The Puzzle of Life
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | March 2013
Life is complex, not easily described in words. True wisdom comes from accepting the messiness in the unknowable world.
We want concrete answers—defined problems with clear resolutions. Some questions are answered with simplicity; many are not. Professional marketers coax us with simple designed paths to succeed—invest this way, behave that way. Because that is what we want. Make it simple, stupid. Sometimes this is helpful; but not perfect. Success is complex. A fail-proof algorithmic equation doesn’t exist—flourishing isn’t guaranteed. Success is very subjective. Experts argue over the definition of the end goal whether it is health, happiness or flourishing. We often engage in self-improvement programs without knowing the program designer’s definition of success. He may not even know. The only goal may be to sell the product you just purchased.
No algorithm solves the problem of flourishing. We need a more open and flexible approach to life. We must experiment with various possibilities to devise novel solution. This approach to life begins at birth and ends at death, continuously tinkering and adjusting.
Many proclaim divine discovery—happiness, they proclaim, is simple. With cute, catchy sayings, they market simplicity, ignoring the complex realities of living. When we blindly follow a philosophy, even one built on a foundation of truth, we stray from an essential characteristic required for growth. We must take responsibility for our lives. Mindfully examining new programs for effectiveness. Self-empowerment is a product of choice—not resignation to outer forces. We will constantly encounter unproven simplicities, tempting our departure from the difficult paths of complexity.
Any book, course, fb posting, or belief system that boils human happiness to a simple algorithmic solution must be evaluated with healthy skepticism. Ideas may be helpful, based on scientifically proven theories, but we still must work to integrate them into our unique experience. Sometimes new ideas don’t fit, and we must continue our search. Join with me in this heroic journey of fulfillment. I don’t have the answers. I, like others, am biased by my experiences of pleasure and pain. Tinker and adjust my views as you experiment. See how each piece fits into your individual puzzle life.