The Art of Defiance:
meaninglessness and seriousness
goals to pursue as a student
living for fulfillment
bottom line of philosophyf
One popular type of philosophy today is religion. It is true that we cannot disprove the existence of a god, so shouldn't we be open-minded when it comes to religion? I don't think so. I can invent a complex philosophy that takes years to study and understand. I can even claim that you won't ever know what you're missing until you take the time to study my philosophy. The problem is that there can be millions of philosophies making the same claim. Just because it could be right doesn't give a philosophy any significance. The same is true for religions. That's why if something requires faith, you can stop right there, you need not waste any time with religion. Another way to look at it is that Christianity and Islam technically teach that those who don't comply will go to hell. So according to the Christians, the Muslims should go to hell. According to the Muslims, the Christians should be the ones.
meaninglessness and seriousness
A greater concern than religion is the belief in meaninglessness. The difficulty of defying this one lies in the fact that it is hidden and often difficult to recognize. One popular idea is that there are questions in the world for which there is no answer, and the meaning of life is one of them. The statement is obviously false, since the basic principle of life is that everything is uncertain. So therefore, we don't know whether or not there is an answer. However, based on what I think "the meaning of life" refers to, I don't think it is the fundamental philosophical question we should be concerned with. To me, the word "meaning" implies understanding why we live. If I ever achieve an understanding of the meaning of life, I must have somehow transcended the human being I am now because as a human being I can doubt everything. To be unable to doubt, to be absolutely certain of why we exist, is not imaginable to me. In addition, I don't know what the statement "we exist" means exactly. All I really know for certain is that something, whatever it is, exists. The rest I don't know. Because I don't know it, I don't think it is reasonable to say what part of it I want to know like saying I want to know the meaning of life. It is enough to say I want to know or discover the unknown.
The aspect of philosophy I am more interested in involves answering the question of what to do in my life. Does it matter whether I do one thing or another? What I mean is, is it ultimately of any significance what I do in my life? So if the answer is no, then everything is meaningless. It simply doesn't matter what I do. Every decision, thought, and action is equal to every other. There is no reason to have preference in anything. On the other hand, if the answer is yes, then I will focus my entire life toward those decisions, thoughts, and actions that are best. This is only meaningful if it is possible to use reason and my understanding of the world to identify which decisions are more likely to be better than others. This involves having a strategy and a goal to pursue. Now everything in life becomes serious instead of meaningless.
Now, as I said earlier, everything is uncertain. So doesn't this mean that both meaninglessness and seriousness in life are equally valid, since we can't prove either one correct or incorrect? That is another common mistake people make. What is factually true or false is often irrelevant. Finding out what is true and false is the goal, it is not the means. The means or strategy is to use logic to make the best decision I can. Logic tells me to be prepared for every possibility, the possibility that life is meaningless and that it is serious. If it is serious, and I assume it is meaningless, then I was wrong. If it is meaningless, and I assume it is serious, then I was right because you can't ever be wrong when everything is meaningless anyway.
That's why it is not logical to assume life is meaningless, and that's why it is logical to assume life is serious. If anybody says life is pointless and everybody can do whatever they want, it doesn't matter, they are wrong. I just proved it. Of course, knowing life is serious alone doesn't help if we can't figure out a goal and a strategy. Since all is uncertain, we don't know what the goal should be. However, that statement itself suggests a goal. Since we don't know what the goal is, the goal is to find the goal, to discover the unknown.
Now, using logic to discover the unknown requires having no wants and beliefs. You might wonder why I am so insistent on the emotion of defiance. Doesn't much of what I say contradict having no wants and beliefs? The resolution to the paradox is that I regard it as important to be able to think and act as if we were uninfluenced by wants and beliefs. As humans, we are driven by emotion, so the key is to channel the emotions the right way to pursue logical actions. If you don't have strong emotions and use them right, I can assure you that your environment will mold you because the weaker emotions will pull you in multiple directions and you will be aimless.
You'll hear people argue that that even the most defiant are molded just the same. That is a technicality. All that matters is that you act and reason as if you were independent of your environment. Sure, you're still part of your environment and subject to all the same forces as everyone else. The only thing that matters and that makes the point is if you manage to derive a philosophy that no one else can derive because they are truly molded. You won't be the only one to derive that philosophy because anyone who is not guided by wants and beliefs will eventually arrive at the same conclusions. The key, however, is an intense defiance because there are so many forces controlling you, they will triumph if you don't defy, defy, defy, and defy.
goals to pursue as a student
What goals need to be pursued in your life in order to discover the unknown? It doesn't really matter what specific goals you pursue as a student, as long as you do it with the most extreme determination and resolute defiance. They will all lead you to the same conclusions. The only mistake would be to assume that all is pointless or hopeless. Everything in life is serious. It doesn't matter whether you decide to spend your time playing soccer, listening to music, doing homework, or talking to someone. If you take it seriously, you're probably safe.
Being able to pursue goals effectively is a good practical skill. Pick any goals that interest you. The thing to watch out for is peer pressure. Now one type of peer pressure says that you should have hobbies and interests rather than none. That's nonsense. You can be involved in no activities. Another type of peer pressure says that if you quit, you're a quitter and lack determination. That's nonsense, too. You can change your mind a hundred times about what goals you pursue. Why should it be better to stick with something and to finish what you begin? What makes the defiant superior is not that he doesn't quit, but that he does what he does because he decides, independent of social forces. And even if he does something because of social forces rather than independent decision, it doesn't matter because he is still defiant and tomorrow social forces will not control him anymore.
The defiant has a superior general strategy in life. Strategy is also the reason why any goals he picks for himself will lead him to a method for discovering the unknown. The basic technique for finding the optimal method for any goal lies in analyzing the more fundamental aspects before and in greater depth than others. Because the less fundamental aspects depend on the more fundamental ones, one will work backward toward the basis of everything. An example would be: I want to break the world record in the 100 meters sprint. Before getting up and running as fast as I can to break it, I would focus on the more fundamental problem of increasing my fitness. Before starting on a training regimen, I would focus on the more fundamental problem of finding the optimal of all training regimens. Before finding the optimal regimen, I would doubt the purpose of breaking the 100m record. Before doubting the purpose of breaking the 100m record, I would doubt the purpose of breaking any record in any discipline. Before that, I would doubt the need for any want I perceive whatever. Before that, I would ask if there is any purpose whatever. These details are only for illustration, and it may be better to ignore them and remember that all that matters is to take life seriously, no matter how much society tells you otherwise.
living for fulfillment
At some point, you may come across the person who argues that we are all doing what we do because it makes us feel good. Even the altruist who believes in helping and showing more concern for others than himself is doing it because he believes selfishness is bad and altruism is good. Everything is just a matter of personal preference. If I subject myself to pain, there must be something that I think is good about it. Therefore, trying to be defiant is just another way of doing what we believe is good. We are essentially no different than those who chase good feelings, although, like many others, we don't realize it or ignore it.
It is a clever argument, so the person who invented must be really smart, right? Unfortunately, this argument is made by very stupid people, which also explains why it is so common. You see, people in this world often conclude that life is meaningless. Based on that conclusion, they find that there is nothing better to do than chase their feelings. Defiants, however, have a goal. Everything is relative to the single and absolute goal. There is no chasing of feelings involved. Everything is decided based on logic. Then after the decision is made, we apply feeling to pursue it effectively. If anyone tells you you're just rationalizing your feelings, you have to wonder why it makes any difference to them? That fact has no relevance. The fact that does have relevance is that by being an extreme defiant, you are more logical and anyone else on the planet, except maybe for some small number like three or fourteen. What makes defiance so powerful is not the theoretical correctness, but the practical near-invincibility and near-perfection that you can achieve with it.
bottom line of philosophy
The bottom line is to be defiant. Simply being very defiant is not enough. You must want yourself to be the most the defiant in the world because that is what it will take to escape. Think of the hundreds of millions of teenagers in the world. Are you really more defiant than every one of them? Note that this is very different from asking whether you are a faster swimmer than everybody else. There are a lot of teenagers who try to be good swimmers, so it is very competitive. There simply aren't any teenagers I've ever known who are trying to be defiant. And that means that you will be like a swimmer who compete all alone. There is no one to compare yourself to, you're racing all alone. Most people lose their motivation in this situation because it seems pointless to try so hard when it looks like you'll finish both first and last anyway. Escaping doesn't require much luck or great talent, it only requires that you keep refusing to compromise or yield when it comes to defiance..