For over a century now, humanity has had this demonstrably delusional desire to understand one other. Psychology made its best attempt but found itself driven into madness trying. Which is hilarious and somewhat deserving when you think about all the shit psychology has put us through.
Lately, this need to understand is becoming life-sustaining. Because we have started asking ourselves what we should be doing with our lives. And, unsurprisingly, we haven’t found an answer.
Instead of accepting that, we resort to an approach that’s become a classic to our times.
No one understands me.
Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.
We think we understand something when the truth is — we know something about it. This knowing, most often, comes from other people, the very people we claim don’t understand us.
Our understanding of others have remained restricted to faux empathy. We have reduced understanding into hearing (listening — if you are into stuff like that) to what someone has to say.
While at its essence, understanding begins when you listen to yourself. And when you try, you realize we are all at different levels of cluelessness and what people are seeking is not an ultimate answer, but some meaning to their question.
And there’s little meaning in the question, what do I want to do with my life. It’s banal and tiresome.
Here’s a better question:
what do you wish you really understood?
People who believed they know what they want to do with their lives but never made any attempt at understanding came close to destroying the world. And since it was too painful to admit they screwed up, they soldiered on without really trying to understand.
An understanding of yourself has turned into confirmation bias. Basically, a process where you seek to validate your own shitty beliefs. Even if you know what you want to do with your life, you are not fully convinced until people believe and sanction and legitimize your life’s purpose.
It’s not that no one understands you. It’s that you haven’t made an attempt yourself. Because it’s a scary-ass process. It’s maturity, an ability, first, to know what to ask for. And, then, to do something about it. This fear creates a sense of urgency to our choices and so we end up asking for the vaguest crap.
Ever wondered why some of our most-common beliefs make no sense at all? Because they are a result of a dusty hairball of opinions gathered over centuries. The reason understanding is more important (now) is not because it’s a magical process of finding your clues. It’s because our clues have turned into movements that take the path of shame and contempt. And is that what you want to do with your life? Most often that is the very escape from trying to understand yourself.
All life-changes are the result of a new level of understanding. It’s where the clues begin.