(Illustration by: Zach Johnsen-Life Under the Power Lines whitehotmagazine.com)
You know what, this one should be deep and reflective. This may require you to stop from doing any activities, so that you can read all the words below with good posture and clear mind. Try to answer and re-answer the question. Go and challenge my thinking and reasoning. In the end please create your own conclusion.
So here goes the questions:
- WHY DO WE DO WHAT WE DO?
- WHY DO WE FEEL WHAT WE FEEL?
- WHY DO WE BELIEVE WHAT WE BELIEVE?
Maybe you think I should add some questions with the same template, such as: “why do we love what we love?” or “why do we say what we say?” or else. We don’t need to replicate same question, do we? Although written with different words, the template is still the same: “why do we [verb] what we [verb]?”. I prefer to use that kind of fundamental question. I give only three questions, trying to be as concise as possible. I don’t put that three into one because that three questions represent the depth of the thinking with ascending order which makes number 3 as the deepest question.
Or maybe you think I should add some questions with different template that might feel more fundamental that the preceding. Stop it right there. Okay, let us discuss.
Why do we do what we do?
(You will understand the purpose of all this after finishing the reading. Just go on.)
Have you ever asked yourself that? If not, you should do it, now. The level one question can be expanded to these questions:
Why I go to school? Why I go to that kind of school? Why I go after that girl? Why I work with this kind of profession? Why I buy these expensive-yet-useless things? Why I speak so angrily to you? Why I drive my car instead of taking public transportation? Why I smoke that fancy cigarettes? Why I wear this funny wardrobe which may become obsolete in the next 2 years? Why I eat rice instead of potato? Or why spend my daily routine doing this stuff?
Why I prefer A than B?
Why I only put that one or two options in my list?
Why I have that kind of list of that kind of list? Why is that so? Why?
I can feel it. These are nonsense. Why should we spend so much time reading this stupid useless questions and trying to answer them? We might agree that we do what we do because we simply want to do it. Maybe we do it because we do not have any other choices. Maybe we have other choices but we chose to do it. In other words, we know what we are doing and we know why we do so.
Or, maybe we don’t.
Our decision-making mind is molded everyday by anything we receive by our senses from we were still children until we can no longer think. What we do, arguably stated, is the product from massive brainwash from our environment. We become a mere consumer of whatever the world give to us.
In business point of view, the industries want to sell things to you. They try their best and spend their best to change our mind that is to make us do what they want us to do: buy their products. In general point of view, we as human interact and share our values altogether. What we do is impossibly created by our independent decision.
We are the greatest duplicator or copier of others. Being truly unique doesn’t exist and will not ever exist in the future. We can not be completely different. We can not create new things to be one. Founders find old things that is newly known. Inventors only combine things that are already exists with ideas that also is the combination of old ideas. These are only examples that human can not really actively choose what we want to do or to be.
Without active thinking and reasoning we could be drawn or dragged to a certain direction by any person who is more active. You may say that this is about influence. The greatest influence of all may control the world. Half correct, but that person surely influenced first by other person or any set of values.
Therefore, without active filtering and reasoning we can be a loyal consumer of anything that is offered to us. We become weak and responsive mainly because we do not decide actively what we do.
Hey, I can listen to your voice. You think you are not a product of other’s mind. You do what you do because you actively choose what you want to do. You do it because you want to do it, not because they or someone wants to do it. You do what you love.
Thank you, and that response will lead us to number 2 question:
Why we feel what we feel?
So, we think that we are not trapped into any brainwash out there. We freely pick up things that we feel good. We choose A not because someone told me to choose A, we choose A plainly because it is good. Yes, reasons such as “it is good”, “i want it”, “it suits my needs” are perfect cue.
What if I say that what we feel is also the product?
In this case we go deeper into our mind and feeling. The set of questions in number one may change to this:
Why I want to go to school? Why I want to go to that kind of school? Why I want to go after that girl? Why I want to work with this kind of profession? Why I want to buy these expensive-yet-useless things? Why I want to speak so angrily to you? Why I want to drive my car instead of taking public transportation? Why I want to smoke that fancy cigarettes? Why I want to wear this funny wardrobe which may become obsolete in the next 2 years? Why I want to eat rice instead of potato? Or why want to spend my daily routine doing this stuff?
I want to do it. Then, why I want to do it? The question above “Why I want to speak so angrily to you?” would be better expressed as “Why I feel angry?”. Personally, this level of question come to me when I am so tired looking at debate in social media these days. People speak bad words to one another from different attributes. Fanatic people love A and hate B. They will become so angry when the opposite stand up. When they argue, they argue for real (as far as I can see). And, I wonder why is that so? Why the same impulse given to me not producing the same responses as they did?
Then, what is it that moves our emotion? Well this is not about what the key factors which affect our emotion. No, this is about why is that so. I stop taking business activity as example to prevent the question to be less general. If I am offended when someone say something negative that attacks my religion, or my country, or anything about me, I will be angry or sad or offended or else. Why I am angry can be reasonably answered that is because when he attacks my religion which is my identity, he attacks me also!
Religious people are so sensitive and responsive. Okay, at least the majority of them. If you are religious and you were just offended, then it is true. Let us move on. At this level, we do something because of our feeling. We choose to do it with our feelings. If our action is produced from our feelings, then where is the source of our feelings? Once again, this is not what we mainly discuss. It is about why we feel what we feel. Different cases of feelings may lead to different reasons. That is not the point anyway. Asking that question is the point.
Let us say I am a fanatic of A (in this case A may be a religion, idealism, lifestyle, mindset, community, social attributes, gang names, whatever) that hates B. I would be offended or angry if B’s people show up. What if my emotional tendency is used by others for benefit? What if our emotional reaction, whatever it may be, is a part of their intention? In this case, maybe a certain people wanted a war between two different groups. We fight to death for our feelings and they prosper for our lowly feelings. Sad truth.
If we passively react based on our feelings or emotions, then we, once again, may be a product of a well-planned scenario. While I only deliver example about anger, this happens as well as any other type of emotions such as: happy, lust, worry, satisfied, hungry, and so on.
(the question no 3 will be so heavy so that I will write it separately in a new post.)
~Did you wonder why you read this article?