It is what it is
Alecia Beth Moore, known professionally as Pink had a beautiful chorus in her hit song titled try. It’s a love song but the chorus has some profound wisdom which is key to our survival and cultivation of a calm mind and maybe a healthier life as well. Inverting Pink’s song pushed me to appreciate the fact that in real life things fluctuate between pretty good and not so bad. Real life rarely hits the extremes. Life is not devoid of problems and all problems are soluble.
In her chorus, Pi!k sung:
“Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try"
In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a philosophical concept that describes how obviously opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.
As humans, we have unlimited desires. It is the same desires that pushes us to unconsciously avoid the realities of life. Common sense will tell you that the closest cousin of positive is negative. The opposite of light is dark. The opposite of profit is loss. Selfishness goes with selflessness. Where there is bad also lies the seeds of good, the secret is obviously hidden in wait.
This is closer to the reality of life, nothing is bad, nothing is good. We have our own desires which are sometimes in conflict with the Universe. The Universe does not bow to any human and it will never adapt to support human existence. The Universe is not an accommodating machine that will give us what we want just because we want it. Perhaps you can get something out of life by cultivating of values and principles that are not self-disctructing in the long-run- but you still have to accept that luck is also part of life.
“The angel investor Naval Ravikant defines desire as a contract you sign with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want. Unfortunately we don’t always get what we want out of life. Careful with the desires you choose otherwise you’ll forever be unhappy.
We want to live long, we want to be understood, we want good health, money, cars, clothes,.. the list can be infinite but all these things don’t fall from the sky. Some of the desires we pick are futile. Often times, the odds are against us and fighting the Universe is a waste of time.
There are events that are bound to happen in future but we don’t know exactly when they’ll happen. These are what I call the unknown knowns. Our own mortality falls in this category. There are also things that can happen and we have no knowledge of them happening, “the unknown unknowns or better yet Black swan. Both world wars are the best examples of a Black swan events. We can try to understand or perhaps control the “unknown knowns but the unknown unknowns are out of our domain.
It is every human desire to live in a problem free world. A world of free milk and honey. Unfortunately such a world only exists in our imagination and we do suffer a lot with this stupid imagination than in real life. Literally everyone is conditioned not to entertain the bad. That’s fine, but attempting to remove bad from the face of the earth comes with costs, it’s drains us and enslaves us into the bad philosophy of thinking that we can live a problem free world.
Many books have been written in an attempt to try and remove the bad. Most of these books are filled with “How-tos” what Kapil Gupta MD always refer to as prescriptions. Everyone is hunting for prescriptions on how to remove the bad from the face of the earth. The prescriptions are not bad, they are just ineffective. They can’t take us where we want to go. The reason why crap sells is not because of crap sellers, it’s because there is demand for crap.
Life is not all about stopping the rain, it’s about carrying the umbrella with you just in case it rains. Sadly, it rains almost all the time. Use the umbrella to protect yourself when it rains. That umbrella could be this Ying-yang philosophy, the natural effect of understanding that any seed of good carry within itself the seeds of bad and all the seeds of bad carry within themselves seeds of bad. This understanding is sufficient to cut the belly of any beast you’re facing in your life. Yes, the belly is the weakest part of any beast.
Almost everyone knows someone who has committed suicide considering their subjective challenges of life. The only thing I can say is good luck to such people. They were still going to die anyways- it’s pointless to eliminate oneself in the game of life. The best thing to do is to continue playing until that random Russian roulette bullet hits you in the head.
Charlie Munger who is Warren Buffett right hand man once said, “all I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there. You can do the same.
To sum up, here are a few things you should walk away with after ostensibly wasting 6 minutes of your life on this article:
- Nothing is bad nothing is good. The sky is blue, clouds are white. The universe is exactly what it is, cursing it is a waste of time.
- Prescriptions don’t work. Anyone who seeks prescriptions is on the way to mediocrity. Prescriptions are not bad, they are just ineffective.
- Seek understanding, not how-tos or prescriptions.
- The vast majority of people regress towards thinking that they can do away with the bad on earth. Are you among them?
- Most of the things that have conditioned our thinking and how we live our lives are conjectural. A sample of one does not tell us much about the universe. Some of the explanations derived from these conjectures can be detrimental to our existence.
- You won’t get what you want out of life (the Universe) just because you want to.
- I always say you can’t be fooled by something which is risky when you know it’s risky. Understand that the universe is a risky place to be. Don’t be surprised when the odds turn against you.
- There are still so many things you don’t know. What you know is obviously enough to help you walk with a straight face but it’s not sufficient to make you arrogant. Intellectual humility should be our way of life.
- Life is like Russian roulette with multiple infinite bullets. Often times the chambers are empty but that doesn’t mean the gun is not loaded. The more we play the higher the likelihood of getting shot.
- The world will always have problems but all problems are soluble. Carry that umbrella with you all the time.