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Yes, I concur that resistance to burnout depends on having a broader context to your life and humanity as a whole. If you understand your own life within the perspective of the billions of humans that have lived and died before you, and that will live after you, it adds a very resilient drive and resistance to small setbacks.

Personally, I was able to achieve this using the recursive why, or chained why, which is a thinking pattern I'll describe here:

1. Come up with a random statement about anything at all.

2. Ask "Why?" about that statement.

3. When you come up with a reasonable answer, ask "Why?" to your stated answer.

4. Repeat step three until you arrive at the meaning of life

This really works. I did this riding the bus for hours when I was a kid because I had no friends. Now it's like I live on another planet compared to people who have not done this. Stoic, content, and driven is the result




Eventually the last "why" you get to has the answer: "The biological machinery that comprises my body receives incoming stimuli and the laws of physics causes a cascading chain reaction which changes my internal state. Thus, I'm basically a series of recursive analog state machines and free will is but an illusion." At that point, you lose all motivation for asking any further "why" questions.


Last I checked, the free will question wasn't shut, and I wouldn't suggest basing your entire model of the world on something that pretty much nobody has a good understanding of right now. O.o

It sounds like you've simply bought modern "nihilism", i.e., the "everything is meaningless and nothing matters" philosophy that a lot of logical types seem to believe but none actually live (since it's not workable).

Digging down to whys requires actually answering them, not throwing your arms in the air and saying that the question is unanswerable. It's answerable, there's a reason that you do things, otherwise you wouldn't even be able to exist. "I do things because that's what my machinery does" is avoiding the question. Well, duh. That doesn't mean there aren't reasons as to why you do or do not eat that donut.

It's like if someone approached you asking how a given piece of software works, and instead of explaining the structure and the business logic, you say that it's a bunch of machine code. Wrong level of abstraction, you just dodged the question.


Oh, I'm not saying that I live under a nihilist viewpoint. Even if free will is little more than an illusion masked by seemingly infinite complexity, I happily buy into the illusion and (for the most part) operate as if I have unlimited agency / free will. My comment was more to say that you have to stop asking "why" at some point and just go with the flow otherwise you descend into meaningless.


> I [...] operate as if I have unlimited agency / free will.

That's a different sort of trap, as it ignores the effects of circumstance (even minor things, like whether organ donation is an opt-in or opt-out checkbox can have huge real-world effects).

It also leads to blaming the unfortunate for making poor choices when those choices have been both constrained and biased by circumstance.


I mean... but you do. You just said that if you keep asking, you end up with a "nihilist" view and descend into meaningless. So your overall philosophy right now is that form of "nihilism". That is, after all, why you do not find the value in asking "why".

I strongly disagree with that and I believe this kind of thinking is not actually as logical or as rational as you were lead to believe, and properly asking the why question and answering it is fairly critical to figuring out what should be done.

> go with the flow

Go with whose flow? You realize that this is just you piggybacking on someone else's answer to the "why" and blindly accepting it without any kind of verification? This should be alarming, not calming.

Really, if someone somewhere was able to answer this question well enough that they could create a "flow" for you to go with, you can do the same.


My understanding was that the whole point of going with the flow is to avoid thinking too much.


It's the path of least resistance, that's why people do it, there isn't some greater "point" to it. But it leaves you at the mercy of someone else. Choose the someone else carefully, as I haven't really seen good candidates lately...


Exactly.


While I'm sure that methodology can produce personal drive in some people, others can follow the same process and feel like it'll never mean something.

Also, if possible, could you point me in the direction of this "meaning of life" you found. It would really help me out.


Hi, sure I'll point you in the direction of the meaning of life.

It's really the question of why are we here? What are humans and what is our consciousness and emotions?

Humans are the most fit creatures for life on planet earth pre-civilization. We were created by an evolutionary algorithm where the fitness function was our ability to reproduce and live the most effective, longest lives.

Our emotions and feelings are the "emergent behaviour" of our complex system of mate selection, reproduction and raising our young that runs on a chemical system created by that billion year evolutionary algorithm.

So our society is a great big thing that basically determines the lives of 8 billion of these creatures. And the people who are driving the ship don't understand themselves or their place in the universe. They might as well be outside of society altogether, fighting over mates in the forest. But no, here we are, blessed with our language, technology, medical science and all the other blessing bestowed upon us by our prescient forefathers, killing ourselves. Marching towards our own death. Taking human development and the ecology of our planet for granted. The smart among us watch a slow motion apocalypse.

So my life goal is to fucking stop this shit whatever it takes so that I can rest easy knowing I didn't get to see the light and then ignore the answers it showed me


> I did this riding the bus for hours when I was a kid

Why?

> because I had no friends.

Why?


Wow, that really was a clever post you made. I think you're smarter than me, and I feel bad about myself.


That wasn't my intent (well, the "feeling bad" part wasn't, anyway), but I guess I'll just have to take what I can get.


I misinterpreted that then. Cheers.




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