Human beings long for a sense of connection and adventure. We tend to value experiences that are real and make us feel something over the uninteresting and boring, even if they’re extremely painful to get through at the time.
For many people who live in advanced civilized societies, the typical daily struggles for food, shelter and immediate safety are no longer an issue. However, the people still yearn for that sense of connection and adventure. People need to feel a sense of excitement, a sense of purpose, a sense that life is more than just a set of meaningless, repetitive, robotic motions in the name of self-preservation.
People feel unfulfilled, and long to feel raw emotions again. They feel unsatisfied because they feel disconnected from the grand parade of life, but they don’t know exactly why. So they nitpick and search for increasingly trivial things to be upset about, which seems so unnatural that a set of memes mocking this phenomenon appears all over the Internet.
I think the solution lies in putting things in their proper perspective. The world is not going to end if the barista put half and half into your coffee instead of skim milk. It’s not a big deal. Drink it and be happy. It doesn’t matter if the person down the street has heated leather seats and a fountain in their apartment lobby that you can’t afford. It’s unwise to make this vain competition the focus of one’s life, because it’s a competition that you can never win. Someone will always have more unnecessary material goods and more impressive personal accolades.
The solution is to remove ourselves from this childish game, and stop competing with everyone else. If we want life to feel like it has a real purpose, then we need to find something real to focus on.
Something real like child poverty.
Or human rights.
Cleaning up the environment.
Reducing others’ pain and making people feel happy.
If we feel disconnected from life, it’s because our life goals are disconnected from the satisfaction of other living beings. To feel something real again, we need to recognize that life is bigger than us, and utilize our efforts for something bigger than we are.