Life isn't as logical as you think, let’s look at the philosophical simplicity.
Did you know the most complicated thing on earth is the human brain? It has 100 billion neurons.
Bit of a random fact you might be thinking, but it's to prove that nothing else needs to be as complicated as you think. The reason why we have all of this paradoxical over-complication is because we have become victims to a culture that normalizes becoming a prisoner to your own thoughts.
Instead of viewing everything through a blurred lens of unnecessary complications, we have the power to alter our perspective and therefore reshape the reality we are experiencing.
I can change my perspective to see the hardships as new opportunities for meaningful change. Right there you have altered your perspective and reshaped your reality.
A large part of this chronic overcomplication is down to people viewing the world as a puzzle that is founded on the basis of logic. This is wrong. Whilst logic does play a role in many things, the world is also largely about belief systems. And these belief systems change how you experience life more than a surface-level rule of logic does.
Reality is not bound to logic.
These counterintuitive paradoxes that in theory make no sense, can provide us with hidden value to help our current lives. And this value can further be beneficial for us when we use philosophy as a teacher to give us guidance on how to live contently.
Let’s get into the paradoxes.
I. There Is Only One Constant in the World, and That Is Change
“The only constant in life is change” — Heraclitus
If there is one simple belief I could carry with me for all of time, it’s probably this. The only reason I say this is because I am convinced the majority of suffering that people go through in their day-to-day lives is down to disappointment that their future expectations weren't met.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say someone breaks up with their girlfriend, and this person rather naively believes that in the near future, they can get back together and live happily ever after. Well, this prediction of the future is wrong, because things change, and when the ex-girlfriend tells him they aren't ever getting back together, he can't help but feel disappointed and as a by-product suffer emotionally.
See what I mean? As humans, we hold this primitive belief that because things are consistently going well, they will always go well in the same fashion until time ceases to exist. This couldn't be further from the truth!
Life is a rough riding, sour, unthoughtful, spiteful, painful bitch! To believe that everything will remain how it is is to accept the lifelong burden of unnecessary emotional suffering.
To help you understand how this paradox is very much a reality, let’s look at technological advancements. Compare the phones we have in our pockets right now to the state of telephones 10–15 years ago. Or look at how the internet progressed from when it was first created. The only constant is change.
“Heraclitus, I believe, says that all things pass and nothing stays, and comparing existing things to the flow of a river, he says you could not step twice into the same river.” — Plato
From this, we can also say that the only certainty is uncertainty. This is very much a real paradox, and to realize these simple truths is to hold the key to a future of fulfilled expectations. Because by knowing that nothing is permanent and that nothing is certain, you can break from the shackles you have placed yourself in.
To believe that everything will remain how it is is to accept the lifelong burden of unnecessary emotional suffering.
II. Time Spent In Solitude Will Make You More Sociable
If there's anyone who can leave their two cents on solitude, I know it’s me. I’m a lonely guy. You see, I have friends but seldom do I feel understood on a deep level by them, which makes me force myself into loneliness and solitude for the lack of relatability I experience.
And from my many periods of solitude, there is nothing I wanted more than to be with people. Nothing more! There is a giant misconception about solitude and being a lone wolf in today's society. And to say that I haven't contributed to this misconception would be a lie.
The misconception about loneliness:
Like many, I thought being a lone wolf was a superpower. This was until my loneliness drove me to depression. Whilst there are many benefits to spending time alone to recalibrate, such as finding yourself, focusing on your passions, and not having to rely on anyone but yourself, we need human connection.
So this funny paradox I'm sure we have all experienced, is that when we spend time alone, we get to a point where we desperately crave social interaction. We are social creatures. From as far back as we have existed, since the start of time, we have lived together in hunter-gatherer societies, hunting for food together and traveling.
When a human was separated from their tribe, therefore being placed in a lone position, they suffered severe consequences. So it is ironic that our ever-connected culture is driving us into solitude and loneliness when this is the opposite of what we need.
Social media is not social! It makes you feel further disconnected from the reality of your social life, observing people you know and people close to you having fun through a screen is depressing as hell! Let’s be honest here…
10% of 16–24-year-olds report ALWAYS feeling lonely. Not sometimes, always . Think about how depressing that must be for those people, I certainly know having been there myself.
Your mental health is important, and social connection is important for your mental health. Don’t spend time in solitude too much.
III. If Something Scares You, Do It
Look, a life spent in comfort is a life wasted. I am a firm believer in the fact that to grow as individuals, we have to under every circumstance drive our minds to the edge of discomfort, into that red alarm zone, to fully experience the thrills that life can provide.
Cliche? Probably. But who gives a toss. There is a reason that some pieces of advice are echoed throughout every corner of society, they are effective. But with this paradox, I feel strongly about it.
Commonly, we think that if we are scared of something, we shouldn't do it. But again no, this is why it's a paradox. And coming from someone who values safety and is usually scared of everything, even tiny ass cliff jumps, trust me and take this piece of advice to heart.
For me, it helps to think of life as a plunge. And what I mean by this, is that you just have to say fuck it sometimes, and leap into the unknown. I know, it is incredibly hard to actually do this, the feelings of hesitation you will feel will override your body and your rational mind.
Embrace the fear, let it surge through your veins, and without thinking, take the almighty plunge. All of my most fun memories have come from moments where I was shaking in fear before they actually happened. Solo traveling is probably the biggest one.
Sometimes, going directly against the grains of your thoughts is a necessity for an existence that will render you happy.
Embrace the fear, let it surge through your veins, and without thinking, take the almighty plunge.
All these paradoxes are thought processes in which in a rational world, we’d think they'd be the opposite. If we use logical thought with a rational basis, the alarm signs in our brains would go off. “How can the only consistent thing in life be change? It makes no sense!?”
“Similarly, why on earth would I plunge directly into my fears? If something scares me surely it's a warning sign that I shouldn't do it.”
Heck no! That is why I love these logic-shattering paradoxes. Life is a beautiful mess of paradoxical twists and curves, ride the rollercoaster and chuck your logic out the window every once in a while.
A life of consistent rigidity is one that is boring to its core.
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