I grew up in a tier-three city of China where the society was quite traditional and completely the opposite of international, at least when I was little. As soon as I registered my account on Facebook, this legendary website was blocked by the great firewall, together with many other channels that people may acquire information abroad. The education I had, apart from science and English, was a complete disaster. It was nothing but a brainwashing tool of the CCP dictatorship. Had I not discovered Arthur Schopenhauer in my spare time and developed an interest in the true philosophy that they never teach in Chinese schools, I might have become just another pitiful young lady who gets married early and right now suffering the awful relationship with mother-in-law and the torture from the offspring.
I had been ‘rebellious’ ever since. I left a well-paid job the day right after my 30th birthday and went on a journey of exploration on the other side of the world. This journey has changed my life. The unusual experiences and amazing people I met on the road have given me a whole new perspective to see this world. Many people have been complicated, in life and in mind. The return to simplicity is a magical pill to live a happier life in this complicated reality. Climb out of the mud, dance with shackles, and fly when you break free. It is the baptism of rebirth under the warm and serene sunshine.
Life is so fragile, so precious and meaningless. However, although cosmologically speaking, it is meaningless, at least we can think of some interesting ways to ‘wait for death’. In a sense, hedonism is the only mode of existence that suits the era because it is detached from any era. Hedonism does not necessarily mean drinking, drugs, sex, etc. By definition, ‘Psychological or motivational hedonism claims that only pleasure or pain motivates us. Ethical or evaluative hedonism claims that only pleasure has worth or value, and only pain or displeasure has disvalue or the opposite of worth’ (<Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy>). We make all the choices based on what we feel most comfortable with, all things considered. Combining with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a possible method to gain the most pleasure is to give yourself a mission or missions that you recognize, and you will enjoy the process of trying to achieve it and even happier when it’s achieved.
The mission I give myself is environment protection. However, it is something achievable only when the power of the whole of humankind is united and triggered. The various restrictive measures of humankind since ancient times, including regulations and systems, have been established by the privileged with the purpose of safeguarding their own interests. Therefore, the equalities between humans and humans, and between humans and nature, are fundamentally denied by the current condition of human society.
We arrogantly assume what we see is the whole reality. Our attitudes and actions are all based on these assumptions. Our cognition, which also have their priori causes, determine our thoughts and actions. Many people ‘imagine’ what is ‘good’ for nature without going out to know nature. It is actually a hegemony that people impose their thoughts on nature under the self-righteous philanthropy. They think humans and the animals get along peacefully is harmony. But this perspective itself violates the laws of nature. Do animals want to get along with humans ‘peacefully’?
The bright side is, if you treat the world gently, you are more likely to be treated gently. The mirror effect works not only between humans but also between humans and nature. The fact that human beings are living by the grace of all species is gradually forgotten after living in the cities for a long time. People often lose themselves in the crowd, and it is good to live in isolation occasionally. Let the restlessness rest and concentrate on thinking. In the isolated deep jungle, I exposed myself to a lot of challenges, first physically, and then mentally. Then I got used to it. Then I started to love it. I realized it was such a luxury to have so much peaceful time every day for reading, thinking, and writing, apart from learning so much about nature so deeply carved in my memory. Then I came back, and I miss it.
Books are another major source of happiness and strength to my mind. The starvation of the mind is equally unbearable as the starvation of the physical body. I believe one who craves knowledge and / or enjoys reading is never bored alone. Reading and traveling are perfect supplements for each other. The combination of both forms a more comprehensive knowledge structure. Both of them are the main pleasures in the context of my hedonism.
In this era, there are many people yearn for freedom, and many crave to be ‘on the road’. But yearnings and cravings are of no use. Those who are not free in mind will never be free even if their physical bodies are on the road. Those who are free in mind will always be free even if they are imprisoned. The so-called ‘on the road’ for most people is nothing but something cool to do. Even if they did it, it doesn’t mean anything. When they are back to reality, they return to the same old person as they have always been. Those who deliberately pursue freedom will not gain freedom. Those who are truly free are inherently free.
I am deeply grateful for all the amazing friends I have. There were times during this journey when I questioned about doing environment protection as a life mission. But the support of all these wonderful people has reassured its value and strengthened my determination. You know, there’s that silly saying ‘We’re born alone and we die alone’ – it’s nonsense. We’re surrounded at birth and surrounded at death. It is in between that we’re alone (quote Tom Rachman). We are alone. But we can be alone together.
Our friend Chomsky said: If you assume that there is no hope, and you guarantee there is no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.
- If we try to do something, there might be nothing. But if we don’t even try, sure there’s nothing
- Yes, then we try
<Me and Myself> coming soon on Amazon…