I recently met a couple of Mormon missionaries and as I’m weird, I talked to them. As usual for religious people, they attempted to sell the idea of religion to me with promise of eternal joy at the feet of the creator. Well, there’s a problem here…
I mean, there’s a problem beyond the whole thing being a pure fantasy.
As I recently wrote about, I’m currently writing fiction again after a very long hiatus. Not that most of you would know about this, since basically all my fiction has in the past been just for my own benefit and fun.
The thing is, I don’t even really remember what I wrote about back in the day. Why? Because it doesn’t actually matter what I achieved. Since I’m not a commercial fiction writer and I probably never will be (as I’m not aiming to be), my highly RPG-adventure influenced texts don’t really mean anything. I had fun writing them and that’s the point.
This is what christians and so many other people get wrong about the world. The end goal is not the point. It’s the journey that’s important. You learn, you get the satisfaction of figuring out some weird problem, and then you move on to the next project. And that’s what being happy is about. Well, at least for me. The end result is often sort of anti-climactic, but you need to get there at some point just so you can move on to something else.
So, why would the idea of just passively enjoying myself be in any way attractive to me? I can’t really sit down for longer than a movie as it is. Eternity of that? The difference between that and Hell or some sort of perdition don’t really seem that different to me.
I don’t bask in my former glories. I used to, but then I realized that it just didn’t work for me. Now those events in my life have just been learning opportunities. I am not a nostalgic person. While I can’t really fault other people for looking into the past, I do think that my approach to life is more productive and interesting than glamoring for some gilded memory of the past. On the other hand, to me looking too much into the past also seems a bit like conceding the future.
I try to instill this thinking into my students as well where I can, but it won’t work with everyone. If I give them an assignment like “figure out how many members does the largest body of students in which everyone knows each other have” some students will be enamored by simply the complexity of the problem, while others will immediately give up, because there’s no immediately apparent starting point. (I obviously do try to give them ideas where to start.)
Does this problem have real applications? Well, no. Except that just being inspired to figure something like that out is in itself a good experience in lateral thinking (and unless you have pretty much unlimited access to the private lives of every student in the school, you do need to think laterally here). But again, the actual answer is not important. The process of getting there is.