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wundayatta's avatar

What are the existential questions you worry about? What do you imagine the answers look like?

Asked by wundayatta (58599points) September 6th, 2008

Meaning? Purpose? Love? Legacy? Making a difference? What?

Whatever it is, if you have any idea what would make you feel like you’ve gotten somewhere with that issue, what does it look like in your mind? Or if you’ve actually achieved it, what did it look like?

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24 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

That question is a little too cosmic for me. Philosophers and theologians have grappled with those issues for centuries.

We’ll all be dust and memories in a hundred years. Do your best, be kind, be generous, be helpful, be loving, try to save the planet, make a few people laugh each day, (Milo just ate a small spider; it was touch and go for several minutes and I had my laugh-of-the evening.)

JackAdams's avatar

Existentialism?

My Gawd!

Will this include discussions on the writings of Pierre Flobert?

Megan64's avatar

I used to look everywhere for answers. Now I don’t look, but the answers come. Nice how it worked itself out that way.

susanc's avatar

I worry about death. I worry about where people go after their bodies are put away.
I worry about how love survives this kind of parting. I worry about whether, and where,
and how, we’ll find each other again. I worry about whether the things between us that I never repaired are forgiven. I wonder whether, if I ever see him again, I’ll ever be as important to him as he always was to me, or will his children always, and necessarily, be dearer.
I wonder if I can bear to live out my own future.
What helps? After some time in hell, I find myself reading. Mowing the lawn. I play with the kitty in the evening. The dog in the morning. I brush my teeth.
I find myself again experiencing anger at what people continue to do that’s hurtful to me and other people. I find myself feeling rage and demanding reparation when things go wrong.
I can (again) see the color of the living-room wall (blue). The texture of the water is real.
The physicality of this world: this is where we lived together, in this physicality. This is the only place I can live. But where is he living?
Is he living? Somewhere? I miss him. I miss him. I miss him.

marinelife's avatar

I think the answers to life’s huge questions are in the little moments. We are not enough in the present, we humans, always brooding about the past or yearning for a future.

I am working very hard to be in my present these days.

Megan64's avatar

@Marina: me too.

shadling21's avatar

I saw an invisible pink unicorn once. It changed my life.

augustlan's avatar

Susanc: Your beautiful answer brought tears to my eyes. You are in my thoughts.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s weird reading these answers. So many people with no problems, it seems. So many can find satisfaction in the simple things; in the smallest actions.

Susan, at least, knows what she pines for. I don’t even have that. I don’t have an excuse. Just this constant, knawing feeling of missing something. Of not measuring up. Of being incapable of ever doing anything right, and knowing all the zen advice about taking pleasure in the moment. And I do, when my mind is engaged in the moment. Music. Teaching my kids. Teaching my kids music. Writing (sort of). Work. Well, when I’m working with somone, helping someone.

But the instant these things stop, it’s back to this miserable feeling of blowing it. Not doing enough. Screwing up my life. Wasting it.

It doesn’t matter that I’m pretty competent at most life skills. That means little to me. It is the miminum I expect from myself. In fact, no accomplishment ever means anything to me. It’s just another step on the way. But where? When will I do enough? Be enough? How can I do enough? How can I be who I am?

What if the person I am is this senseless being who always worries about sense, knowing it’s impossible, and yet wanting things to make sense. My brain incessantly seeks patterns. Or to make new patterns, and when I don’t do it, I feel like shit. To be specific, it feels like a rocky dough in my belly, and some kind of pressure on my chest, and if it’s really bad, my head joins in the non-party.

Thinking is the problem. Reflecting on myself. Navel gazing. When I just am, I don’t think, and I feel ok. The moment I stop being, my soul turns into this rat knawing on it’s own foot to escape the trap. If that ain’t an existential dilemma, I don’t know what is. I invite you to tell me what I’m doing wrong (since it seems to make sense that I must be horribly on the wrong track—lost in some mental wasteland that looks suspiciously like traditional visions of hell.

I’m an utterly worthless being. Yeah, yeah. I know. I do all kind of things. My wife, my kids, my employer, blah blah blah all appreciate me. ANd the Christians will say that God has a place for me where I am valued. Intellectually, I’ve heard it all, and understood the ones that make sense, and agree with them. But I still feel worthless.

Perhaps I exaggerate a bit here, because it’s like writing to a diary that other people might see. It pleases me to imagine others might actually read what I write. Some might even like it, but it seems to me that they must somehow be mistaken (even though I desperately want them to like it). I trap myself every which way I look. I can’t get out. My mind is that proverbial steel trap, rusted shut. Messages from the mind of daloon. Sneak out, somehow, through the bars. But mostly they seem to say that this prison isn’t bad enough. Could you somehow make it worse? I’m not a masochist, but somehow I keep on torturing myself. Honest. I want a way out. Honest. I suspect that even if I found it, I don’t think I’d feel worthy of taking it.

Isn’t that a kick in the head!

marinelife's avatar

@daloon That does sound like a living hell. It also sounds like a bipolar downswing. Are you taking medication? Is it the right one? The right dose? Life is hard even when we have an even playing field. It gets impossibly harder with a chemical imbalance. Please take care.

wundayatta's avatar

Yeah, I’m compliant with my meds. I do all kinds of therapy. I can sit here and watch myself getting down, and work my coping mechs, and reason with myself, and understand the lies or exagerations I make to explain my feelings, and I know the feelings are objectively unrealistic, but yet, there they are. And despite all I do, they persist.

I don’t know if it’s just a chemical imbalance. I’ve always been like this a little. Now I’m like this a lot. Maybe other people simply don’t worry about these things. It may not occur to them. My mind works them all the time.

Maybe I do need to change the meds. Last time my shrink talked about the possibility of adding a mood stabilizer that works on depression. He is reluctant to prescribe it, because it has a nasty side effect that kills about one in 5000 folks who take it.

Maybe it’s just other bad news I’ve gotten.

I always have this creeping feeling that if I’m so down, it must be because I want to be down. It’s as if I’m fighting being well. And yet, at the same time, this is miserable, and I don’t want to be here. I just want to be happy, and sometimes, these days, I don’t remember what happiness is anymore, and I wonder if I would even recognize it if I felt it. Is it sustainable? Or is it just not my lot in life? I’m just not used to being debilitated like this.

Do I have things to do, places to go, people to meet because not doing it makes me feel like a failure, which justifies feeling this way? Or am I unable to do what I want to do because I’m actually simply incapable of it? Or am I capable, but held back because I can’t shake this crap?

I’m sorry to put this nonsense out there where others who chance by might read it, and feel miserable, too, or something. Maybe just get annoyed. On the other hand, it is nice to have an excuse to articulate it, for I never do that otherwise.

augustlan's avatar

@Daloon, articulate away!

wundayatta's avatar

@augustlan: why? It’s just whining. It does nobody any good. Pure, hideous self-indulgence.

augustlan's avatar

Some may call it whining, I call it cathartic :)

susanc's avatar

Daloon, you sure are in a maelstrom. I am worried about you. Because you say it’s getting worse. And it’s really bad. It might be self-indulgent, and it is hideous, but it’s not just whining. It’s something really bad and complex. It’s brilliant that you’re laying this on other people in a relatively safe way. But it’s no joke. You’re taking this seriously and you should be. Now what are you going to do?

marinelife's avatar

@daloon Please keep talking about it so we know you are still struggling and have not given into it.

Because of your situation, I am sure there are a lot of issues regarding medication interaction. I have no idea if this would work in your situation at all. I simply offer it as a piece of data you could ask your doctor about. I know someone who was prescribed Welbutin for AADD, and it had the positive side effect of eliminating a lot of his negative self talk. Again, I have no way of knowing if that could work with your other meds or in your situation.

Please take care. We care.

wundayatta's avatar

Already taking Welbutrin.

Anyway. Why would it make a difference to anyone on fluther whether I am still struggling or not? I’m just pixels. It could be generated by a computer. I might be lying. Maybe I’m manipulating everyone. People disappear from here all the time, and no one knows what happened, and few probably even notice. There are people that make a difference, and people notice if they’re there or not. Then there are people like me, who just schlub along, leading tawdry, clicheed lives, where the only excitement is the melodrama we make out of it. My only talent is getting down on myself. That’s something I seem to be able to do well. No one should pay attention to it, because all it really is is a shameless way to seek attention. Attention that never gets me what I want, anyway. You really should just ignore me, like most other people here.

marinelife's avatar

I notice. For instance, I noticed that cameraobscura posted recently, which I was glad to see. I noticed and applauded that playthebanjo came back. I have noticed and mourned the absence of my cyberfriend DeezerQueue for a while adn the lack of postings by the very wise Phoenyx.

I am sure I am not alone in that.

wundayatta's avatar

You seem like a very nice person.

augustlan's avatar

Daloon, we do care. I know you’re on meds, but are you also in active therapy? Just seems like maybe you could use a good session right about now. Please keep us posted.

wundayatta's avatar

Ah crap. I hate it when people are concerned about me.

Knotmyday's avatar

Mr. Loon:

You are the Walrus, Koo-Koo-Ka-Joo, and I the Eggman.

My therapist also prescribed regular exercise, for which I initially hated her. Now, however, I am noticing subtle positive changes in perception, which I attribute partially to increased endophin activity and partially to increased blood-oxygen levels.

Motivation was my only barrier- until I began to view early mornings and aching muscles as suitable punishment for my torpor, sloth, and ennui. Sounds sick? It really, really is. Muuuuahaha.

wundayatta's avatar

I played my horn last night. Also teaching my kids. I feel much better today.

I do exercise. I keep a regular schdule. I get out. I “work.”

Perhaps it all helps. None of it keeps the blues away for long enough, though. And sometimes, it’s just the fact that I am out of control that depresses me. I never had to deal with this before. I was always used to being pretty much able to do the things I se my mind to. But this? It’s hard to set a mind to set a mind, if you know what I mean. It’s a slippery thing that is constantly getting away from me.

augustlan's avatar

I’m glad you’re feeling better today…here’s to many better tomorrows!

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