Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously. ― Tom Robbins
For the philosopher R.S Peters, the fundamental question of human existence is “Why do this rather than that?” But a deeper analysis of this question reveals another seemingly different, but profoundly related question: “Why want this rather than that?” In other words, why are certain actions (or things) more valuable to us than others?
For Pam Grout’s fourth energy experiment, she finally gets down to the brass tacks of manifesting. In this experiment, she asks readers to spend the next 48 hours intending to receive from the universe an object or event that they desire.
But any time I contemplate the question regarding what I actually want to manifest in my life I am always confronted with an uncontrollable regress toward some “end in itself”. Said differently, I cannot stop asking myself why I value the thing that I think I want. Do I want money? Sure, but why? Because it brings security. But why care about security? Because it frees my mind from worry so I can pursue other activities I enjoy. But why do I want to pursue enjoyable activities? Ummm….
When I first read Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics I was struck by how it seemed to address this fundamental question of existence in such a satisfactory way. For Aristotle the ultimate “end in itself” is eudaimonia, the Greek word for “happiness” or “flourishing”. Eudaimonia is not instrumental to some other good, but is something sought for its own sake. We want to be happy because we want to be happy. That’s it. That’s the end of the line.
So if all “goods”, material or otherwise, lead toward the ultimate end of happiness, then why not skip straight to the point and ask the universe for happiness instead? This is a question that I think Tom Robbins addresses in the quotation above. Sure, a person can certainly ask for happiness if that is what works for her. But maybe it is also okay to stop overthinking it and just play. Maybe it’s cool if we just explore the wonderful weirdness of reality without spending so much time contemplating what we “should” do.
With that I have decided to stop taking myself “so damn seriously” and play along with Grout’s fourth energy experiment. I love to travel, so I am asking the universe for a trip, big or small, to someplace I will enjoy. I can’t wait to see where this goes!