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Some Kind Of Personal Quest To Find The Meaning Of Happiness

Diagram

So back at the farm I drew the above, uh, “diagram” in my notebook. Showed it to my travel-mate Sean.

He said: “It looks like an acid trip. ‘Everything is connected, man!’”

I responded: “Nah man, it’s not that. Whenever we go to a new place—like Chala today—I always find myself trying to figure out how well people there are living, but don’t really know where to begin looking. So I’m trying to organize my thoughts a little.”

Sean: “Well, people need three things. A place to eat, a place to sleep, and a place to poop.”

Me: “That’s enough to keep you from dying, but life is more than that.”

S: “Are you on some kind of personal quest to find the meaning of happiness?”

C: “That’s not why I made this, but yeah, basically.”

S: “Well, I’ve probably told you my philosophy a bunch of times.”

C: “I’m not sure you have.”

S: “It’s all about empathy and appreciation. The more empathy you have, the more you will appreciate the world we live in.”

There was some elaboration of this idea. I asked: “But why is that the true purpose of human existence?” Some talk that I can’t remember about neurons, and then Sean explained that his goal in life is “textured consciousness.”

S: “It feels good to learn new things, and that adds layers that your brain uses to appreciate things more. That’s why I want to travel a lot and do lots of different things. It’s a human tendency to form patterns and habits in your thinking, so I want to make an effort to break those patterns. Then I’ll have a more textured consciousness. For instance, since arriving to the farm I have gained more appreciation for cumbia music and for motorcycles, and I’ll use that to deepen my appreciation of other things.”

C: “But implicit in that is an entire philosophy about what the purpose of humanity is, and how we should spend our lives. I have some things I could say about that, but for me I guess it’s still an open question.”

A pause.

S: “Well, for me it’s textured consciousness.”

 

  1. krista Reply

    Chris-
    Despite all the obvious cultural differences between the US and Morocco, living here I’ve noticed that THE biggest difference, and one that makes it very hard for foreigners to live here, is the total lack of empathy. It’s just not an understood concept. The consequences on society are huge– homogenized thought, emphasis on not straying from tradition, rampant racism/sexism, and a general fear of being different or unique. So while part of my purpose here is learning to be more empathetic to people of other cultures, it’s strange doing that in a society that doesn’t value “others.” Just a note.

  2. Melissa Reply

    I’ve never left a comment on a blog before.

    But I really liked this.

    And I wanted to leave a reminder that I’d like to discuss further with you sometime.

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