What is the point of life?

I hit rock bottom when I was involuntarily detained into a mental institution. I wanted nothing more than to be free. I was so unhappy when I was trapped. I naturally gravitated towards happiness from there.

If you listen to an evolutionary biologist like professor Robert Sapolsky, he says something along the lines of that the purpose of life is to pass on genes. Some animals form colonies and packs based on kinship because of shared genes (“I would lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins” is a quote referring to the shared genes and kinship based on genes from kin selection). Now, let’s take a moment to assume that the purpose of an individual’s life is to pass on their genes.

You run into a big honking problem when you run into gay people. What is the purpose of a gay man’s life if he can’t or won’t pass on genes? In this simplistic view of the world, the purpose of a person is to get married and have kids. What if they don’t want to? Would they be going against their purpose?

I would argue that you shouldn’t look at people or yourself this way. It leads to all sorts of dark paths, like the notion that gay people have no purpose and that certain genes can be removed from the human population. I would argue that a better way is to say that the purpose of life is human happiness. You would be treating people as people if you believed that the purpose of life is human happiness. Like the kind of happiness that a prisoner experiences from freedom. That’s why prison is a punishment – nobody wants it and in a perfect world nobody would be no prison.

People naturally gravitate towards this higher form of happiness. People do it through self-actualization and being and perfecting themselves. The deprivation of it to a sufficient extent can make a person suicidal.

Oh my God I just realized I don’t give a fuck about other people. That is why I am single – who wants to be with a totally selfish person?

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/sAHTszF2QmY

“Wants and Desires” by John Reed

I experience two types of desires. One is sort of a short term physical desire, like an urge, and the other is a persistent, love driven desire, like a persistent long term want. The latter I tend to feel more in my chest and they tend to be “big desires” rather than “urges”. For example, maybe I want a romantic partner in my life (or maybe to one day make a kid with said romantic partner in the future). That’s more the second type of want, or a “big desire”. “Big desires” can be the foundation on which you set long term goals, like for example the long term goal of healthy weight loss or of obtaining a long term romantic relationship that will eventually lead to marriage. The first type of desire is more like the following situation: I walk by a candy store and I see a lollipop and I want [desire] to put it in my mouth. I know that sounded gay, but I am not sexually attracted towards male people – I am heterosexual.

Anyway, the first type of desire is more about instant gratification where as the second type of desire [i.e. what a person really (truly) wants in life] is almost a spiritual need or a need that one has as a person, and it can sort of guide people in the long term. Like I know that if I were single and never had a romantic relationship there would be like a hole in my life just like for example maybe never having a father would leave a hole in your life. Like there is something kind of sad about never having a father. The second type of desire, at least for me, keeps taking me places in life – it sort of pushes me forward. I guess one way to think of it is impulse (impulse driven) vs compulse (or human compulsion) in life. Candy is more like an impulse where as having a kid of your own or making a difference is more like a “higher pleasure” in one’s life, if that makes any sense. Love is more related to the second kind of desire (compulsion) than the first (impulse).

Imagine that there were a button on a table, and every time you hit that button with your hand, you had an orgasm. If you had no impulse control, you would hit the shit out of that button, but eventually you would get bored (or maybe you would need to go to “Pleasure Button Anonymous” [parody of “Alcoholic’s Anonymous“]). That orgasm feeling you get from hitting that button is like a shot of dopamine to your head. It feels good for like a second and then it goes away. Maybe if you’re lucky it’ll feel good for like five seconds instead of one second (I actually once tested out a psychiatric drug called Selegeline that caused orgasms to last a lot longer because it inhibited the breakdown of dopamine which is released from orgasms), but that transient short-term gratification is still sort of a temporary, almost instantaneous pleasure.

The second sort of happiness is a different feeling. I personally feel it more in my heart than in my brain. The United States’s Declaration of Independence has this phrase:

“We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness”

I personally would replace “men” with “people” because nowadays we have birth control and female people are no longer “baby making machines [i.e. property]” that can be purchased in exchange for a cow and three goats, but you get the idea.

At the end of that quote is the phrase “life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness”. Pay particular attention to the word “happiness”. What kind of happiness are they talking about? Think back to the example of the imaginary button that you could put on your table, and every time you hit that button, you had an orgasm. I don’t think that is the kind of happiness that they are talking about. That is more like immediate pleasure, and I don’t think that is what the Declaration of Independence was referring to.

I think they were referring to a deeper (some might call it “higher”) form of happiness, like a happiness that is tied to a life pursuit. A less transient form of happiness than the instantaneous gratification that one gets from the immediate satisfaction of a mere urge. I’ll make up a ridiculous example just to get a point across.

This isn’t me, but imagine that there is someone who LOVES money. Like they just want to sit on a giant pile of dollar bills. They love money the way some people love their spouse. This is kind of ridiculous, but it is meant to get a point across:

Mr. Krabs

Now in the cartoon SpongeBob, Mr. Krabs loves money. Like he just sees it and he feels drawn to it and he wants to touch it. He is attracted to money. Even though I sort of feel a physical response to physical cash, I am not attracted to money, but he is. The weird thing about touching cash with my hands is that I get this weird feeling almost like I get when touching a female person (I inadvertently experienced that sensation in my left hand during this photo shoot in Vegas), but my body can’t get turned on from touching physical cash, so the feeling I get from cash isn’t sexual. It’s hard to explain exactly what I mean, but I sometimes don’t like touching physical cash and I don’t want to accumulate it – like if I have spare nickels in my apartment and I don’t want to go to the bank I just throw them away (where as Mr. Krabs would never throw away one penny).

Anyway, to me money is just a number on my online checking account that goes up or down from month to month, but to Mr. Krabs, the accumulation of money is more than just being able to pay the rent, buy food, and pay bills like the electric bill which is automatically deducted from my online checking account. To Mr. Krabs, the accumulation of money is (to him) sort of like what finding a spouse is to me. He loves money and to him the hoarding of money is like a life goal, at least during his time here on Earth (but after he is dead I think the vast majority of his money should go to the government or at the very least to philanthropy because there is no way in hell a kid can responsibly spend billions of dollars in corporate stock that he inherited from his father). Sometimes it’s hard to sell that much stock and assets at market value in a short period of time, but eventually that money should be transferred in such a way that it serves people who are not the child of a billionaire. Going back to talking about the hypothetical Mr. Krabs, the accumulation of money while he is alive is a higher form of happiness to him sort of like a romantic relationship (or the obtaining of a love based romantic relationship) is a higher form of happiness to me. Mr. Krabs really loves money and is attracted to cash the way some people are attracted to their spouse, which is why he went into business and built the Krusty Krab. Note that this is an allegory – I am not really talking about the TV show “SpongeBob SquarePants”.

Now what if I told Mr. Krabs that he had to give up all of his money. Worse yet, what if I took all his money away from him and put a curse on him such that everyone he touched turned into a pile of money. Like imagine that Mr. Krabs now has King Midas’s golden touch and everyone he touched – his daughter, his parents, his friends, his wife – they all turned into piles of money. This would crush him. Why he would hate the very thing that he loves. In my opinion, this curse would literally be a human rights abuse because it would deny Mr. Krabs a deeper form of satisfaction in his life. In the Declaration of Independence, I think that when they refer to “the pursuit of happiness”, they are referring to satisfaction in life rather than instant gratification in the form of immediate pleasure. They are referring to the “big happiness” or the “latter kind” rather than the “urge” kind or “the first type of desire” which I described in the first paragraph of this article. An urge is more like an itch that you want to scratch rather than something that one can pursue in life.

Mill’s Utilitarianism is seen as a competing theory with Kant’s Categorical Imperative, of which I believe in the second form. In Mill’s utilitarianism, he talks about two forms of pleasure – a higher form and a lower form. In my opinion, love and the pursuit of love (whether that be love of money, love of life, love of romantic partner, etc) is the “higher form” and instantaneous gratification is the “lower form”. I personally hate instantaneous gratification. Instantaneous gratification is often bad in the long run, whether it be in the form of an addiction, “junk food” [which over time causes people to become obese, ill, and die prematurely], smoking, escaping from life’s problems with a video game addiction, gambling addiction, drug addiction, or anything like that. Those sorts of things are almost like a secular version of “sin”.

In another blog post, I talked about my secular God. I may be an atheist, but I sort of see myself as like a secular prophet in a way (like I know I’m not actually magic and that I don’t have magic powers or anything like that, but I have a message). Like in human history there were prophets who spread the word during their time, and that is what I seek to do, but I am spreading my secular word. Even though I am not religious, I don’t want a totally nihilistic life and ultimately I do not believe that you have to be religious to have a feeling that something is wrong or bad and that you shouldn’t do it. I do not have to be a Christian, a Muslim, or Jewish to think that say gambling all your family’s money away and giving your children cancer from second hand smoking is a sin. It’s fucking bad. You should be able to comprehend that this is a bad thing regardless of what your faith is. Like in this [hypothetical] situation, you have literally ruined and destroyed your entire nuclear family. This [hypothetical act] is bad regardless of what your faith is. You should be able to sort of see or figure out what is bad and sort of see or figure out what is good and carve out a path in life that is guided by your sense of love and good. This is like my “secular faith”.

  • John

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The King’s Clothes

Once upon a time, I read a story about The Emperor’s New Clothes.

This image is based on that story:

In the story, the King isn’t actually aware that he is naked. He thinks that he is wearing the finest clothes, and everyone is pretending that he is wearing the finest clothes, but in reality he is naked. I am sort of like that in that I am not really self aware. I sort of need to hear or see myself in order to be aware of myself. For example, it really helps me to look at myself in a mirror, see myself on camera, or hear myself on audio recording because if I don’t, I might totally miss something about myself that other people notice. For example, if I didn’t hear myself talking, I would have no idea that I sound kind of like a girl or a woman. Like just now I heard a recording of me saying something and my response was “wow, I sound like a woman”. My focus is very “external” to me and I am just not terribly self-aware. Heck, even my sense of God is sort of inverted such that when I see a Jesus reference like this or a mention of his name like this I am like “Hey, that’s me!“. I’m an egomaniac, lol, but I swear it’s not on purpose.

Anywho, being not self aware has a lot of really peculiar consequences. For example, I used to always dress like a slob and not even notice (although other people do). Working at a bank forced me to dress nice in front of a mirror each morning, and this resulted in me looking better than I ever looked working at a tech company. Always looking your personal best is really helpful when you are single, and I appreciate the improvement in my appearance.

One thing that I kind of wondered was why I really like girly stuff like this:

I really didn’t know why I like girly stuff, but I think I realized why.

It’s me. Like I talk I sound kind of like a woman, and I love myself, and that’s why I love this stuff. I love women, but I think that love is more like an extension of the love that I have for myself. I used to kind of hate women and also myself, and I think that these two forms of hate were interconnected in a similar way.

As an example, I kind of love Elizabeth Warren, and I also kind of love little girls, and I love myself, and I think these forms of love are connected. That being said, I really am not self-aware. Like for example, I remember being into Patti Smith and being surprised to find out that all the other Patti Smith fans are women. Like I didn’t know this when I started listening to Patti Smith, but then you look at a Patti Smith event and you are just like “there are no men here“. Like I remember being at a karaoke bar and picking the song “Because the Night” and I thought that either a guy or a girl could sing it because Bruce Springsteen also sang this song and co-wrote it with Patti Smith, but when I put that song on, a bunch of girls started singing along, but no guys. In retrospect if I pay attention to the song it makes sense that it would appeal to women, but like I remember being like “why the fuck are all these girls singing along?” Like I just don’t have that self-awareness.

Like in my head I come off like this:

But in real life I come off like this:

I’m like the emperor in this picture:

One interesting consequence of this is my sense of gender and attraction. I had a very masculine gay friend who was kind of attracted to female stuff, but it wasn’t sexual to him. Like I would notice boobs and he would be like “yeah”, or like he would want to grab like a fluffy pink piggy bank and put it in his cart. The thing is, I am also kind of drawn to the color pink and to boobs, but to me that draw is sexual, but to him it isn’t. Like he can notice boobs the way I do, but to me it’s sexual where as to him it’s just “yeah”, and we’re both really masculine on the outside and we both kind of notice that stuff, but to me it’s sexual and to him it isn’t.

I’m sort of like that with men, lol. Like to me men’s eyes and faces and stuff are attractive, but like it isn’t sexual to me. Like I can’t get a boner or anything from it, but I do notice it. I’m not gay, but like it’s sort of a non-sexual attraction to me that I have towards men, but not towards women. I think that’s why I like chicks who are like dudes. Like I was watching this prank video about a college girl who walks up to random guys and asks to suck their cock, and I totally see how the guy at https://youtu.be/XEfWcm63kDM?t=120 is attractive. Man this is embarrassing.

Anyway, referring back to the paragraph before the previous one, the color pink or magenta is kind of weird to me because it’s just a color, but it makes my head turn the way a hot woman does. Like for example I was in a store and I saw a bright magenta suitcase on top of a bunch of black suitcases, and I felt like a pull towards the magenta suitcase. Like obviously I can’t get a boner from a suitcase, but the way it sort of mentally pulled me felt the same as the mental pull I experience towards a sexually attractive woman. I sort of mentally associate those two things with each other, the color pink or magenta and the the female sex. Like I associate this color with “woman” or “female”:

It’s weird how a color can pull my head the same way a nice butt can pull my head, but my body doesn’t physiologically respond to a color.

Anyway, I guess that femininity is sort of like my external presentation (like the way I talk) being represented internally. I’m kind of like a bat that uses echolocation. I sort of see or experience myself through the reflection with the outside world. Like if I don’t see that I look like crap, I don’t think I look like crap, even if other people see that I look like crap. My dad is like that. I think this way of seeing the world is due to the size of one’s ego. Like I think Donald Trump is like this a little bit. It’s called being “narcissistic”, but to me it’s just me. I swear I’m not like that on purpose – it’s just my perspective and the way I see the world. My mental “inside” is like a reflection of what I project to the “outside”.

I’m like a mirror in that I sort of reflect myself.

This has an effect on the way I perceive attraction. I am actually a zero on the Kinsey scale – damn near 100% heterosexual – and it’s not “fluid” like the way some “straight” women (who date men) say their sexuality is fluid. My attraction to men is more like a non-sexual “secondary attraction” or something, but I think that secondary attraction still sort of makes a difference, especially when it comes to picking someone who I want to be in a long term relationship with. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but this is what I thought. I don’t think any scientific contraption or anything can figure it out because it’s super subtle and psychological – like you can’t measure attraction with a medical device that measures penis blood flow. Heck, they even created a thing that shows where your eyes look, and it showed that straight male eyes look at women’s eyes (which are sort of looking away or not looking at the camera) when they watch straight porn. This makes sense because the eyes are a turn on when they’re not looking at you, and you want to be really turned on to orgasm. That being said, this feeling is not what I am talking about when I mean “attraction”. Like their eyes are hot from the side when they’re not looking right at you, but like when they look directly at you it isn’t hot:

^ Like I honestly don’t even know how to respond to this. Could you move your face further away, please? ^

But yeah, like women are really hot from a distance, but up close, like face-to-face, I don’t really know what to do. Related story.

In college I sat down with a girl who was sitting by herself for lunch. I just made friendly conversation and she found it funny that I wore a nice dress shirt on top but sweatpants from the waist down (time saver!). She seemed kind of bored and there was time to kill between classes and I somehow invited her back to my dorm room for a game of chess at the end of lunch. Note that I was really excited about chess at this time and I actually expected to play a game of chess with her in my dorm room. She sort of followed me to my dorm room, we went in, I closed the door behind us, and got out the chess board. I set up the chess board and I was surprised that she had no idea how to play chess. She just kind of asked what each of the pieces did, and then there was awkward silence, and then she left my dorm room and I was confused.

Looks wise she kind of reminded me of the girl in this picture, but she wore all blue:

I think she might have been kind of interested or curious or something, but man did that not work. I literally had no idea what she wanted me to do. Like I’m not really attracted to pretty women face-to-face. Like this woman on YouTube is super hot:

Like if she grabbed me by the neck and started making out with me that would feel really hot (and I would probably close my eyes during this hypothetical making out session), but like I’m not attracted to pretty women that way, so if she wanted to do that she would kind of have to be the one to instigate it in this imaginary scenario. Like it’s not that it wouldn’t feel hot if it happened – I am just not attracted to women in that way, and it’s kind of awkward when they sort of almost want it or anticipate it or something and I am just like “it’s your move ♞”. Don’t worry – this doesn’t happen very often. Usually I meet a hot older woman who seems super cool and I want to be friends but then she leaves.

But yeah, I don’t actually have a desire to kiss women, except maybe the one who I am dating, and even then it’s sort of like a special expression of love or like within the context of dating or something like that. Like if I am dating someone and we go on a long walk and kiss after or at the very end that’s different. But in this situation she had no visible body to speak of (i.e. none of this stuff), I don’t remember how she smelled (this person who I was seeing before the Russia scandal broke naturally has this smell that makes me want to fuck), and like all I had in this situation was this pretty girl’s friendly smiling face in front of a chess board (which is all I need from a girl if the only thing she wants to do is play chess). I’m not attracted to women like as people, I am attracted to female (like the body, smell, etc). I also tend to like people who are kind of crazy bitches, but that is just me. Don’t worry – I think she is delightful – she just scares the crap out of other people.