Whether it be in relationship, business, or the good old fashion pursuit of identity, each one of us is just trying to figure things out. We’re trying to do better, to be better. We are trying to find happiness and make sense of this world.
But in all honesty, we aren’t trying hard enough. Modern humans are giving up way too early. We have abandoned the true and noble endeavors inherent in these pursuits for a superficial facsimile. We’ve built up walls of bias, created tiny little empires we can completely control. And the only cost is our deepest longings, our truest self.
If we want to live a truly fulfilling life, it is time to get real. It’s time to stop playing games, stop performing for crowds, stop sidestepping the difficulties. There is nothing more important for relationships, organizations, and identity than seeking the truth. And there is nothing we have abandoned quite as fervently as the truth. We have become experts at manipulating others and even lying to ourselves. We’re so mired in subtle exaggerations and falsity that we can hardly see our way out.
The True End
The first step in seeking truth is to do better at naming our end. Nobody wants money as an end. Fame is not a true end. We have to stop worshipping these footholds. Because once we reach them and set up camp, we find we’re still dangling perilously from the mountainside.
We want money or recognition or materials because we equate those with the kinds of things we really want. Acceptance. Value. Purpose. Disgruntled employees aren’t really angry they aren’t being paid enough. They’re upset that they do not feel as though they are part of something meaningful. Pay is a way we express meaning. It is not, however, a landing strip for meaning. It is not the end, merely a means. And of all the means, it is a relatively weak one.
What we need is to end our obsession with the superficial. We need to get real about the True End. We need to name what matters to us, what we truly value, and pursue it at all costs. Our dissatisfaction compounds as we accumulate stuff and it does not serve the purpose we imagine it would. Celebrities and billionaires are overdosing, divorcing, and sinking into depression just as much as janitors and insurance agents.
Money is not our True End. I know it. You know it. It’s time to take it to heart and start living by a more sacred aim.
The True Game
There are no shortcuts to truth. Perception is not truth. And it is not the fault of others that you are living mired in lies and deceit, it is a product of your own choices.
We have this fundamental (and untrue) belief that our value comes through others. As such, we operate in a system where we try to manipulate their affection. We try to trick them into paying us or liking us. Marketing strategies and pricing points try to squeeze the most out of consumers as possible rather than communicating the true value and mission of the company. Husbands and wives play a passive-aggressive game of emotional chess to try to get their own way rather than sharing in sacrificial unity and vulnerability.
These false methods are a natural result of our pursuit of a false end. We can justify our manipulations, the little head games we play, by a desperation for idolized milestones. And we further shrug off our behavior by saying this-is-how-the-world-works, which has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Partisan politics have become representative of partisan social, professional, and romantic efforts. No one seems willing to stop playing the game.
The True Motivation
We cannot find happiness by pursuing it. Happiness is a mirage in the desert, a hallucination. Most humans are lost, dying of thirst, dizzy under the pressurized heat of the sun. We’re reaching for one false mirage after another, increasing frustrated, irritable.
The first step to finding our True End is to be honest about our true motivations. Not our superficial mirages, but the deep soul desires. Why am I so desperate for romance? Why do I need the people at work to like me? Why do I want to climb the ladder? Our motivations aren’t sex or success. These are shadows of the truth.
Seeking the truth is an essential part of vibrant living. We only find happiness as a byproduct of pursuing meaning. Asking ourselves ‘why’ will lead us to our values and to our True End, our Transcendent Purpose.
It’s important to note that you don’t need the world to change for you to do this. You don’t need the system or society or whatever you’re blaming to change the rules. You need to take ownership of your own journey and your own choices. The truth is an authority that trumps them all. You decide what you are going to pursue and who you are going to follow.
It’s time to stop believing the lies. It’s time to stop playing games. It is time to seek the truth. It’s time to get real.