What to do in the absence of meaning? Elevate your tastes and observe your consolations.
I was born in the biggest country in the world — USSR. I happened to live in it my first 3 very unconscious years since 1988 up until 1991 — the year when USSR disintegrated into smaller countries.
In post-soviet countries, people used to say that in USSR there were no sex and religion. Of course, it wasn’t true. Both existed and both were secret.
If I think about it, it was one of the major reasons why USSR had fallen. The Religion was taken away from people but there was no ideology that would have equal power and serve as an alternative.
Naturally, atheism was a common background in the majority of USSR families and especially those that were formed in the period of its downfall. Mine was not an exception. My Grandmother is a professor of chemistry, my Mom is an M.D. and my Dad’s job is seismic architecture with all of them being highly technical professions. In our family, the word “God” could only be found only in the phrases like “Oh my God! Chengeer did some stupid shit again”.
As you can imagine, I didn’t have any familial prerequisites for a spiritual growth whatsoever. And yet, I was always curious. Since the young age, I was questioning the reasons for my existence and no one could give me sound answers. I faced a problem that almost broke me — a problem that led me to my life crisis where I lingered for years. Fortunately, piece by piece I was able to assemble my mindset but you can be damn sure that was not an easy way.
The crisis of meaning
The absence of meaning is the problem of millennials and starting with our generation it went downhill growing like a giant snowball. More and more young people don’t know what to live for and how to live. As soon as I formulated the crisis of meanings as one of the major current problems I started to see it everywhere.
When I came to South Korea I was extremely surprised to find out that this country ranked 1st place in the suicide rates. 36.8 suicides/thousand. In 2015, South Korea reported 13,500 suicides, or about 37 a day. Let the number sink in. Guyana is on the second place in this list but it is somewhat understandable — Guyana is considered to be a developing country and their living conditions are very low.
Koreans live well. According to different sources, they are placed somewhere around 25 in the Life Index rating. I would assume that Kazakhstan is somewhere between Russia (50) and Ukraine (53). I have an experience living in both Kazakhstan and South Korea and I should say that at times it does feel like a 2-fold difference.
Here is the dark side of the internet. I was shocked to find out that there was a Korean website where you could find yourself a suicide buddy. Bear with me. Many Seoulers told me stories how people meet each other on this site, then meet in person and commit a suicide by exhaustion burning charcoal inside the car parking it on the outskirts of the city. There is same anonymous group suicide trend in Japan. So what lies beneath this suicide culture?
I could only come up with one answer — the absence of meaning. Why would one want to continue living if there is no reason to live? Where does one find meanings in this meaningless world? The answer is simple.
All meanings are within.
The meaning of life is to give your life a meaning. The meaning of life is in the very process of living itself. This is at least something that I have come up with and it made it work for myself. I understand that all of the meanings should be designed individually and that is why I emphasize so much the importance of taking 100% responsibility for what’s inside your head. This is why I am writing this essay to draw your attention to the importance of the spiritual growth.
You can only get to the point B if you know where is your point A.
If you don’t know who you are, if you don’t know where your center is, how can you understand what is the purpose of your journey? How can you set up the goals you are going to achieve? You can’t.
The journey to the destination point starts from the point A — your inner core. There is really only one thing you need to do in order to find your starting point — Meditations. If you would like to learn more about it, please read this 👉essay. Many people found it useful.
Meditations are not everything but this practice alone is enough to create a huge transformation that accumulates over the course of practice with only 20 minutes of commitment a day. Give it a shot. It’s not going to be easy but you will come back for more.
The taste vs the consolation.
This is something that I learned from Alexey Holopov, a Russian professor of philosophy. In one of his lectures he is talking about the direct relationship between the taste and the consolation. In a nutshell, our tastes define our consolations.
Let me explain it to you with a simple graph.
Stickman A is Alan. Alan is a janitor. By no means, I do not look down on the profession of the janitor. Not at all! On the contrary, I am convinced that it is and should be very respected. Would all of the intellectuals do their hard science if the toilets in their institution were not clean? I don’t think so. However, one should agree that there are some jobs that are very intellectually demanding and some are not. Such as Alan’s job.
Alan finds his consolation in watching football games in the bar, drinking beer with his buddies oftentimes without any moderation. He likes to watch TV and to talk about his boss with his girlfriend.
Stickman B is Bill. He is a manager in a corporation. He is stressed on his day job so he regularly goes to the gym to blow off some steam. He drinks wine occasionally on the dates with his girlfriend. If someone would ask him he would say that he is a normal guy with normal needs.
Bill finds his consolation in watching movies, fishing with his friends once in a while and knowing that he almost saved enough money for his new car.
Stickman C is Carl. Carl is a professor of theology and a lifelong Christian. He was studying holy scriptures all his life. He doesn’t drink. He is a faithful family man and has three kids. In the meantime, he is running his side-business.
Carl finds his consolation in reading, teaching his students and writing his own book.
Not my best analogies and I am sure you can come up with better examples from people from your life or even your surroundings but I hope I made a point. As you can see the way one console himself is directly proportional to the level of his Intellectual and Spiritual development.
It is important to note, that the high intellect alone is not enough to live a life of a virtue. The Spiritual growth is the key component that elevates your tastes. The touch of the divine within you that you feel during the meditations, the taste of Universal Truth that you acquire from reading ancient books such as Bhagavad Gita, Koran and Bible give you a sense of higher taste, a sense that once felt is very hard to substitute with something of a lower quality.
Your tastes define your impulses. Your impulses transform into actions. The actions become your habits. Your habits become your destiny.
A meaningful life is a result of a strive for the higher taste.
Those are my thoughts of the day. I lived my days when I found consolation in smoking, alcohol and drugs and my life was beyond miserable. I was depressed, I was thinking about suicide a lot. Luckily I was not decisive enough, weak enough or maybe stupid enough to actually do something to myself.
I won’t say that I excelled and transformed into being with another level of consciousness but I definitely underwent some transformation and see dramatic difference in my tastes and my consolations. Moreover, I learned how to create meanings in my life. I know that I was able to do it only because I kept asking myself “What if….?” and because I was not satisfied with 90% of the answers.
I know that if someone is deeply unhappy with his life and is experiencing a desperate crisis of meanings, the spiritual growth is not something one should consider, it is something one should have an insatiable hunger for.
I know that you are on your personal journey too. Your soul is covered with scars. Drop me a line. Share your story with me. Be my teacher. Give me food for thought and food for spirit. I will be grateful for that.
Thank you for reading my essay. I wish it was a food for your spirit too.