This article is my original work, so its rights should be protected.
Abstract: The following article discusses about @Ben Zi's life philosophy and its evolution. There are many issues relevant to "Existentialism" focused on the exploration of life meaning.
I had been meditating something relating to life explanation.The main doubt is about the existence of ourselves in the physical world.Many commonly accepted conventions have been deeply rooted in our mind soil.
However,except for law of natural world,any human constructed laws used to better manage the society could be challenged and questioned.There is a universal truth that reality is never existent in our society.
Nothing is unchangeable and permanent in human society unless you surrender to the society which is the single authority to govern his people.
Once we are born to the world,we are destined to death sooner or later.Actually,life is just a process to death,that one second passes means death approaches to us one second earlier.
In our twenties,it may seem funny to talk about life or death,after all,we are still in education to equip ourselves for future’s life.Unfortunately,it is quite urgent to have a clear vision about a meaningful life,because very little time is left to us for consideration about this topic as long as we join the society.
Many people may doubt that why we need to think about spiritual life again and again,life is observable and touchable,once we are not breathing,then life is in his ending.However,a simple question can arouse your further doubts,why you always pursue what the society desires?
As far as the life is concerned,different individuals have their own views.The following is just a part of my opinions on life.When it comes to me,life is not only about living,as you know that living creatures are in large numbers.
There should be a big difference between the highly handicapped and the normal ones,they have different life tracks even if they all are living.It is supposed that you only have capability to lie in the bed and chew food,all other activities excluding those guaranteeing you are still living instead of dying,are exploited by your Lord,then what is your life,and how could we identify who you are.
To the contrary,we suppose that you could do any manual activities,but you are told that you should behave yourself like animals,e.g,pigs,dogs(notice,here,I do not mean that you should mimic animals' behaviors),meaning that without thinking,you just do what your owners order you to do.
Under this circumstance,you are indeed living well,pitifully,you have almost no difference with animals,hence,others are still unable to clearly identify you,the reason is that you are treated as a tool or equipment by your owners.
When we talk about human life,the first thing which should be mentioned is your physical existence.If there was no your physical existence in the world,it is impossible for the society to get any conclusion about your life.
Simply put it,whatever we are going to discuss about,the most important premise is that at least you are living.However famous you were ever,once you left the physical world,your identity would not be further evolved by yourself,instead historians would tie some labels with you.
However,as we have already mentioned above,only your physical existence is not sufficient to identify your existence.Existence is reflected from two angles,one is from others’ perspectives,the other is from yourself perspective.
When you never keep in touch with the outside world,when you live a life alone in an isolated island,others would absolutely deny your either physical existence or mental existence.However,if that imaginary scene mentioned above comes to yourself,you may have a deep sense of existence,then you succeed in defining and identifying yourself.
This enlightens us that whether you are existent or not could never be defined by only others,self sense of existence is also deterministic.Now,we go to another one imagined scene.This time,you are living in a busy even crowded city,every day,your luxurious life is based on robberies and killings.
Therefore,no one in the city could neglect your existence,after all,your shadow even brings much fear to their minds.However,you never have a little bit sense of why you should do it like this.
Yourself seem like a slave of the God,because no single decision about your action is from you.Under this occasion,yourself have lost your existence sense.Your existence is only identified by others instead of yourself in this case,because of your inability to define yourself.
With regard to existence,the second thing is what your essence is(meaning who you are).We have said that your existence would be jointly defined by others and yourself.Now,we need to handle a core question,how can we describe some essential aspects of you.
Our answer is that what you have done defines what you are,if you have done nothing in others’ eyes and yourself mind,then you could not be said to have been existent.Your being is never sufficient to self demonstrate who you are,because your being may be illusory thanks to nothing that you have done.
You want to argue that everyone has his own way to live a life,his existence should never be on the basis of his doing,his being is the only means to his essence.Let us take an example.If you have a baby,he is too small to talk,moreover,he is also unable to cry or do some actions to send signals to express his various needs.
Then,unfortunately,your baby has lost his essence of existence,because everything depends on you to decide whether he needs diaper and milk,etc.He is not aware of his life,he could not make any response even though he is in danger.One more situation is that supposing you have some kinds of super power,so that you could accurately predict what the life span of a person is.
When your baby is born,you get shocked because of your prediction that he would die at his second birthday.However, your baby could create his life essence with your help despite his short life process,you value much the period of time with your baby,therefore,you try your best to link your existence to your baby.
What you do is a part of coordination activities with your baby,so,we can say what you do is also what your baby does.Without your baby’s involvement,your doings would be defined with a different approach,hence,you and your baby have attached a type of joint life essence to each other.(Every time,you accurately predict others' life span,but when you also predict your baby’s life span in advance,you feel extremely frustrated and helpless,finally,you may give up this super power under aftereffects of your baby.)
Here,what I would like to present is that yourself active doings and yourself passive doings both are vital factors to define your essence.However,yourself active doings would present your essence only by yourself,in contrast,yourself passive doings would reflect your essence only by others.
Whether life belongs to yourself or not is judged by what you do.All descriptions about your life are from your doings.If you do not engage yourself into any business with others,then others’ life could not provide yourself life essence.
A and B are unknown to each other,they never have common areas,so,A and B are independently existing,under this occasion,it is not applicable to define A’s life essence from B’s angel(Because B does not know A at all).Your doings reflect your beings,your identity is uniquely depicted by your doings.
Once you commit a crime,then,what composites you at least has a criminal identity.You work for a university as a professor,then,teacher is your given identity,all your life descriptions should more or less be related to it.You drive a taxi in a city,then,you would be called a taxi driver,so,your identity for those unfamiliar with you is merely a taxi driver.
Under a specific situation,you may have different identities,considering you are doing many things.In the morning,you drive a taxi,your identity is a taxi driver from passenger’s eyes;in the afternoon,you coach a plethora of students to drive cars,your identity is a coach from your students’ eyes;in the evening,you wash and mend cars for others,then,your identity is a repairman in those peoples' eyes getting your services.
It seems that it is challenging to define yourself due to three types of identities attached,but for yourself,your identity has only one.You just play different roles during different periods of time,your identity is intact from yourself perspective.Many people around you know what you do,but they are still not capable of defining your identity.
Your husband or wife is living with you every day,you share almost everything you do and think,but he or she is only able to define your identity from what you have revealed,through their information processing.As a husband,your identity is eternally a husband for your wife,however,it may be truth that your wife is actually playing the role of “husband” which is not defined from biological difference instead social contexts.
What is the meaning?It simply means that what your wife does really decides whether her identity is a “husband” or not.Social contexts rule that a husband who should have some characteristics can be called a real husband,hence,a husband can not be accepted as a "husband" if his doings are same with a wife’s.This is more direct to observe something interesting in our society.
An emperor are dying,so,he orders his two year old son to throne once he dies.In symbol,his young son is the authoritarian emperor,but what the baby is doing unveils that he is only identified as an heir instead of an emperor.We all understand that he could not do anything related to domestic affairs,his doings are just reflection of no more than a baby identity.
Next issue is how we create our identities.We have disclosed that your identity is laid on the foundation of your doings instead of your beings.We could efficiently find out your identity through what you do but difficult through what your being is.
Creation of your identity is better through your doings either with yourself or with others.When you want to be identified as an economics student,you should choose economics as your specialization.If you opt physics as your subject,nobody except yourself would identify yourself as an economics student.
Given you have opted both physics and economics as your subjects,then your identity is given by which you spend more time studying.Considering that you distribute equal time to each subject,then,your identity would be constructed on which subject you have better achievement.
Provided that you have equal achievement on both subjects,then,your identity would be defined on the basis of average salaries given to each subject in the market from others’ perspectives.
At this time,if your choice is in contrast with others’ speculation,then,your identity is totally controlled by yourself.The society expects us to do something that is better for the whole society,but we do not follow his expectations,instead persisting in pursuing what we desire to do and to be,under this scene,the society is not willing to allocate an identity to make us recognized by others,but ourselves create our own identities for ourselves.
To the other scene,we do not plan to create our own identities,hoping that the society is willing to allocate an identity to us.We do not choose what we really wish,we just do what the society desires us to do,then our identities are given by others in the society instead of ourselves.
If our identities are created by the society,then,it is same to say that you are submissive to it,you are seemingly a prisoner of war.You are no different from others,all of you have the same identity because you all do the same thing which is distributed by the society.
Your freedom is exploited,so,your identity does not belong to yourself.Supposing you wish to smoke in some areas within the campus,but you find that that is no smoking area.What you are going to do would highly affect your identity.
You decide to give up smoking there,so,you bear that temporarily,but you are same with majority of students who could be called well-behaved ones.The second choice is that you violate the rule,hence,you still smoke there even though you are likely to be punished.
Then,your identity is totally created by yourself,the society could not restrict yourself from pursuing your own identity despite serious punishment.The third choice is that you do not violate the rule,but at the same time,you also hope to smoke,therefore,you are searching for another one place which is permissible to smoke.
Then,your identity is partiality regulated by the society,but the main part of your identity is created by your creativity.These three choices have different degrees of freedom present.First choice has the narrowest freedom for you,the second choice has the widest freedom to you,the last choice has the middle level freedom given to you.
However,we also need to understand the second choice appears to give us the most freedom,we still should have some reservations,because getting punishment would reduce our freedom without doubt.Generally speaking,the last choice is the wisest one,the freedom implied in it is the largest.
Your self interest is satisfied,simultaneously,the bottom line of the society is not crossed,your creativity defines yourself to the maximum extent through your doings.The first one is good for the society,because he reaches his purposes without difficulties.But,it is a big tragedy for our human beings,every one behaves like a predetermined machine,life is monotonic and simple repeat.
That situation just presents in an autocratic society,all people follow one stream of ideology,enthusiastically do what the top authority advocates.However,this type of society is not quite popular among our people,because its cost is to exploit people’s freedom.
The second one is harmful for the society,after all,all rules implemented are aimed at harmonize the interrelationship between two parties,now,all rules are just paper work due to lack of implementation.Sooner or later,the society would vanish due to high cost of implementing rules among his people,or,it may be that the society would be transformed into a totally democratic or undemocratic place.
In terms of the last one,it is very common in a mature democratic society,in which rules are followed,but his people can use their creativeness to expand their freedom of action.All people have different identities thanks to their unique creativeness,the society only warrants identity creation process is not a zero-all game.
The relationship between the society and his people.The society is the guarantee of our freedom,but also a hinder for our freedom.Without a well-run society,our freedom is dangerous thing,because there is a trend of exploitation and oppression in our human beings.
Exploitation and oppression are serious barriers to our pursuit of freedom,hence,the society is the basic structure for freedom creation in a harmonious way.But,the unfortunate thing is that the society is also trying to exploit and oppress his people,himself is our enemy to our freedom expansion.
We can imagine the society as a self-interest pursuer like a rational man,he would harm others' interest in the process of his own survival.The society is quite selfish,he devises many systems to sustain himself,but,these systems are costing his people much.
Taking informal sectors in many developing countries as an example.Informal sectors have different sub-sectors which are creating opportunities for those unable to get employment in formal sectors.In the street,we can easily find many food vendors and clothes shops at a low cost in a competitive market.
The society allows informal sector to appear even expand,because unemployment would completely destroy the society.However,informal sectors always bring troubles to his customers,many sanitary issues and quality problems arise due to their low sense of customer responsibilities.
An air cooler may cost you 250 Chinese Yuan in a nearby electronics shop,but it is highly possible that it would stop work after one day.When you start to talk to the owner of the shop about compensation,your trouble would be forever.
From the simple example,we see that the society wants to survive himself through informal sectors,but at the moment,many customers’ freedom has been exploited thanks to series of problems embedded in them.If you think it is not sufficient to persuade yourself,then,you could think about division of labor in our society.
The society wants to improve his productivity and efficiency,so,division of labor is introduced among his people.The problem is that why we should be forced to join in division of labor even if we are not willing to do.
If we do not participate in division of labor,then we even can not survive in the brutal society,so that too many people have to oppress their interests in order to get a role in the process of division of labor.Under this process,the society is actually exploiting and oppressing his people so as to survive himself.Of course,if you can survive yourself without following what the society guides you to do,then you are definitely a free man.
In our human made society,everything could be challenged and questioned,no universal truth can be employed among his people.Whether you are beautiful,handsome,intelligent,diligent and so on or not has no answer.
What we take it for granted now is the society’s desire.If we look forward to having our own identities,we should keep some distance off the society,otherwise,you would more or less lose your identities.
It is not important for you to consider about EQ or IQ,high EQ and IQ are beneficial to the society,but it may harm yourself if you get them through your oppression on limited freedom.
Nothing is permanent,if you can not make rules for the whole society,then you may try making rules for a part of the society to expand your freedom.Life is nothing for the physical world,anyone can come to it,anyone would leave it,for it,human life is meaningless
Life is vital for ourselves if we can identify the existence for ourselves.
(Written in 2015)