Life – A Dull Affair


The basic dynamics of life are very easy to understand. It is a self optimizing machine that churns out species that are stronger, more deceitful, and those best suited to a particular environment. That’s it. The implications that follow are also easy to understand. The strong devour and/or exploit the weak. The skillful liar will deceive and take from the honest individual. Changing environmental circumstances will determine which species thrive over other species. Life is a dull topic. There is no need to keep repeating how heartless, barbaric, cruel, and seemingly futile the whole of life seems to be. But people do keep harping on about it – sometimes dispassionately, but usually with a sense of outrage.

There is of course something very personal about acknowledging the dullness of life as a survival and reproduction machine. It simultaneously means recognizing that the basic dynamics of our own lives are dull. However, we tend to take such a realization very personally. We want our lives to have meaning, to be headed somewhere, and we find it an affront to our own sense of importance to include ourselves in the estimation that the processes of life are a dull affair.

So here is a metric that can be used to measure the degree to which we have moved on beyond considerations of our own survival – something that usually interests us a great deal. If you are still complaining about the brutality, futility and vanity of life, it’s because your ego cannot accept the brutality, futility, and vanity of your own life. And let’s be clear, when we use the term life we are talking about the great survival and reproduction machine. 

But there is a kind of magic that can be worked here. The more we understand the dynamics of life and can come to fully accept them (which is quite difficult), so we find ourselves freed from our own personal part in it. The brutality, futility and vanity become less interesting. Watching life, and one’s own life, is like watching a predictable, tedious, awful machine at work.

We only become free when we become free of ourselves, and since we are a part of life, so it means becoming free of the life within us – in other words transcending the personal. There are much, much more interesting things to consider than the dull process of brith, procreation, and death. How about trying to understand the nature of the reality we inhabit? It’s much more interesting than the dull processes of life. How about trying to understand yourself? If you dare. 



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