One morning, I was chatting to a friend about what drive my life, in particular when I make decisions. Two words that emerged was ‘Safety’ and ‘Existence’. No doubt that philosophy textbook, I have recently finished reading, is influencing my perspectives at moment.
So what does these two words ‘safety’ and ‘existence’?
These are the words that would influence my decision making in life.
Then, my friend asked me which word is more important to me. It was interesting exploration because for me these two words mean same thing, almost like existence equals to safety, and without safety there is no existence.
As we unpack further, I am making my decisions based on ‘safety’ or probably more ‘assurance that this decision is safe to make’ rather than considering my ‘existence’. However, I do what I do because of ‘existence’. I do what I do because I want to ‘assure my existence’ in this world. Yes, I can see the influence of that philosophy textbook (Being and Time), written by Martin Heidegger, behind my two drivers of life.
The purpose of life is not to be happy.
It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Well, this is where I found I am going around in a circle. My view of any entity is that nothing can be explained or exist as a sole entity because entities are somehow interconnected and interrelated. I use ‘safety’ as a short-term driver to make decision in that given moment but I use ‘existence’ as long-term driver to move forward in life.
The course of our lives is determined by how we react – what we decide and what we do – at the darkest of times.
The nature of that response determines a person’s true worth and greatness.Daisaku Ikeda
My friend’s following question was whether I used them in a resourceful or unresourceful way. I had a bit of difficulty differentiating between these two words because, for me, everything I do returns to the word ‘my existence’. Regardless of my decision and its associated outcomes, I am committed to take all the responsibilities. I will learn from all opportunities which will contribute to my growth that lead to assuring my existence.
The person who lives life fully, glowing with life’s energy, is the person who lives a successful life.Daisaku Ikeda
Then we discussed about whether ‘safety’ and/or ‘existence’ lead to the feeling of satisfaction in life. For me, proofing that ‘I exist’ in mine and others life is one of the purpose in my life. Obviously, I don’t need others to acknowledge or valid my existence but it is joyful experience to share my life with those who are important in my life. Having that choice of sharing my life with those who I want to share is already a proof of my ‘existence’. This is probably what I see as a successful life.
When I reflect about this chat, I remembered someone once said “language is an art”. Everyone will have given different meaning to a word. I couldn’t comprehend meaning of ‘significance in life’. When my friend explained to me what she meant by ‘significance in life’, it meant ‘existence’ in my life. Sometime, it seems like we are playing around different words but every word has different meaning depending on each person.
What are the drives in your life?
How these drivers determining the course of your life?
Does these drives take you to where you want to be?