Looking at society today, people seem to be caught up in the mundane so much so that they have lost all sight of living and what that means. The rates of obesity, depression, and pharmaceutical dependency all appear as symptoms to me. Big pharma and now biotechs do an excellent job of treating these symptoms, but no one seems to be really looking at the source of the problem. First, let me say that I completely agree with the use of meds such as anti-depressants when they allow someone to regain their livelihood and begin to work towards a better life. However, in contrast, I don't like to see a medicated society where the symptoms are neutralized allowing the sufferer to ignore the problem.
A somewhat unrelated topic that concerns me is what does it take for a person to break with societal dogma and pursue the dreams they have? The following excerpt comes from a commencement speech that Steve Jobs of Apple gave. I think it is an excellent statement of the facts that must be realized before the greater questions can be addressed.
When I was seventeen, I read a quote that went something like “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right”. It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long form now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.
I wonder if someone has to come to terms with their own mortality before they can begin to listen to the small voices within them. Those voices are the ones that can tell us where our happiness is. For me, that has always been to travel and explore new places. For others maybe it's to have a big family, work for a non profit, climb Everest, or have a garden. That's individual; the courage to pursue the dreams is common, or at least the search for the courage to follow your dreams. - Lee