Follow your bliss

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 3, 2008, 5:17 PM | comments: 6

I was watching the Inside the Tube Blue Man doc on the new DVD, which I've seen before, and they talked about how the Joseph Campbell philosophy of "following your bliss" was key to being happy in life. Songs like "Persona" and "The Complex" are examples of people who stopped doing that. I think Diana and I were a little horrified when we both realized that sometimes we're not following our bliss at all.

I'm kind of interested to read some of Campbell's books now, because following your bliss is clearly at odds with survival at times. Granted, something like the character in "The Complex" goes to a level that we certainly have not...

I work on the highest floor
There’s nothing in my way
But I saw my picture on the bathroom door today
I don’t feel like working anymore, is that okay?
I’m so far in, I can’t get out...

I made it to the highest floor
By working every day
But I can’t remember anymore what it was like to play
If I could only find the exit door, I’d run away
I’m so far in, I can’t get out

Those are the kind of people who never have the realization that working for The Man can come at a very high cost, as you fight The System.

The System is something right out of various KMFDM lyrics, and I think it's more encompassing than just The Man. Ultimately it's The System that conflicts with following your bliss, because we need The System to a certain degree. It's not that those of us who are aware of this situation need it to buy stuff. I hate it when people think that every financially successful person is in it for the cash. I think aware people need The System to provide a certain level of security and stability, without which we may have a hard time being happy. And yet, we may not be happy working in The System.

It does occur to me though that in the journey (which is what I find more rewarding than some eventual destination), we can't declare The Man or The System inherently evil, or as a means to an end. Rather, we need to consider them as symbionts. The trick is to figure out how to make them serve you, and serve them in return, in a way that is mutually beneficial. I think most people find great happiness is contributing something to someone or our environment, and everyone has something that can work. Identifying it is the challenge.

When you really strip away all of the bullshit, I think you can surprise yourself and see just how much bliss following you're already doing.


Carrie, April 4, 2008, 2:18 PM #

I'll be honest and say I really don't believe in the concepts of The Man or The System. I think they are just excuses people made up a long time ago for the choices they make, whether that be to "conform" or not.

Everyday we have choices to make. Nothing stops us from choosing the things we want, but us.

Jeff, April 4, 2008, 2:46 PM #

But something does stop us... the consequences.

Carrie, April 4, 2008, 2:53 PM #

But still by your own choice.

Jeff, April 4, 2008, 3:44 PM #

Well that's what makes us rational human beings. We don't make decisions in a vacuum. Doing so wouldn't free us, it would be self-destructive.

Carrie, April 4, 2008, 4:20 PM #

Not necessarily. We could delve into a whole discussion about what it means to be self-destructive, but my point is pretty simple. To be really free means understanding that the choice is always yours. Even if it means choosing between which pile of shit to jump in.

Life is about trade-offs and those trade-offs are more often than not (and certainly more often than the average person likes to admit) self-inflicted. That's why I spoke before about you needing to decide what the value of your choices are. Only then can you choose what is best for you.

Gonch, April 4, 2008, 5:32 PM #

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose"

I think you're both right. :)

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