As I get older, I begin to somehow take apathetic posture of life and tell myself that no matter how hard I try in what I do, I cannot change my fate or world very dramatically and permanently and I am beginning to see myself like Solomon in Ecclesiastes. The world view is also the same….in this book he espouse cyclical worldview, unlike most people in modern times who think that every generation is better than previous one.
From the worldview change around 4 years ago, there is a positive effect for me that I think helpful. I begin to care less about comparison of social status based on lucrativeness of our career. People that earn 4 times than us will not live 4 times longer than us. They are not necessarily have family 4 times bigger than us and even in big cities, they cannot have room 4 times bigger than us! (However, their apartment may have more facilities and located in more strategic area). Maybe the only difference is that they can have 4 times more oversea vacation than us, which I do not think is significant advantage.
Of course, if you want to have a family in big city, it is essential that you make a progress in your career because the older you are, more likely you will have more dependents. But I am not thinking of providing my dependents with the same standard of living with Baby Boomer generation -> meaning I do not think of spending six-digit cash for my children to go college, I also do not think of buying my own property as it is ridiculous to tie yourself to bankers for 20-30 years in the world where layoffs are norm every several years. Essentially, I have prepared myself that the world in next 15-20 years will be worse than past 15-20 years.
So how can a person with cyclical worldview like me have a meaning of life? Why do I start family if I think that the world will be worse for my kids? Why do I do research if I have the same opinion as Solomon that there is nothing new under the sun?
Because I believe that the meaning of life is not about continuous progress of society or spirituality or myself or my ability in my workplace. It is about to stay faithful to God regardless of the circumstances, whether progress or decline. And the memory which accompany this process that give me the meaning of life. Also, no matter how memorable your life will be, it is still limited to around 70 to 90 years. If I define myself with my work, then do I lose myself when retire or I am in heaven after I die?
Definitely, there will be a lot of human occupation that will be obsolete in heaven. If there is no disease, you will not need doctor. If there is no evil people, there will not be a need of judge, police or army. If everything is made of precious metal, there will not be decay so why do you need technician or tradesman? If it is being illuminated by God’s eternal light, why do you need electricity? If you can communicate by telepathy and have photographic memory, why do you need internet, computer, and data storage? So, those people that define themselves by their career, then they will not be in peace in heaven.
Instead of work, I personally think that one need to define himself on what he like to do during leisure time. Capitalist society put a lot of emphasize on long working hour to build one’s career but civilization may not be necessarily become better with our effort. I miss opportunity of 1 year of free time to explore and learning all interesting things under the sun: religion, philosophy and science, and also trying every kinds of recreational activities – mount climbing, horse riding, mahjong, classical musics and literatures, and so on. This thing make life happier instead of endless deadlines of exams, paper conferences, product launch, and business meetings. By doing such thing in regular basis, it will be sufficient for your soul and you do not need progress. It is perfection.
Of course, this is politically incorrect thing to say in the world dominated by capitalists and Protestants. But this is a reality that most people silently will agree.