About… Doubts and Decisions for Living
Volume III: The Structure of Human Life
We ponder two main (and generally conflicting) objectives throughout life. We like to:
1. Establish ourselves and fulfil our aspirations, which we hope to accomplish by fitting within the imposing life structure and reaping the rewards of doing so, including love, wealth, compassion, and sex.
2. Grasp at least some sense of our identity and soul, and gain a relative peace of mind within this chaotic environment we cannot avoid.
To accomplish these two objectives effectively and efficiently, we draw upon many personal and social resources to educate ourselves, work, make a family, etc. These resources and their interrelationships collectively comprise the contemporary structure of life, as discussed in this volume. All along, we attempt to maintain some kind of a logical balance between the above two honourable objectives, as they often clash and thus cause more doubts about our identity, lifestyles, and the purpose of our struggles.
We imagine we are smart enough to choose a lifestyle fitting our needs for individualism and independence. Doing so, however, is getting more difficult in our complex societies, because we insist on finding happiness within our crooked lifestyles. We do not realize that happiness may be achieved, at best, only through peace of mind and contentment—the exact state of mind that modern lifestyles are incapable of providing. Nonetheless, we strive to choose a path of life carefully, learn its tricks, and adapt ourselves, simply because we cannot struggle with our doubts and idealism forever.
Most people follow the universal path that endears the pervasive social structure and values. They grow up with certain needs and ideals that appear most normal and natural to them. They are brainwashed to believe not only in the absolute validity of the mainstream path, but also its potential to bring them success and happiness. They have little patience or motivation to study the meaning of other paths of living. They do not have the incentive or intelligence to concern themselves too much with the second objective shown above. Thus, the structure of life, as presented in this book, emphasises on the conventional path of life that majority of people are familiar with and follow. Understanding the true nature of this standard life structure is important, because it can help us assess our life priorities and choices more consciously. It helps our self-awareness, too, to at least learn about the other options of living, instead of following a formulaic model without knowing why. The main challenge in life, especially for youth, is to gauge the possibility of choosing a path of life more in line with humans’ inner needs and temperaments. Following this passive form of existence cannot continue forever without severe consequences. Our approach and coping mechanism may be refined somewhat at least, even if sticking with the conventional path of life still feels more realistic. After all, there is more to life than pursuing some fanciful ideals blindly and always hoping to find some elusive happiness and love eventually by some miracle. Even within the narrow scope of our existing social structure, we can find healthier lifestyles, even though we cannot avoid our dependence on others and society substantially.
While following the crowd so optimistically, we should at least know the perils of living in the mainstream so helplessly. What is really the purpose of just taking all these rigorous steps in life obediently like robots without questioning its rationality? Get education, find work, make money, marry, buy a house, have children, divorce, etc., as if chasing this routine life structure were ingrained in our genes. In the final analysis, it seems that all these hassles, to lure and control others for more power, money, and love, are merely for satisfying our primitive urges for more pleasure, sex, and companionship. But is this all the wisdom that humans can attain and deserve?
The absurdity of our struggles within the existing structure of life for some intangible and often frustrating outcomes is often clear to us. We feel the impact of ongoing social problems on our mental state while we strive to stay vigilant and sane. We lose our integrity and pride for the sake of fitting within our lousy lifestyles, which have proven ineffective, inefficient, and lacking a promising future for the next generations. We know that status quo and sticking to the same routines and social mechanisms is suffocating our spirits. Yet we seem trapped and forced to repeat the same routines and hope that a miracle would change things for the better.
Living within such humiliating conditions shows only our lack of personal initiative to find the purposes of our lives more independently beyond all the superficialities surrounding us. It is easy to conclude that our societies and cultures would not succeed in defining a healthy life structure for many more millenniums at least, if ever. Thus, the only chance we have is to find our own personal ways of salvation, or at least some form of mental peace, while defusing the social pressures the best we can. Waiting for a meaningful social structure to emerge and reduce the burdens of living is a doomed expectation.
The discussions in this trilogy reveal our niggling doubts about the contemporary life structure, while we face major decisions to survive in this hectic environment. These doubts and decisions overwhelm our minds throughout our lives. Though we do our best to keep our spirits high and build the foundation of our thoughts for handling our doubts and decisions better. We hope to develop a more reliable common sense through self-awareness for running our lives and managing our doubts. We try to be logical and assertive for making our decisions, but we also need a lot of self-awareness to remain humble, positive, and compassionate.
Volume III, in particular, reiterates the importance of certain life decisions in line with our lingering doubts about the perils of living within the current life structure. We might even figure out our purpose of living, and hopefully find our identity and that elusive happiness too. The focus is on the structure of human life as mainly characterized by the mentality and objectives of the mainstream in the present era. The goal is to explore individuals’ perceptions of the prevalent life structure, their preoccupations, and the way they try to fit within it. Meanwhile, the discussions in Volumes I and II of Doubts and Decisions for Living can help the readers explore the nature of less conventional paths of life in some detail. Volume II suggests the means of developing our own sense of spirituality and vitalizing our spirits to make the right decisions and endure life.
Part I in this volume discusses learning and education as major life decisions and compares their distinct objectives in recent decades. Chapter One discusses the purpose and effect of education. We spend so much time at schools and on training ourselves to become useful for society and ourselves. The question is how effective and relevant these processes are nowadays. Chapter Two concentrates on the objectives of learning beyond the narrow purposes of education. Chapter Three focuses on our personal initiatives and means of learning, even from our sufferings, about many facets of life.
Part II discusses work and organization as main elements of life structure nowadays, while a variety of essential questions about their nature and impact on our welfare boggles our minds. Chapter Four discusses the objectives of work and the role of organizations, as we depend on them for making a living and keeping ourselves occupied. We all know that work and organization have become the sources of personal insecurity and stress, but cannot find a remedy. Chapter Five explains the organization environment and our efforts to fit within this harsh setting and cope with its demands. Chapter Six studies organization perils and suggests the ways of minimizing their effects on our lives and health. Chapter Seven discusses the complexity of organization relationships, our role, and our coping options.
Part III discusses companionship and marriage, which are the basic needs of human beings and the main component of the life structure. Unfortunately, however, these simple needs of humans have become the most troublesome issues of society and the cause of deep personal suffering. Chapter Eight explores our needs and motives for building relationships and explains how the deteriorating situation in the new era can possibly be improved. We definitely need a more constructive environment for cooperation between marriage partners. Chapter Nine discusses partners’ compatibility measures and how they might possibly help couples. Chapter Ten discusses major sources of marital problems and reiterates the significance of marriage decisions.
Part IV discusses alienation and separation, not only because they have become the typical features of new lifestyles, but also because they cause the harshest level of depression and disappointment for people. Considering the role of companionship for maintaining our mental and physical health, alienation and separation have turned into the most unsettling features of the current life structure. Chapter Eleven discusses the forces that cause alienation in relationships. Chapter Twelve suggests a process of ‘alienation preparedness’ and reviews our ultimate options in relationships.
The quotes from various experts used in this trilogy are merely for reflecting other viewpoints on related topics without prejudice. They are plausible opinions expressed liberally in public domains on such philosophical topics and have thus become relevant for general review purposes. Although the author does not agree or disagree with them, he believes they are interesting points that readers might be interested to check in those books for further detail and reflection.