Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


This morning I was tunneling down a Wikipedia rabbit hole when I stumbled across an entry for garum, an ancient Roman condiment and staple to the Roman diet. It struck me as odd how something could be so critical to the cuisine of an entire people and yet be completely unheard of today, even in present-day Italy.

Later on at lunch, I was eating in the break room with the rest of the office staff when I felt a ripple of dread watching a co-worker use a chili paste condiment on her food. In a flash I thought about the countless number of people using garum so many thousands of years ago: people long since dead and buried, people whose entire lives from birth through death are unrecorded and unremembered. Then I suddenly pictured in my mind people living thousands of years from now and how all of us around that table would be just as unknown as if we had never lived at all.

The Lighter Side of Death

Ironically, philosophical realizations such as the one described above are just as pointless as anything else. The one purpose they can serve, however, is to focus the mind on the things that matter. The most important thing in life--the only knowable thing--is what is going on around you right now. Who are you right now? What are you doing right now? What can you do right now to move your life in a better direction?

In a previous entry, I mentioned that existential insights don't necessary make one more secure about the nature of existence; however, they can separate the chaff of meaningless distractions from the wheat of authentic Being. Like all things, it depends on the person and the metaphysical space where one takes one's experiences and understandings.

Personal Roundup

I was supposed to start back at the gym yesterday. Unfortunately, I spent most of the four-day weekend in bed once again. In addition to being a nervous wreck, I've also been lethargic and unmotivated. I've been abstinent long enough that I shouldn't still be detoxing. My doctor started me on a new medication the other day, so hopefully that will provide me with some relief soon.

Days sober: 11
Weight: 240 pounds
Waist: 47.5 inches