Philosophy Friday: What Matters
There is a remote possibility that one or two people from the year 1900 are still alive today. On the other hand, every single person who lived in 1800 is dead. It’s how the world works. Everyone dies. Look around you—there will come a time when the people you see alive right now, going about their business, will be dead—including you.
Therefore, does it matter that this person was rude to you? Does it matter that your parents want you to choose a different career? Does it matter that you didn’t get the promotion? Does it matter that you lost a lot of money? No, none of that counts for much.
At the same time, these other things don’t matter either: That you’re good-looking, got a million followers, or are the founder of a billion-dollar startup. Nice-to-haves, for sure, but ultimately futile, indifferent.
He who fears death will never do anything worthy of a living man.”
Is there anything that does matter; that is important? Ancient philosophers thought there was. But it wasn’t about how many possessions one had. What mattered was our character. Are we contributing? Are we making this a better existence for all of us? Do we have courage—living how we want and seizing life’s opportunities? Are we treating all people with humility and respect?
If we can do that, we know what matters.
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.”
— Viktor Frankl