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Life isen't sensible to me. I've waken up in my house and wondered why am I here? (parents home). When am at school (high school) I wonder why am I here? Am I missing an identity? I dont know why am I live. I meditated trying to get anwsers my only accoplishments are: The meaning of life is I. Reality ( the wrold's rules/structure) is what my mind perceives. Both the chicken and the egg came at the same time because inside the DNA has the instructions for both ( the egg will be the chicken, the chicken would make a egg). Personality is based on belief. I had tons of mental energy months ago, know it has depleted.

A dog chassed me once awhile back, I ran, felt depressed afterwards. The thought behind the emotion was that I am helpless in my fate. But it's not true because I ran.... I wonder if I value my life maybe thats why I dont act on my convictions.( I wanted to drop out of school, I'm letting parents tell me where to go, which is a volition, since I'm the meaning of life, letting someone pick my course, they're robbing my happiness.)A child has more vigor than me, anyone does. theres a diffrence between me and usal person, I dont know what it is.

The essence of what I am aiming is..I told my friend that life dosen't start when we graduate from highschool, it's right know. How would philosophy help me?

asked Mar 08 '11 at 00:11

Sage1's gravatar image


edited Mar 09 '11 at 14:17

What you are describing sounds like normal "questioning" that we go through as we grow up. You have taken the time to actually verbalize your feelings -- where many people, just "feel" it, but don't try to describe, or identify, details about their emotions. I'd say your questioning puts you on the right path toward gaining that "footing" you seek.

It can take time and will require continued "introspection" work (as you are currently doing).

I'd agree with your parents; stay in school -- it's a great place to learn more about yourself and life. (Try some study in the psychology field.)

(Mar 08 '11 at 06:53) Joe Egan Joe%20Egan's gravatar image

What you are describing sounds like the phenomenon known as Adolescence- a fake reality invented by Americans allowing parents to treat adults as kids and to take away their growing right to their own lives. What you feel is guilt for trying to live. I went through it and am now NAMING it here.

(Mar 08 '11 at 08:57) dreadrocksean dreadrocksean's gravatar image

Adolescence is NOT any "fake reality." The human brain takes time to develop; stages of its growth takes place when we reach our teen-years. It is during these later changes that our fullest intellectual capacities are achieved.

Learning to handle the deeper concept-forming capacities of our brain -- along with the new emotions (particularly sexual) we begin experiencing -- can be a difficult task. Many start "shutting down" their minds as an "avoidance" behavior to not deal with such feelings as "volke" describes. Confusion or questioning in adolescence has nothing to do with "guilt."

(Mar 08 '11 at 10:49) Joe Egan Joe%20Egan's gravatar image

It would probably be better to use the word "changes" for what happens to our brains during adolescence rather than words like "growth" or "development." There is significant evidence for physical changes taking place within our physical brains during our cognitive development during adolescence.

(Mar 08 '11 at 11:01) Joe Egan Joe%20Egan's gravatar image
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There have been many comments that correctly identified the physiological changes and challenges associated with them during adolescence. However, knowing that there is a good explanation for how you feel is insufficient for getting your life and your psyche back on track. My sense is that the primary issue you are experiencing is the lack of purpose and lack of control over your own life. Unfortunately, as somebody pointed our, our society does not view teenagers as young adults and continues exerting an almost complete control over them. The answer to it is not rebellion as that is just the other side of the coin. By rebelling you are not exerting control, you are still reacting to other people's actions.

To gain control over your life, you need to self-reflect and try to figure out what you would want your life to be if it were completely up to you, within the constraints of reality. Can you imagine yourself as a productive adult? Do you see yourself designing buildings? Sculpting? Helping people? Travelling all over the world and discovering new lands? As you self-reflect, drop your inhibitions about what's possible to you today and let your mind wander. Don't worry about what's acceptable to your parents or society at large and focus on yourself and your own values.

The next step is to identify what aspects of your life you do have complete control over today. Is afternoon time yours? Do you get to choose elective classes? Do you have your own room? Where is the pocket of freedom in your life?

Finally, put the two together. How can you fill up that part of your life, which is your own with the things that will put you on the path for the goal you have envisioned. That part is extremely tough. I would start by finding an hour of the day to spend in your own space and stare at the wall day-dreaming about that future. Let it focus on the elements of being what you want to be. Before you know it, your mind will pause on a particular item, an idea, an action. That's your taking off point. Jump up and do it - no matter how ridiculous everyone else would think it was. You might wind up pasting internet print-outs of that, which interests you. You might create a contraption of matchsticks; create your own garden in the back yard; join a club that has no social status, but unites people in their passion.

It's important to explain to your parents that you need some personal space to figure this out. You might wind up asking your mother not to clean your room to allow you the privacy you need; ask your family to let you have uninterrupted alone time between 4-5 in the afternoon. Talk to them honestly and without anger. Ask what you can do to make it possible. Be flexible and ask them to for the same.

In the end, you will still be living in a world that is primarily controlled by others and might consist of things that are of little interest to you. But you will have that part, which is yours and precious, and no one can take from you. It will become your purpose in life, your reason for living, and a joy that is hidden from others and shared only with those you choose.

answered Mar 08 '11 at 17:00

Kate%20Yoak's gravatar image

Kate Yoak ♦

edited Mar 08 '11 at 17:02

Here is a condensation of the question (with numerous spelling and grammatical errors corrected):

Why am I here? Why am I alive? There's a diffrence between me and the usual person. I don't know what it is. How would philosophy help me?

You are experiencing man's fundamental need for philosophy. You might find Ayn Rand's book, Philosophy: Who Needs It? very helpful. I certainly recommend it.

The book begins with a discussion of the three fundamental questions anyone asks: Where am I? How can I discover it? What should I do?

Philosophy, including Objectivism, isn't likely to give you complete or personalized answers, but it will tell you how you can find meaningful answers for your own life through your own observations and thoughts.

Life isn't sensible to me. Am I missing an identity? The meaning of my life is I, myself, my own self. Reality (the world's rules/structure) is what my mind perceives. Personality is based on belief. I had tons of mental energy months ago, but now it is depleted. A dog chased me once, awhile back. I ran, then felt depressed afterwards. The thought behind the emotion was that I am helpless in my fate. But it's not true because I ran.... I wonder if I value my life; maybe that's why I don't act on my convictions. (I wanted to drop out of school, but I'm letting parents tell me where to go, which is a volitional choice. Since I'm the meaning of my life, in letting someone pick my course, they're robbing my happiness.)

You are also experiencing the need for integration, which is what philosophy can help you to satisfy. Integration means understanding how the various aspects and events of your life all relate to each other and to the fundamental "I" (the self) that is your essence.

It may be helpful to think of integration as a tree -- a "tree of knowledge," your knowledge, knowledge of life, knowledge of self. There's a reason to call it a tree. A tree has roots. In fertile soil. From which a trunk rises. And branches grow from the trunk. Smaller branches from larger ones. Finally leaves on the branches. Each leaf representing an item of knowledge. All tied together in a single harmonious whole. What a joy it could be to have that! I say, look for the tree. You have to find it yourself. Others can't do it for you.

A follow-up comment asks: "What is the 'liquid' to which my events would be integrated?"

How about the choice to live? You said it yourself: you ran away from the dog because you wanted to protect your life. You eat food each day (or two) rather than do without it because you want to live. In Objectivism, all values rest on the choice to live. Even the value of intellectual discussions. Sooner or later we all face the alternative of life or death, and we have a choice about whether to act to preserve our lives or not. Unless they have completely lost the capacity to enjoy life, life-seekers act as they do because they enjoy living enough to make the effort worthwhile. If the question is how to find enjoyment in living, see above. If the question is why bother to live at all, I can only say that it's man's choice, with definite consequences. If something is preventing one from enjoying one's life, one is free to examine what the barrier is and what, if anything, one can do about it oneself, over time if not immediately.


In the comments, Volke writes, in part: "At times I notice the vast difference of consciousness and reality and wonder if reality really is. I wonder if the tree in front of me is really there, if I could [walk?] through it or not, things like that."

Here is a sugestion. Try reading Galt's Speech concerning metaphysical axioms. If you doubt that the tree is what it is, test it. Try touching it as well as looking at it. Touch it with your whole body if you like, as well as your hands. See for yourself if you can walk through it. (Many children and adults prefer simply to climb trees rather than speculate on how solid they might be. Others, out of a more scientific interest, may tap them to observe what kind of sound results and how solid the tree might be; or put pieces of cut tree into water to see if they float or sink; or dissect a tree to see what's inside it or how many "rings" it has; and so on.)

The Ayn Rand Lexicon contains a wealth of insightful excerpts on axioms, which can be found in the topics of "Axioms" and "Axiomatic Concepts," along with all the cross-reference topics listed in those topics and the others.

If an inquisitive person like Volke is looking for "a footing in life," the metaphysical axioms could be a good place to start, if one have reached a stage of cognitive development where one is able to ask fundamental metaphysical questions explicitly. Perhaps Volke's ultimate "calling" in life will prove to be basic philosophy.

Further Update

The comments from volke seem to keep going around and around in circles. So I return to the original question:

Life isen't sensible to me. I've waken up in my house and wondered why am I here? (parents home). When am at school (high school) I wonder why am I here? Am I missing an identity? I dont know why am I live. I meditated trying to get anwsers my only accoplishments are: The meaning of life is I. Reality ( the wrold's rules/structure) is what my mind perceives. Both the chicken and the egg came at the same time because inside the DNA has the instructions for both ( the egg will be the chicken, the chicken would make a egg). Personality is based on belief. I had tons of mental energy months ago, know it has depleted.... I wanted to drop out of school, I'm letting parents tell me where to go....

Here is what I understand from this:

  • You attend high school.
  • You live with your parents.
  • You are aware of "the world's rules/structure."
  • You have wanted to drop out of school.
  • Your parents are telling you where to go in school and/or life, and you're complying passively.

    To be truly motivated to do anything in life, one needs to be personally interested in it, or at least personally curious to learn more. If there is a huge conflict between what others want for you and what you are or are not personally interested in, you may find it hard to think clearly enough in your own mind to identify what your own actual, personal interests may be. Advancing age may well turn out to be the only solution -- reaching a chronological age when you will be more fully on your own and making your own decisions in life. Leaving home to attend a college may be a step in that direction, also. On the level of the most basic fundamentals, it's good to hear, at least, that you aren't allowing angry dogs to eat you, nor letting yourself starve for lack of eating. And if you actually do have any serious interest in studying philosophy or being a painter, I would say don't let it die. If it isn't what your parents and/or teachers want for you, you may need to wait at least until college (or high-school graduation) to pursue it further (if you can't pursue it secretly). Postings on this website may be a form of doing exactly that. The Internet certainly has a wealth of interesting information to offer, and websites like Facebook seem to have captivated the attention of vast numbers of young people (and the not-so-young, too) today.
  • answered Mar 10 '11 at 01:24

    Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

    Ideas for Life ♦

    edited Mar 24 '11 at 15:45

    If the question is whether or not Objectivist philosophy can help someone who suffers from a confirmed psychological neurosis and needs assistance from an experienced professional psychological therapist, I would say yes, it definitely can help, but probably mainly in the hands of the therapist -- at least until the patient is able to deal more effectively with whatever is causing the neurosis.

    Unfortunately, very few Objectivists are trained psycho-therapists, and the field of psychology in general is rampant with ideas and assumptions that Objectivists would challenge.

    (Mar 12 '11 at 23:21) Ideas for Life ♦ Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

    Regarding ideas and assumptions in psychology that Objectivism would challenge, a very concise introduction can be found in the entry on "Psychology" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon. Be sure to check out the index topic on psychology in the Lexicon also. If psychologists try to tell you that you are helplessly determined by forces beyond your control, or that you aren't conscious (just a stimulus-response machine), those psychologists won't be able to help you very much if they are consistent with their philosophical base.

    You may want to consider tuning into the weekly radio show titled, "The Rational Basis of Happiness," by Dr. Ellen Kenner, clinical psychologist, weblink here.

    What is BTC? (In another thread, you also asked about OPAR. Since you are familiar with PWNI, I assumed you would know what OPAR is. It's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff.)

    (Mar 13 '11 at 14:49) Ideas for Life ♦ Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

    RE: "Unfortunately, very few Objectivists are trained psycho-therapists, and the field of psychology in general is rampant with ideas and assumptions that Objectivists would challenge."

    I don't know how you've drawn that conclusion.

    Some Objectivists have a (silly) reaction against Nathanial Branden claiming he isn't an Objectivist; I think his work/books are excellent.

    I'd also comment that just because a therapist isn't what you'd consider "a proper Objectivist," it doesn't mean he/she cannot be a good therapist. A lot of psycho-therapy is about the therapist being a good listener.

    (Mar 15 '11 at 08:16) Joe Egan Joe%20Egan's gravatar image

    In effect, how would philosophy be applicable when one makes decisions? I'm planning to go to Job Corps, which is a major decision (moving away from home, and getting a education/job skills). I think I'm doing what Peter Keating did on asking advice for his career. And I wonder about my ability to be earnest with myself.

    (Mar 30 '11 at 02:49) Sage1 Sage1's gravatar image

    I don't know much about Job Corps myself, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and found an apparently good description of it, here. Philosophically, the main issues and principles that come to my mind in regard to Jobs Corps are: (a) it's a government program, apparently taxpayer funded; (b) on paper, i.e., as described in the Wikipedia article, it seems to have a lot to offer to young people (age 16-24) seeking to find out what they can do in life to earn a living, and to acquire the job skills to do it.

    Philosophically, regarding (a), I would say that Job Corps is not a proper function of government, but there are far worse agencies of government in existence today. Regarding (b), however, if the reality of the program truly lives up to the description of it on Wikipedia, it could be very worthwhile for a young person (16-24) unsure of what he/she really wants to do and perhaps not ready for other kinds of trade school or college alternatives. The parents of such young people have probably paid plenty in taxes over the years to support all manner of government programs, and this one seems like a relatively minor way to pay them back, in part, indirectly through their offspring. I see Ayn Rand's discussion of "The Question of Scholarships" as applicable to this kind of case. Refer to "Government Grants and Scholarships" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.

    So my own overall conclusion from the foregoing is: go for it! -- if you think it will help and you're serious about giving it (and yourself) a try.

    (Mar 30 '11 at 16:22) Ideas for Life ♦ Ideas%20for%20Life's gravatar image

    After starving myself and meditating for 2 hours.I had a epiphany: I am afraid to exist. ;) that's one barrier down. I also felt my self-hate with astonishing atmospheric clarity. I think I let some go...I felt the most profoundest pleasure in my whole life. Harmony in my mental state.

    (Apr 13 '11 at 15:50) Sage1 Sage1's gravatar image

    Life is funny. I wrote this months ago and meant it 100% "I'm in a loss of words.Everyday war wages in my head. Everyday a struggle. Everyday a search for a placid mental state. I fear my condition is irreversible. I fear a death of life; where nothing got done except suffering. I have no love, I am dry, empty, afflicted, and in vast despair. Mercy. Yesterday I thought I was going crazy again. And it hit me like the first raindrop that lets you know its going to rain, I suffer because of me I am the source. In BTC a sergeant confessed that being sleep deprived did not make you stronger nor

    (Apr 13 '11 at 15:59) Sage1 Sage1's gravatar image

    build character (we went without sleep for 2 days or so.) It just teaches you to manage and deal with out sleep. I've learned to manage with panic attacks and pain. Actually panic attacks are suprsising; They never get old. They're no cheating them. -Nov14,2010

    (Apr 13 '11 at 16:01) Sage1 Sage1's gravatar image
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    Congratulations, volke, you are growing up! There is nothing wrong with you. You are going through what everybody else does including your parents, me, my kids, and pretty much everyone else. This doesn't make it easier, of course, but it let's you know you are on the right track, that is, asking questions! So let's look at them. I should warn you, this will only generate more questions but that's ok, too.

    "Who am I? Why am I here?" i remember my son asking me this. I replied, "Because your mother and I had sex." What a perspective shift! After being grossed out by the mental image, we went through a similar process that it sounds like you did. You are not a pending cause, you are an effect. You aren't here for some metaphysical reason and the fickle finger of fate isn't waiting around every corner forcing your every move. This is called an 'axiomatic concept'. You are you and you exist. So now what?

    You seem to have already moved nicely to the next concept, that of the reality of your existence, or more precisely, you perceiving it. Reality is not perception. For example, we don't each have our 'own reality'. We may have different understandings of reality. For example, the human being whom you call father is a different conceptual integration to a friend he has, different again to a doctor, different again to a coworker, etc. But the fact is he is the same person, just understood at different levels by different people. To show you do not alter reality simply by changing your perception, imagine falling from very high. You say to yourself, "I reject the idea that I will smash into the ground and become a person pancake!" Nice try. Gravity exists, you will go splat, and that will have been the last thought you had. :)

    So we are starting to grasp who volke is and why you are here. Up to now, you have been receiving education and experiences about the reality around you. It's nice to hear this has come from your parents (you point out they tell you what to do). A natural development around your age is to want to take some control. You want to use this information you have acquired, test it, be productive, find out what you are capable of, learn from your mistakes and take pride in your accomplishments! This is great! You need to let your parents in on this secret. They've been guiding you for around a decade and a half. I'm reasonably confident they are not the original inventors of parenting. Help them help you. Tell them you want more responsibility for your life. Be careful! With great power comes great responsibility! :) Jump in and get involved. Make dinner, wash your clothes, invent something, get a job. Think about what you're good at and enjoy doing and see how you can make that work for you!

    You said you were psychologically drained. This happens when your values clash with reality. Constant introspection is a good thing. You did a really good job stopping and thinking about who volke is and what you want. Never stop doing that. The next step is to avoid the draining, depressing part by analyzing where you are and where you want to be and formulating a plan. This is the thing that's new and the good news is it's very exciting! You are now going to grab a bit of control! You will plot your own path! Don't forget that you can get more done more efficiently by working with others. You started by posting your question here. You don't know it, but your parents have been waiting for this too. You said you are the meaning of life. Indeed, your life is your highest value, it is not anybody else's. Only you know what you want and can give it meaning. You have the capacity for greatness, volke, and this is the first day of the rest of your life. What are you going to do now?

    answered Mar 08 '11 at 12:57

    Douglas%20Thom's gravatar image

    Douglas Thom ♦

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    Asked: Mar 08 '11 at 00:11

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    Last updated: Apr 13 '11 at 16:01