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The Struggle

The Struggle

July 13, 2019 9:30 amComments are Disabled

Throughout time great philosophers from many different walks of life have shared similar advice: the struggle is what makes life worth living.

Buddha famously taught that life is struggle. Marcus Aurelius wrote that hard work is what defines humans vs all other animals. Karl Marx of course defined all of history through the lens of class struggle.

All three men, and many other people throughout time, have lived in extremely different eras, cultures, and geographies, but came to more or less the same conclusion about humans and our role in the world. Why?

My guess is, other than the fact that humans and human nature haven’t really changed in hundreds of thousands of years, that they’re on to something about the world and our place in it. If I may be so bold as to summarize all of their teachings briefly: humans are born and live as creatures doomed for death — for many thousands of years, an early and painful death. To live in a perpetual state of destitution is only to live out one’s natural destiny for a human and the obscure creatures that we are. On the other hand, to live any life that creates good cheer for one’s self or for others, that improves one’s health and wealth, that creates good in the world, is to rise above our base nature, and to do what no other animal has the ability and capacity to do.

This what the Struggle is: it’s our resistance to the fate nature throws at us to destroy us. And in response, we always have a choice. To sit back and let the universe win is the easy choice. To stand up and create our own meaning, build our own environment, define our own happiness—these things require struggle. This is why so many great philosophers have emphasized the Struggle, and this is why you must, too. Because to ignore it, or to be defeated by it, is to give up on what makes life worth living.

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