I’ve seen people base their attitudes on the question: “Is this really going to matter in five years from now?” It seems to me the problem I have with this question can be best explained by using a philosophical argument called the slippery slope. Here’s how it goes:
Why stop at asking if it’s going to matter in five years? Why not ask ten? Or twenty? What about in a hundred years when you’re no longer around to care about the feelings you felt? All probability points towards this moment in question not mattering at some time, and if it won’t matter in the future than it shouldn’t matter now.
The problem is that nothing is really going to matter at some time in the future. (Not to make you feel small or insignificant but even the most important parts about humanity won’t be remembered when the universe no longer exists) Therefore, nothing should really be important to you now.
Since things obviously feel important now (as they should), the argument that we should base our current feelings solely on how we’ll feel in the future must be wrong. Right? I think so. I need to believe that if it’s important to you right now, then it matters.
In contrast, others live their lives based on the notion that every decision should be based on what is going to give you the most immediate happiness. This is the “live in the moment” philosophy. While I think that it’s important to be present in the moment you’re living in, I don’t think we should abandon goals and dreams. If we lived everyday for the sole purpose of living that day, I don’t think we would feel like we accomplished very much. In fact, I think that our lives would feel pretty meaningless.
Something that I wrote down the other day explains exactly how I feel about this: I let myself dream about future good things when I need to, because I never want to find that I don’t want to be in the future. For me, this daydreaming can be a ten year plan or it can be as simple as picking out names for a cat I want to get later. Someone literally told me that I shouldn’t wait to get a cat because I shouldn’t wait for the future to do what I want to do now. However, I’m not ready to get a cat yet because I leave town for weeks at a time and my budget is unstable and my apartment is tiny and that’s okay because I don’t plan on always living in this tiny apartment on a “I’m going to grad school” budget where I leave town all of the time. It’s just not the right time for a little kitten.
So, what do these thoughts leave me with? A balance between trying to enjoy the place of life I’m in right now, but still working towards something better. Being in the moment, and not telling myself that my bad days don’t matter. The good feelings I have right now and the bad feelings I have are both things that I’m experiencing and they are both making up what my life consists of. If part of living life means I might have a break down over a presentation for class, then I’m in because living life also means that I’m going to get to learn about things that fascinate me, and meet people that I genuinely love to be around, and drink really awesome coffee. I do enjoy my life how it is right now and I accept that right now, this is where I am.
So, what do you think? Bellatrix or Freya? (I’m talking about cat names of course!)
Also, if you want in on the really awesome coffee get yourself to a Vietnamese coffee shop and thank me for it later.
2 thoughts on “What’s the Matter?”
I just love this
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definitely Trixie (short for Bellatrix). I too love Vietnamese coffee.
One way to look at it would be the “I don’t want myself to feel small or insignificant, thus I will make choices that will personally affect my future” perspective. Maybe choices we make will not affect the universe in whole, but they will affect my individual universe. Is that selfish? Maybe. So yes, maybe the choices I make that prevent myself from obtaining immediate happiness now will matter 5 years from now.