Devoting yourself to a "cause"

 Mike Wuest (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago

So I’ve been told recently that I have no “passion” or “fire” towards anything. At first, this kind of irritated me, but then I started to think, “you know, you may be right.” It’s not that I’m apathetic towards life, it’s just that I can’t buy into the idea of devoting myself to some ideology or cause. It all seems futile.

It seems to me that only the unquestioning naive idiots are the ones who can throw themselves into the world with reckless abandon. They are the only ones who care so passionately about how much they are “helping the world.”

From the PETA activists, to the doctors who medicate away your pain and symptoms, to the teachers who indoctrinate you into a way of thinking, to the scientists who think that transhumanism and synthetic chemicals/drugs will lead to our salvation… it’s all just a bunch of bullshit. Just people who want to convince themselves that they’re actually making a positive difference, when in reality they are just cogs in a machine, all contributing in their unique way at propagating it.

So when people say, “you don’t seem passionate about anything.” How could I? I can’t just go back to pretending that school or rewards, threats, and incentives matter anymore. I can’t go back to thinking that by being a “productive member of society,” I’m actually contributing to something worthwhile and productive.

I’d have to be a fucking idiot to dedicate myself to some ideology, be it a religious, political, scientific or social belief system.

I’m sorry to those who are too fearful/stupid to question the collective ideology they’ve dedicated themselves to that I use my own brain, ears, and eyeballs to perceive my world and come up with my own opinions instead of relying on some external body of knowledge to tell me what is right or wrong.

I’m sorry I’m not numb enough to convince myself that all I need to do is put my head down, go to school, passively absorb information, give up the sovereignty of my own mind, and that somehow I can now make the world a “better place.” I’m sorry that I’m not shortsighted enough to convince myself that the one narrative (out of a virtual infinite number of narratives I could potentially believe in) I’ve been told is the truth and nothing but the truth.

Most people operate from such a level of naivety and immaturity that sometimes it’s hard to believe.

December 1, 2013 at 9:13 am
Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, Is your devotion to a non-cause any different?

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@martijn, I’m not devoted to a non-cause. That’s an elementary dillema. Like the atheist whose believes in no god, it’s the same thing as a religion. A belief is a belief. Please don’t take this thread to that level. I’m not that dumb. Did you read the thread, or just respond to the title?

There are plenty of things I believe in and support. Most people lack perspective on their beliefs, they give up their own mind and critical thinking skills to an external authority/body of knowledge, and that’s where the problem is.

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Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, The paradox is, of course, that

“I’m sorry that I’m not shortsighted enough to convince myself that the one narrative (out of a virtual infinite number of narratives I could potentially believe in) I’ve been told is the truth and nothing but the truth.”

Is just another narrative you do believe in.

Besides that, your post is awfully full with resentment and anger towards ‘the Other’. The sense I get from your words is that you are trying really hard to make ‘them’ look wrong, which, de facto, makes you right.

I guess you probably understand that while you say you don’t want to end up “relying on some external body of knowledge to tell me what is right or wrong.” this is exactly what you do in your post.

What would you feel if you realised you were no different than the ones you are judging? That no matter what, you will still be one of the cogs?

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Ray Butler (1,423)M (@trek79) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, That’s how I look at things basically; I am biding my time, waiting for something to click in humanity that I find both worthwhile and likely to endure. That is what I do, I try to inspire that thing but I will know it when I see it and I’ll be on board 100%.

I figure pretty much every cause is currently just treating a symptom of the disease, I want to commit to the cure, not be a pharmaceutical company.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@martijn, Some good points. I agree with you somewhat. So you don’t think it’s possible to not just blindly follow an ideology? To not give up your own mind to a body of knowledge that is external to you. Like the people who always need “scientific data” in order for something to be true, for example? Or the people who think that by taking away people’s symptoms, that they’re actually solving a problem? There seems to be different levels of blind acceptance, and I do think it’s possible to break free of that by degree.

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Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, I didn’t notice you edited your post. (which only contained the words “@martijn, I’m not devoted to a non-cause.”)

Please stop passive-aggressivily insulting me. I know its one of your mental immune programs to feel intellectually superior, but if that is your goal this conversation is, per definition, over. You can keep adding people to ‘the Other’ group you disagree with, a priori indicating that they don’t understand you, and therefore never having to face the problems within yourself.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@martijn, I’m pretty sure you just took it as me passive agressively insulting you

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@martijn, And aren’t you also saying that it’s wrong for me to have the self-other distinction? Aren’t you then doing the same thing? I feel how I feel right now about this issue. It’s not wrong that I feel that way. There is no proper or right way for me to view this situation, such as not creating an enemy by seeing people as “Other.”

There are people who accept ideologies without questioning, and who can be happy and content devoting themselves to said ideologies because they’ve never questioned them or questioned where it’s all heading. That’s a fact. Me pointing it out is not creating an “Other.” To say that what I’m saying does not occur is just denying reality.

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Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, “So you don’t think it’s possible to not just blindly follow an ideology?”

Currently I feel torn between two sides. One side is quite Nietzschean, in the sense that, yes, it is possible to overcome the fragmented God, as the source of all external objective values and truth. It is possible, as an individual, to make your own values, to become truly sovereign and free from immanence.

On the other hand this seems quite futile, in that all my actions and thoughts are another expression of the current time and place I inhabit, of the current prevailing ideology which paradoxically isn’t able to see itself as ideological. There is fundamentally no difference between myself and my environment, and, as such, the billboards on the street guide my thoughts, the supermarket my food and, more globally, capitalism my being.

It is actually a cause of a great struggle within me, which I hope will bear fruit one day or another.

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Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, “Please don’t take this thread to that level. I’m not that dumb. Did you read the thread, or just respond to the title?”

“I’m pretty sure you just took it as me passive agressively insulting you”

I am not that dumb is a passive indicator that you are the victim of some accusation of dumbness. Then there is aggression direct to this perception.

To get to the point of the matter, you could actually argue in reverse. Precisely the people without a cause are the ones who are ideologically constrained. They just go whatever direction the wind blows, never actually being able to critically think about their situation, since they have no measuring stick to measure their situation. I think the way out of this situation, is to think what the criterium of your critique is. And, if the answer is, your intelligence, or your own reasoning, you must ask yourself how you know there is no critique on that criterium, ad infinitum.

My point is not so much that I know (a positive charged thing), but that I know that you portray you know (a negation), and that your knowledge about the other doesn’t hold any ground.

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Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

“There are people who accept ideologies without questioning, and who can be happy and content devoting themselves to said ideologies because they’ve never questioned them or questioned where it’s all heading. That’s a fact. Me pointing it out is not creating an “Other.” To say that what I’m saying does not occur is just denying reality.”

I am not saying this does not occur. What I am saying is that the questioning itself is part of the ideology. So fundamentally, what you seem to do, and what you make to think as different from those you attacked in your openings post, doesn’t hold ground.

What if the idea that you are not in an ideology is the ideology?

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Daisy (16) (@Daisyrapp) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829,
‘ Just people who want to convince themselves that they’re actually making a positive difference, when in reality they are just cogs in a machine, all contributing in their unique way at propagating it.’
I am sorry, but this is terribly wrong.Most people , in their daily activities and NGO’s do make a diffrence.We do help society/ the world become a better place.For example, there is an NGO in Latin America that builds houses for people and helps them become more independent.
I was lucky enough to be able to go and help there and it opened my mind complety, it helped me realize that the concept of ‘me’ and ‘others’ is irrevelant, and helped me question many other beliefs I previously had.
Those experiences make you start questioning your beliefs, they help you break you own paradigm and create new ones.

When you say ‘ ’m sorry I’m not numb enough to convince myself that all I need to do is put my head down, go to school, passively absorb information, give up the sovereignty of my own mind, and that somehow I can now make the world a “better place.”

I really don’t know what you’re picturing, Most NGO’s are ‘life hackers’. They weren’t happy about a situation, something they saw, and felt the need for a change. They thought diffrently. I think you should try at least to experience a bit before making an argument :)
Sorry for my english btw.

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Emma (193) (@emmaclaire) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

It seems your cause is enlightening people to the bigger picture in life. You might want to clean it up a little though because I don’t think people are going to want to listen if you are poking fingers.

On a different note, I think there are people out there who are making a great difference. Like the people who start their own NGOs and drastically improve the living conditions in impoverished nations (to those nations own benefit), the people who choose to recycle and conserve, the people who own their own doggy rescues… Of course we are all cogs in a machine! But we shape how the machine operates each in our own ways.

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Anonymous (107) (@) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Being devoted to anything is just a medium for strengthening yourself. You can do it without having it be about the cause, and make it about your own creative [email protected],

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Ed (40) (@orange) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, Fuck what other people think! Do what you want. Do what makes sense to you. You don’t need to dedicate your life to a cause. Unless you want to.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@martijn, Yeah I see what you’re saying. Anything that is turned into a concept is an ideology. Unfortunately, when we talk over the internet, we run into that problem. On one level, everything is ideological when you turn it into words and concepts. I think there is a deeper level though, beyond the thinking mind, where the world is no longer this conceptual thing. Most people live in conceptual realities (which lends them to falling into the ideological trap of supporting “causes”), where they mistake their thoughts and beliefs (which is just one interpretation of a potential infinite) for the living reality itself.

Obviously, on one level, everything I just said, you could argue is an ideology itself. I think we have to move past that to have a productive conversation though. There’s a level beyond thoughts and beliefs. The only way for us to communicate online is through thoughts and words, however. So stuff like this is hard to talk about because you’ll always just be accused of being hypocritical.

@daisyrapp, @emmaclaire, Thanks for the input. I never said that there were no such thing as good causes. Just that most of the causes, the consensus view of what’s right and wrong, isn’t leading anywhere.

And I would actually argue that any group where you’re just implementing some set philosophy/ideology, no matter what it is, is the devotion towards the wrong type of cause. Because things are dynamic, they change from second to second, minute to minute, day to day.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@daisyrapp, I have experienced that type of thinking for 22 years. I don’t talk about things I have no experience with!

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Lestat (9) (@lestat) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, Committing to something wholly gives you a better chance at mastering it and isn’t mastery on of the purest goals for a living being, in terms of evolution that is?

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@lestat, Well then, I guess those Nazis were right after all. And the communists, and the capitalists bent on turning the world into a product. And the doctors who allow laziness, passivity, and docility to propogate by covering up their symptoms and not addressing the root problems that caused the illnesses in the first place, and allowing those issues to continue to fester underneath the surface. And the student, who is taught to only absorb and accept information and not think critically about it. And the feminists who seek to homogenize everyone and make everything politically correct. And the transhumanists, who want people to ever increasingly merge with and get sucked into technology and artificial realities. I guess they’re all right.

It’s all a product of throwing yourself into a cause without questioning its tenants. These people think they’re helping, but they’re only creating more of the same shit that caused us to be where we are in the first place.

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Ray Butler (1,423)M (@trek79) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, It is one thing to be more aware of problems that most people don’t give a second thought to, but that is in no way superior to those who don’t. I like to think the moment I believe I am superior in some way is the moment I’m inferior. Because it is all about perspective, different perspectives are just different, not better or worse.

In everything you can see an upside and down side; some people have the strength to face the big problems, others would be killed by it, some of us see the beauty and want to protect it from the ugliness but somewhere along the way we become so jaded or frustrated that we stop seeing the beauty all together and exist in some perpetual hatred for the ugliness.

I think there isn’t a single cause under the sun that is worth being constantly miserable over and there is no way to really solve problems if you only exist in one frame of mind, one perspective, thoughts are very mood dependant and a change of mood is nothing short of a new approach.

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Quincy (13) (@forward) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829 I like how @trek79 (Ray) originally put it…. Because I believe what you said and yet reject what @martjin says…. I am not devoted to believe in nothing yet can’t submit myself to the delusional concept of biding my time away with a cause because there is some social stigma that I must. I love school, but yet can’t devote my self to the flawed system, relying on a degree of a subject that I must, with my degree, pursue for the entirety of my life. < this is just an example that highlights my current status. But I get the feeling that many of us on this website are lost in a way that we've all come to some realization that we are meant for something bigger than ourselves yet haven't seemed to find a more grand scheme/cause/devotion, whatever you'd call it, or haven't allowed it to find us. On this point I can only speak for myself but, even the smallest of passions, like art, helping people, building, the environment and earth, are only small cogs of a bigger drive that haven't seemed to find their rhythm by any single cause even though the desire to let them all flourish burns deep down it seems as though I just haven't been presented with a single platform to lie them all on an utilize. I guess it may seem I'm somewhat back tracking with my thoughts but This, I am wondering may be similar to others. Its a shame that our society no longer produces or presents these such platforms in abundance but rather a single shelf of such where you pick your passion with the biggest take of your "pie" and devote yourself to it…… its hard to word but I believe we may be on the same page, yes, no?

also @mikeyw829 whould you mind going into detail, more personally, such as what gives you passion, drive, what's failed to harness all of these passions, is it just the difficulty or idiocy of picking one… I know for myself writing, thinking, it all out and getting that "other person" perspective (especially like-minded others) helps myself to better formulate my beliefs…. all in all just curious and good thread matter

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Lestat (9) (@lestat) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, I said commit wholly to something, not everything..I was talking more in a personal level, something like archery, soccer or even knitting whatever strikes your fancy..Something one is passionate about.

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Joel (40) (@jp907) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829,
Walking around saying “most people are naive and immature” is a pretty fucking naive and immature thing to do, man.

So become a doctor and work on cures, not cover ups.
Go to school and actively absorb information on a subject that interests you, then put it to good use.
Become a teacher who encourages independent thought and discussion, rather than memorization.

If you really can’t find anything on this Earth worth doing, you have my pity. Many people on this site (and elsewhere in the world) hold a similar point of view as yours, that people are often misguided and do not question the “way things are”. That being said, I’ll take a dentist who fixes cavities over the guy who thinks all dentists are blind, shortsighted idiots because of the FDA’s regulations on sugar content.

Nothing has ever come from destructive, negative thinking. If someone says, “Hey, fuck school!” they had better follow it with, “… and here’s how we can reform the education system.”

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Filip (2,818)M (@filipek) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@mikeyw829, Compassion compassion compassion. In my experience this is the most beautiful thing to experience in this world. Real unconditional love, something very rare, but something so intense and out of this world. Fight for it, be persistent, be consistent and believe that you will find it at some point in your life. The right time will come when the right time will be there to come. You cannot speed up the Universe, once the conditions are set, the equivalent causes can follow.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@jp907, hmm. I don’t think that pointing out facts is naive and immature. Look at the world around you. Denying reality is not “positive.” Pointing out facts that appear “negative” is not negative.

“So become a doctor and work on cures, not cover ups.”
-See how insidious this mindset is? To develop a “cure” in the way you’re talking about is a cover up. Vaccines, anti-biotics, etc… all cover ups. They don’t account for how the problem got there in the first place.

“If you really can’t find anything on this Earth worth doing, you have my pity”
-Now you’re making assumptions based on things I never said. All I said was that I can’t devote myself to a cause. That doesn’t mean I just sit there. Do your organs devote themselves to the cause of keeping your body running? Do you cells devote themselves to a cause? Do animals or babies devote themselves to causes? No, they don’t. Yet they still accomplish things and do their job.

People are lost in their minds. Lost in rules and beliefs and ideologies and causes. It’s completely unnatural.

“I’ll take a dentist who fixes cavities over the guy who thinks all dentists are blind, shortsighted idiots because of the FDA’s regulations on sugar content.”
-who ever said this? I certainly didn’t. It seems like your making a lot of assumptions and getting angry based on things I never said. If I get shot, of course I’d want someone to take the bullet out. But that’s not a cure. A cure would be me not getting shot in the first place.

The western paradigm is a paradigm of constant building, achieving, advancing. We are growing taller, but not wiser. The more technology we have, the more pills we can take, the more advanced surgical techniques, the easier it is for us to cover up our deficiencies or avoid them without actually solving the problem. People are becoming slaves to technology.

I’m sorry that line of thinking no longer works for me. I’m sorry for creating a thread about it. the true negativity, however, would be pretending that none of that exists and trying to be “positive.” Get real, man. And the only way people could devote themselves to this “cause” of constant “improvement” is if they don’t question it and become disillusioned with it.

You obviously aren’t understanding that the entire paradigm that we live in is based on cover ups and not real solutions. Every thought that comes out of it, even the supposed “solutions” are part of that very problem. You get a cold, so they give you antibiotics. The disease becomes resistant to the antibiotic, so they develop an even stronger drug. Not a solution, just a temporary cover up to evade the real issues. I can’t devote myself to that line of thinking. And it isn’t “negative” to point out something that most people are so immersed in they don’t even question it. Even people working on “cures” are looking for cover ups. Don’t get mad at me for pointing it out. And don’t assume that just because I don’t believe in some ideological cause that means I just sit there.

@forward, Yeah thanks for the input. I mean passion, drive, and getting things done has nothing to do with believing in ideologies and causes. All of my former passions and drives were for the purpose of attaining some future goal. Working hard now for some abstract idea that only exists in my mind, not in reality. That line of thinking stopped working for me about 3 years ago, before I could even understand what was happening, and I fell into depression and a sense of meaninglessness.

The whole idea of believing in a “cause” is treating the present as a means to an end (utopian/better future). And that never works, really. Suffering now in school so you get a good job, killing 30 million of your own citizens to create a utopia, being a feminist bitch to promote equality, feeling like shit on a vegan diet because it will make you “better” and more spiritual, etc… The “goal” is just a secondary thing that is a byproduct of the means you used at getting there.

@lestat, Yeah. I think passion and joy in an activity are completely different than believing in causes/ideologies.

@trek79, I agree with what you’re saying about inferiority and superiority. But there are such things as facts. One guy could be 7 feet tall, another guy 5 feet tall. That’s a fact, it doesn’t make the 7 foot tall guy superior. To pretend like there is no difference and that everyone is exactly the same though is called denial.

I agree that you have to see the whole picture. And that comes with pure observation. Just paying attention and noticing. And that brings me back to my OP, nobody pays any attention, they just blindly devote themselves to causes and paradigms. It’s an unnatural process. Because as I said above, the cells of your body don’t devote themselves to causes and look to the future for a better world. Yet they still do their job as efficiently as possible.

@filipek, Yes, I agree about compassion.

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