Most people who have lived life to reach beyond age 30 might very well have already given pause, now and then, to wonder or debate as to what various factors or facets of the human condition factor in to the on-the-fly feel for meaning and worth in life, as we live it. Sometimes the question pops up if a philosophy or religion or psychology could apply always and not just pertain limited to particular types of realms of endeavor: unconditional and ubiquitous and maybe explaining the formerly neglected blind spots to thinking on the subject. Sometimes the question pops up wondering at how some unattractive things in life can fit in with meaning and worth, and maybe stop pushing aside the “feel” for rich healthy meaning, replaced with cold meaninglessness and ugly incongruency. Sometimes the question pops up that if it is a given that meaning and worth that we feel so keenly are derived from particular traits, then what if those traits fall a bit short or outright prove unworthy in some of life’s cases, in and of themselves? And for me the question often arose wondering how to feel meaning and worth to the flow of life without that feel of meaning being dependent on, and sometimes badly working out as slave to: achievement, attainment, improvement, or completion of quest to build something or to reach performance criteria.
The doing of things is the real stuff. The journey is the joy. So hence there arises a real difficulty with tying all measures of merit to that which imbues events with meaning and worth too tightly to end results and finish line gains.
This treatment that follows steers in a direction aimed to build a framework that can benefit the reader with insights into fostering the feel of meaning, and do so regardless of success or failure, plus pull off the impressive result of applying well to even hum drum mundane tasks in life, where the endgame is of little or no merit to justify the activity itself.
The Pitfalls of Purpose to an End
The term “meaning” felt in life is used rather than the term “purpose” to life. Purpose fails to address that feeling of meaning in many ways, mostly due to being too tied to end and done results, rather than the journey and the doing.
Natural flaw philosophy, as I develop it, aims to provide structure and framework in the study of what factors in living life lend meaning to our minutes, hours, and days in the doing and on the always journey. I’ve thought through a coverage of activity types in life, and arrived at a functional framework featuring nine (9) fundamental factors.
Very important to this framework is that it is crafted with all factors in play independent of initiation or beginning of an activity or task, and also surprisingly independent of closure or result or accomplishment. The thinking here is in no opposition to accomplishment, philosophically. Yet invoking the term “purpose” (rather than possessing the feel of “meaning”) to facets of everyday life has the pitfall of enslaving the thinker to a valuation of finish criteria, which when juxtaposed with the merits of the journey or doing in the activity clashes and leaves entire endeavors feeling cold and grasping, rather than more appealingly: engaging.
The concept of a “one” or “master” interpretive statement describing a key linguistic summary meaning of all existence and the universe is rejected as invalid and an unwise study. Some confusion can arise here, due to the similarity of this rejected concept’s common title “the meaning of life” and the usage of the word meaning alternatively to be the best descriptor for the “feel” of some nobility, dignity, worth, and honor to the flow of life as we live it. Thus “the meaning of life” is a title much different to this “meaning felt in life” with the words “felt in” indicating the “feel” to living it, moment-by-moment, always there.
The remainder of this post teaches on nine (9) fundamental factors to overall everyday life that deserve our daily or weekly attention. A benefit to the self is potentially better quality of life. A pagan and flaw philosophy achievement is living in better agreement with the fundamental way and fabric of nature and this universe.
These teachings are key tenets of natural flaw (or natural imperfection) philosophies put forth by Natural Flaw Imbued today.
A Simple Start
Enjoying life just for what it offers in terms of pleasures and richness comes to mind as a simple and basic candidate for lending meaning to life, overall. However, it fails to satisfy a sense of independent merit other than self-serving, and comes out feeling hollow. This is no insult or degradation of the merits of enjoyment, nor is it meant to be suggestive of a philosophy overly enamored with the serious in life and thus unwisely deprecating of the merits of sheer self-serving enjoyments and pleasures.
Often we are too hard on ourselves and others, pushing for purposes and goals in life that are yoked with demanding criteria to cold utilitarian standards, or sometimes slave to popular culture ideals as to what serves worthy needs charitably or professionally. This hidden-baggage unaware philosophy (that we are all susceptible to carrying with us) has us only able to freely enjoy to the best our leisure and recreation in the pure, if and when we’ve paid enough price previously and recently in terms of contributing something of toil, hard work, or effort to our teams in vocation or to our more serious causes in independent endeavors. It seems that the pique of enjoyment in our recreation gets dulled and tainted by this phenomenon, soon after we’ve gone too long and too far away from justifying hard work behind us.
In some cases it is too serious of a work ethic, which might in some many cases indicate an individual not being strong on self-condoning and self-acceptance, and instead needing external justification too much so, for peace with the self, or for finding context to approve of other persons’ activities in life. In other cases it is too rigid a set of ethics as to what is worthwhile, and maybe one that looks down its nose condescendingly on the worth and merit of just having fun. Sometimes it is that enjoying ourselves does not feel condoned by institution, culture, religion, or tradition.
These are all enemies of tolerance and support for self and others to merely enjoy what time and opportunity we and they have, without being judged as banal or too self-serving. This challenging enemy to our self-tolerance, self-freeing, and tolerance of others seems to affect all of us, based on all of us having some developed sense of value and worth to things in life that cannot fail but notice these issues and be sensitive to them, albeit those values varying plenty from person to person. So it is not just a bane for the overly-serious or overly-judgmental few persons out there.
It can get to all of us, and have an ugly effect on our opinion of ourselves and others and the ways of our daily lives: condemning too much as falling short, if not failing utterly to satisfy a sense of meaning or raw worth.
Enjoying many parts of living life, and sheer pleasure seeking and fun loving, deserves defense from being maligned as being in and of itself some sort of certain taint upon meaning and worth to things. More is needed than sheer rewarding and enjoyable factors to activities and in life to lend the meaning we all need, but the seeking of reward and enjoyment is not in itself any culprit in stealing worth and meaning away. Rather accidental inattention or neglect concerning independent other fundamental factors in life would be where fault might lie. We should be more tolerant of enjoyment seeking and fulfillment.
This completes a basic start with the first of the Basic Two: Rewarding (or Enjoyable) Activity. The nature of this has been addressed, along with some merits and pitfalls associated with our conceptions or misconceptions of it. The second of the Basic Two: Freedom or Reduction in Physical, Mental, or Emotional Pain and Suffering is more obvious, requiring less delving into any nuances or pitfalls.
The Basic Two: Rewarding (or Enjoyable) Activity, without Suffering
All of us are wise to aim to get enough of both factors being fulfilled in our lives: (1) enjoying life and (2) staying clear of suffering. The second of the basic two is easily the clearest and most obvious for us to understand. It also stands as being the most agreed upon in debate or disagreement as to what matters in life: with strong agreement that suffering is a bad thing, and that easing suffering is a good thing, by nearly any standard of judgment on the matter.
Many professional, philosophical and religious systems place great value on freedom from suffering. And they do well in how they are practiced by followers in terms of efforts made, charitable or otherwise, to reduce pain and suffering in others. This second of the basic two stands well defended culturally as nearly always justified.
That differs from the first of the basic two, which many philosophies and religions actively or passively decry as too self-serving and unjustified. The professional field of psychology or behavioral science has much to its published canon that attempts to explain, reconcile, and lend merit and respectability to rewarding and enjoyable activity seeking, but contemporarily the history behind us of religions especially has failed to promote or shed positive light on such seeking. Only some eastern religious teachings much address the issue, and often the teachings confuse the raw nature of enjoyment by replacing it with an alternative explanation to lend it worth derivatively, and only as a tolerated means to that other worthwhile measure of merit.
Natural Flaw Imbued aims to provide teachings that fill this shortfall, through the message of this very post, and of other posts and pages. Thus, the fundamental factor in life of Rewarding and Enjoyable Activity being explained, developed, promoted, and granted respect stands as one of many “target benefits” of Natural Flaw Imbued.
Beyond the Basic Two
Much activity in life should pay heed and attention to the care and feeding of the basic two, discussed thus far. However, these two fundamental factors, if attended to, focused on, and reasonably satisfied can still leave much in life undefended from feeling in vain, trivial, unjustified, and even ultimately hollow of meaning. So there is more to pay heed to.
Rewarding living free of suffering alone will just not fulfill us reliably, if we are left with only these to foster and nurture in our daily activities. This is because there are other fundamentals to life that go hand-in-hand, always, and need be looked into and bolstered by us. If these other fundamentals grow too weak overall, or are left to dwindle for too long a time in dry spells, then we run the ugly risk of feeling cold about what we do, or what others do, placing an ugly taint upon our world view that might become too all-encompassing and in some cases decrease our quality of life dangerously: in our relationships, friendships, recreations, and/or professional careers.
A candidate that comes to mind, at least in word choice, for approaching these additional fundamental factors to life is beauty to things in life and living. This is the version of beauty that expands far beyond the physically appealing, and reaches to philosophical, emotional, sentimental, and holistic notions of more subtle and less blatant beauties, and imbued in so much in life, even the classically or physically ugly aspects of life. Beauty attempts to fulfill and satisfy, yet ultimately it too often is not evident enough blatantly and richly to lend itself to us as a helpful measure about so much in life. The beauties to much of routine and basic mundane everyday life and its trappings are subtle beauties requiring a long thoughtful repose to even grasp, plus these sorts of beauty are ubiquitous and could belong to everything, thus there is a plainness, regularity and mootness to the beauties that get burnt out and washed thin to a person’s awareness and attention. Thus beauty performs poorly and fails to arm us with a true-tempered and powerful connection into issues of worth and meaning to life and its activities.
The Defining Four: Build, Zest, Nature, and Openings
The teachings I present next in Natural Flaw Imbued are key tenets to my natural flaw (or imperfection) philosophy. Beyond the basic two of (1) Rewarding and Enjoyable Activity, and (2) Freedom or Reduction in Physical, Mental, or Emotional pain and Suffering, are four additional prime fundamental factors to all of living life overall that add to the character or makeup of events. These four factors are well-served by the titles (3) Build, (4) Zest, (5) Nature, and (6) Openings.
“Build” as the Structure on which to Paint Meaning
Build is needed by us to be involved in, or even better fully immersed in, regularly, whether scoring well on reward and enjoyment or not, and even sometimes worth pains and mild sufferings in exchange. Build need not always be ongoing, and we can sometimes enjoy leisure without build, even as important and easily engaged as build is. I use the term “build” to be widely encompassing of productive processes, gathering processes, sifting and sorting processes, editing processes, authoring processes, creative processes, navigation processes, game processes, event management processes, and anytime something is being managed toward some sort of final or structured interim or end. Build can benefit from simply having something to do with preparing for a meal, rather than just consuming a meal as served by others, for example. Build can also benefit by formally or informally giving pause at the completion of interim stage-by-stage steps in a build process, to let significance and reward sink in better.
“Zest” as the Amplifier of Meaning
Zest needs to occasionally be deliberately attended to in a manner to boost its presence during specific limited key parts of the day or week. Opportunities for such boost are often overlooked. When alone, a simple pause to consider the merits of something one is working on, with a cheerleader’s eye toward promoting the intensity or vitality touch involved, can do much to provide this occasional boost to the daily activities. Not everything sits well with being pumped up, but every now and then, and especially for some underdog unsung and atypical events of a day, thinking smart on this factor can really pay off handsomely. Otherwise, it automatically manifests in weak or faint trickle form during other activities, and only needs passive defense from being tainted if deliberate action attacks the spunk and vigor of things, the occurrences of which stand as rare and unusual, gladly.
“Nature” to Things as the Heart of Meaning
Nature is felt when we see, and further consider and reconcile connectively, the flow of imperfect nature, exhibiting life-cycle aspects, ebb and flow of growth and withdrawal phases, interplay between familiar and varied forces of nature or facets of life, deviation from absolute strictness and freedom from entrenched perfective notions (even in that which excels exceptionally), humane and soft deviation from ideal expectation, uniqueness encountered and created, graceful acceptance of defect and failure, a view toward intrinsic beauty to all great and small (and success plus failure both), and especially: registering in a natural way with at least temporary evidence in having been a happening or enacted event (at least a small amount) if not also providing limited lasting evidence.
Depending on religion or philosophy, this “Nature” to things could be felt as a touch to one’s soul of the way this universe works, manifested in the very fabric of the activity, like a mirror unto the universe to be found in just about every little thing we do. For the Christian, the nature of the events and interplaying parts might parallel natural weather forces in being part of the plan for God’s Creation. For the Taoist, the way of factoring things to an activity might exhibit characteristics of the Universal Way. For the Pagan the ways in which wild and urban nature interact with mankind and flow together in tapestry of hustle and bustle could be highlighted.
Like zest, Nature to things needs to occasionally be deliberately attended to in a manner to boost its presence. Also, when this is not the case, many activities in life daily could gain from a small amount of embellishment or alteration in proceedings, in keeping with the aim of structuring in the spirit of the Nature to things. Events that are planned and/or led are sometimes open to great benefit by a summation, consideration, connection-making, and delving stage in-between key stages, or at least toward endings and closure, to review portions of recent activity, with an eye toward viewing the Nature to things that interplayed. Such summation can be nonverbal physically reinforcing, or else spoken review with philosopher’s wording to some degree.
“Openings” paving Rich Mysterious Futures
The Pacing Three: Counterpoint, Sharing, and Repose
There are also three auxiliary fundamental factors to all of living life overall that reflect the flow and pacing of events, rather than the substance or character of the events. These three factors are well-served by the titles (7) Counterpoint, (8) Sharing, and (9) Repose.
These fundamental things we need in life, and when active for us do more for us than feed purely and simply an enjoyable factor. Actually, they are worth pursuing even in a great many cases when tending to them decreases or even halts entirely enjoyment of hour-by-hour living of life.