Life owes us nothing

One of the major themes of recent thought has been the idea that life does not owe us anything. In consequence, we must take complete responsibility for ourselves. It is this lack of responsibility that causes people to feel separate from beauty. The origin of all excuse and complaint is the wish that such responsibility did not exist.

For example, I was in my apartment last night and there were many people making a lot of noise at 4am. Initially my thought was to be angry, but then I realized it was because I felt I had a right to their silence: that “social convention” gave me a reason to demand that they act a certain way.

However, we are all free to act as we wish, and if I cannot accept such freedom in others, I cannot accept it in myself. They are choosing to be loud, and they are free to do so as long as they accept the consequences. And I am free to act to stop them, or move away, or get my ear plugs – as long as I accept the consequences. There is no one to be angry with – if I accept the proposition that we all have complete freedom to act, and are at the same time responsible for those choices to no one but ourselves.

So if you want to murder someone, go ahead; as long as you’re willing to pay the price, you are free to choose that road, and everyone’s indignation and complaint will be their unwillingness to admit that such freedom is their’s too. Morality is not a straight jacket or a control; it is a tool to be used by the will for a more effective life.