Our species has evolved the ability to form language and subsequently the ability to self-reflect. (This unique human phenomenon does not apply to humans that lack the usual human capacity to learn and think in language or in a usual human capacity.)
This essay is about the "human condition" and why our unique evolutionary path has lead us to a condition of inherent suffering that cannot be avoided. It also gives the reader the key tool to ease the suffering for future generations.
OUR unique biological evolutionary path has brought Homo Sapiens to a miserable state. We not only suffer, but we are also aware of our suffering. There are three broad categories to the human condition which all humans are unfortunately born with and cannot escape. The first has to do with our mere need to survive. We must work to survive in some form. (In modern Westernized societies, this takes the form of production/consumption and exchange to secure physiological comfort).
The second broad category is the need to escape the emotional state of boredom. Our complex neural processors (the brain/mind) cannot be fully satisfied with just maintaining physical metabolic functions and comfort levels (eating, staying warm, finding shelter, etc...). We humans must have a "goal" of some kind to keep our big brains occupied. In other words, after we have completed all the tasks required to survive (in our individual cultural context) our neural processors have a propensity to eventually get bored. This propensity to get bored is universal and cross-cultural for all human societies and individuals.
The third category is the never ending entertainment that we constantly conjure and create to escape the baseline boredom of existence. Due to our propensity to get bored after (or even during) the process of survivng, our big brains, must formulate mini-goals and diversions to keep us occupied and entertained so as not to remain bored. These mini-goals can get more complex and convoluted in an ever increasing attempt to keep our brains in a state of non-boredom.
The boredom that I describe is not just a temporary state of non-interest but part of a larger emotion connected with a deep despair of ennui (word-weariness). We try to cope with this unique human quality of ennui, but its always there, almost laughing at us in a way, forcing us to formulate a new goal to focus our time and attention on. We must place [insert any contrived goal] to give ourselves a meaning and direction. This could be any of the infinite activities we humans do to allay this baseline boredom. These contrived goals can be endless unto infinitum. Watching TV, telling stories, developing theories, dancing around the fire, mythology, religious expression and practice, art, sports, reading, planning on becoming a hermit, making furniture, starting a business, reflecting on the meaning of words, etc.. ANYTHING that one perceives as one's personal goal at any given time can be a contrived goal.
The reader might be thinking (in a hint of facetiousness), "I am an erudite middle-class person, well versed in your brand of thinking. You are just rehashing trivial, existentialist garbage (almost French (sounding [yuk!]). I am past this juvenile stage in my life that you seem to dwell in. This stuff simply sounds like typical 'teen angst' and offers nothing profound. You are describing stuff that has already been written about a million times over. I understand, it sounds similar Albert Camus' book The Myth of Sisyphus which told us to embrace the absurdity of our human attempt to find 'meaning' in a universe that does not 'care' about our longing for 'meaning, etc.. What you are saying has all been said before... go back to your fantasy world you pseudo-intellectual wannabe beatnik and leave the blog world alone!"
But the argument you make is not so open and shut you "oh so mature know-it-all middle-classer who is now beyond all speculation on existential thinking ;-)". The "absurd" that Camus discusses is just that…absurd. His attempt at telling us life is livable as long as we embrace the absurd cannot be maintained for long since we still must contend with survival, boredom, and contrived mini-goals. I don't believe any real seeker into the nature of humanity can read Camus and truly be satisfied with his premise that we can simply find comfort in the absurd. You must have had some moments of genuine ennui in your contented-middle- class-know-it-all- past-the- juvenile- stage-of- asking- existential- questions- life that led you to believe he is sugar coating the human experience with a poetic but false analogy to the Myth of Sisyphus .
As stated throughout this piece, the human condition is suffering and this is due to the inherent need to survive, baseline boredom, and the contrived goals to escape from the baseline boredom. All of these categories are the common experience of humanity and comprise the inherent suffering of the human condition. To rephrase the situation, wee cannot "just be". We must continually strive for physiological survival and escape from the baseline boredom of existence. This idea may have a ring of familiarity to it, as it sounds very much like Buddhist philosophy. Buddhism does have great insight into the fact of the suffering of existence. Buddhism's first and second Noble Truths are a testament to this . However, as with all religion and supernatural beliefs, It is the mystical elements that I have contention with. Concepts such as reincarnation, karma, and nirvana are unnecessary and do not provide a real solution to the suffering. The only way to truly end the suffering that is inherent in the human condition is to not procreate. Procreation perpetuates the suffering to a future generation.
Please help end future suffering by not procreating!