts on “Disillusionment & Meaning; Where is joy?

  1. Most of what drives us to do *anything*, I’ve noticed, is in our attempt to not feel ‘redundant’. We want to convince ourselves and others that what we think, say and do ‘matter’. One of the fears associated with death, e.g., is not of simply ceasing to exist, but also that people will get over it and their life would move on as usual, and that the process of our existing and trying to matter did not really, well, matter.

    Of course, what I have said in the very first sentence here is a bit difficult to demonstrate, but I will some day, maybe through a blog post. πŸ™‚

    For me personally, there is no ‘meaning’ or ‘purpose’ to life. Of course, everything that happens acts as a ’cause’ of the ‘consequence’ that the present would be, but I would never call it the ‘purpose’. Because the word ‘purpose’ implies an ‘ought’ (it is a ‘good’ thing to happen) or an ‘intent’ (it was meant by someone [who?] to be that way), which is logically fallacious, in my opinion when it comes to the events happening in nature. So, I try not to put things that would have happened in the past into a chain of events that were ‘meant to be’. That they happened the way I perceive them to have happened (and this perception need not be the absolute ‘reality’) is the only ‘truth’. And that truth is independent of my acknowledging or liking/disliking it. πŸ™‚

    If Darshan Chande were to read my comment, he’d start yawning coming across the same oft-repeated words. Maybe, that is the ‘purpose’ of my comment! πŸ˜›

    1. Hmm.. Thank you for sharing Dear Ketan πŸ™‚ ..In knowing that we are trying to see the sunny side so if there is shit and muck that needs passing and surviving, we also acknowledge indirectly, at the back of mind, that the sunny side may not be so.. In simple words, we by action acknowledge that there are perspectives at play here, which sows the seed for later learning and journey to be unraveled for the individual. So having agreed intellectually to what you offer, when say a client walks in with a feeling and sense of doom, life is ‘purposeless’ at that point doesn’t work to say the least. Personally I avoid having any views as possible to be able to appreciate th client’s journey than teaching him or guiding him with something which I dont qualify or aspire for.. But I do know and have seen, how having some goal or objective in mind which has more or less naturally emerged (than trying to Create something and feel its pressure)- helps a person find a reason to go on and not give up in life. It is the timing that matters. We maybe all the same at the beginning and the end perhaps.. This article focuses at dark moments where what you put in may not be received the way you intend- all because of the timing and the nature of being of the individual’s spot. Without roots, a tree may not survive to acknowledge that it has little control over the winds and it’s life is not about serving or not serving purpose… πŸ™‚ At the same time, in a rock bottom scenario, what you offer may interestingly work when knowledge, and not information, is shared with a close watch that the person has not misunderstood the idea and more importantly, it’s application.
      Once again, I’m glad you wrote and shared πŸ™‚ Thank you~

    2. Also,
      β€œI would say that our patients never really despair because of any suffering in itself! Instead, their despair stems in each instance from a doubt as to whether suffering is meaningful. Man is ready and willing to shoulder any suffering as soon and as long as he can see a meaning in it.”

      -Viktor Frankl, 1961, Logotherapy and the Challenge of Suffering


  2. Wow, Kunjal!

    I can’t explain how impressed I am with your understanding of the issue at hands. πŸ™‚ Yes, I myself lead my life on various planes. What I wrote about is merely a philosophical stance. That ‘knowledge’ of redundancy of my knowledge is not actionable. But, why action? I don’t know. Maybe, I’m hard-wired to fear death and that’s why I keep on trying to survive, and since with all the technological advances we have, it’s not at all difficult to survive, so I choose a ‘mode’ of survival that ‘feels good’ and that entails trying to gain happiness out of the opportunities ‘life’ provides.

    It’s not that the impression I create through commenting on your blog post matters much, but if I were to encounter a client of the kind you cited, my response would be similar to yours. I’ll respond on level of his plane of existence, wherein it is important to find a ‘meaning’ to life. I will not heap contempt upon anyone taking the world ‘too’ seriously, because there is no such thing as taking the world ‘too’ seriously.

    I liked the way you hinted at lack of receptivity of those not prepared for such realizations. I’ve had to face such a predicament in the past in class 12, when I’d read about neurotransmission and realized how my emotions, intent, motivations, etc., were outcomes of ‘action potentials’ (nerve impulses), which in turn were outcome of very simple physical and chemical processes. I was shattered and heart-broken, but nor could I share my problems with anyone because I would’ve felt guilty of transmitting the same nihilism I was suffering from back then to others. πŸ™‚ I guess, empathy trumps in my case in how I respond to others.

    As an aside, what amazes me is that in your entire post you did not even as much as drop a hint of the depth of insight you possess in this matter. Otherwise, my comment would’ve been lot less ‘sermonizing’. πŸ˜€

    You’re most welcome! Thanks for your response, as well! And again, I’m impressed!

  3. And thanks to your above quote, I became aware of the ‘power’ and ‘meaning’ aspects of the driving forces behind humans apart from of course the ‘pleasure’ aspect propounded by Freud, which I was somewhat aware of. πŸ™‚

  4. And also, incidentally I was discussing today over twitter itself the differences between philosophies of ‘absurdism’ and ‘nihilism’. πŸ˜€ I’ll keep on posting new things that come to my mind; hence, there might be many such short comments. Hope, you don’t mind!

    1. Far from it.. Like I said, your time, and comment is appreciated! I want to respond in a longer comment, but will have to postpone till I’m back again, online. πŸ™‚ And I get what you’re saying.. πŸ™‚ Will write at length after a bit. Take care ~

  5. For Ketan (& and for Kunjal too)…

    This is some interesting discussion. I recently had a similar convo with Harmanjit. Will share some of what I wrote in one of my replies to him. It’s with regards to the knowledge of the fundamental meaninglessness and absurdity and how we try to live through it.

    He asked me to read http://scratchpad.wikia.com/wiki/The_Last_Messiah And said,

    “i am entering a relationship with the awareness of the dangers of awareness. if that makes sense.”

    My reply

    I read The Last Messiah. To be honest, I found it very hard to grasp.

    Cultural history, as well as observation of ourselves and others, allow the following answer: Most people learn to save themselves by artificially limiting the content of consciousness.

    This is like what I mean by selective re-illusionment. I am not sure if one can save oneself thus before getting disillusioned. Because while in the journey of truth-seeking, if one doesn’t seek, one will be miserable. A seeker is following his nature only, just like other people. His misfortune is that, as you called it, his momentum of inquiry is very high, which of course he knows not. So, the seeker who is seeking because he wants to “ease” his life, has to go on seeking or he will be miserable. Now, unfortunately he reaches the stage of “disillusionment”, which is another kind of misery. But here I think he can save himself by again accepting some illusions and creating meaning in his life.

    I think whoever invented God must have been genius! Haha. Okay, for me, I can’t believe in God however hard I try. Because God, for me, can’t even exist in theory. But many other things, like life-long partnership, at least can exist in theory. So I think its easy to believe in it. No need to invite rationality to tell us that nothing and no one lasts forever. Who knows, maybe tomorrow we find a woman who is in same mess as we are in, trapped in awareness and trying to save herself; and utterly in need of the meaning, the savior. Get me? If I find such a woman (which is not impossible, no?) I can only imagine now wonderful life will become. I won’t bring the awareness to mind. I live for such “silly” (rationally, speaking) dreams now. πŸ™‚ I “believe” in friendship. Oh and in that area I am “lucky” enough to have a couple of friends exactly in the same position as me. There are many other illusions which are easy to fall in, and live for. Then whatever has to happen will happen. If I lose the friend, then of course I have the awareness and I will only laugh in the time of discomfort coming by the loss of friend.

    Another thing I am finding meaningful is: Being nice to people. Earlier, when I believed I was leading towards the “right” position by seeking, I believed anyone who was not seeking and suffering in life was a fool and deserved to suffer. Call it arrogance. I would not want to empathize with people. But now that I know that there’s no such thing as the “right” position, I understand them as never before. I can totally empathize with them, relate with them. Earlier, when someone said I am suffering, what should I do? I would ask things like, do you believe in God? If he said “yes”, I would think, okay, he deserves to suffer. I can’t help you, you are too ignorant, I would say. Like that. .. .. But yesterday I was in train with my friend and we were discussing about the suffering and things, and there’s this man (aged about 40, guessing from looks) who interrupted us and asked me if he could share something with us. Yes, I said, and he described his life’s misery and asked what to do? And, among other things, I told him to believe firmly in and pray to God, be a good man, and expect God’s blessing, while not stopping to try for betterment. Because he was an ordinary man, “normal” one. That was his level. 20 minutes of motivational talk and he seemed very happy when we got down from the train and said thanks and asked, “sure it will become alright, no?” Of course, I said. Will never see him again, but even while typing this I am overwhelmed and it brings tears to my eyes. How we are all the victims of life. There’s no point turning someone down.

    There’s this radical change coming in me. Of course, I can be rude with people when the situation demands. But deep down, I am beginning to relate with people of every sort. We all crave for love. Someone who thinks that I am a good person. Awareness may have made us indifferent to life’s both bitter and sweet experiences. But I think we can re-kindle our emotional side. And when that happens, life seems worth-while. Turning down emotions with awareness is tragic.

    You somewhere wrote something like: We shouldn’t run from life before it’s become ugly. But the problem of the aware people is that they know that it’s going to become ugly. So even if they don’t run away from some experience, they will wait for it to become ugly (because they have the damn knowledge) and miss all the enjoyment meanwhile. For example, romantic love, or marriage, requires the belief of forever-lasting. That belief is very part of being in love. If we enter it with awareness we miss the whole point of it. Same applies in other experiences of life. Certain beliefs (even though irrational) are prerequisites of that particular experience, without which we can’t be said to have had that experience.

    So, that’s what I am doing. Selective re-illusionment. I believe it works for me. Let’s see, have only lately started this. πŸ™‚

    He said in this reply, that if I was a woman he would have married me. πŸ™‚ Haha.

    πŸ™‚ And Ketan, no, I don’t yawn on your talks of purposelessness and all. I myself am now of much the same view as you. You don’t read my blog! Argh! :D1

    1. You’ve shared quite a bit Darshan, and without self reservations.. πŸ™‚ Not easy..
      To each his own- the journey.. yes.. I’m going to limit my response here to a comment:
      When to seek, What one seeks, What is required for that, When one must stop.. I believe you may be addressing and experiencing these things in action in your journey.. πŸ™‚
      Like I’ve told you before Darshan.. with you there’s only being after our last discussion, there’s not much left unsaid, I’m experiencing that again– it still stays! πŸ™‚

    2. To add:
      β€œKnowledge is knowing that we cannot know.”

      -Ralph Waldo Emerson
      One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
      – Carl Jung


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