To tell you the truth, it’s complicated
1999. Career Preparation Class. I remember the teacher asking, “Who thinks life is pretty simple?” A 15-year-old me shoots her hand up confidently. I might have added some comment about how adults needlessly complicate things. I think back on it now. Such conviction. So naive. Perhaps a small kernel of truth, wrapped in misguided righteousness.
Life is complicated. No question. The human condition is dynamic, layered, and even with our best understanding of psychology and sciences, still mysterious. When it comes to life and navigating how to live well, how to be happy, what to do with each day, what is right, there are no easy answers. Never mind questions like how to best govern a nation, or why we are here. If the answers were obvious or simple, we wouldn’t have a multitude of philosophies, religions, political ideologies, scientific theories, or be in constant disagreement. Life is complicated. The mind, our window of experience, even more so.
For every universal truth or principle that we might think of, there seems to be an opposing one to undermine it. Ideas, everything from the theory of the fabric of the universe, to how to live a meaningful life, to how to take care of this meat vehicle, and how to be happy, are updated, revised, reversed, changed again and again, often without strong consensus, even amongst so-called experts.
Perhaps the most important insight a young person could gain as they grow, is that there is no black and white, no absolute truth, when it comes to our subjective experience. Often, we must hold two opposing truths, or rather two opposing views, in our mind at the same time to live with wisdom.
We need to find a sense of purpose to feel content in life. ~ We need to let go of doing and chasing, to truly feel free and happy.We are important, as people. We matter. ~ We are just a blimp in the grand history of the universe. None of this matters that much.
Perhaps truth is the very relativity itself. Or perhaps truth is tucked into the folds and gaps of opposing ideas. In the stillness between breaths. In the emptiness beyond thought and language.
Life is complicated. But also terribly interesting. And who would have it any other way?