Musings on the Mission - Thoughts on the Best Life

January 2023

Life is but a series of missions. The top mission of life’s myriad missions must be to venture closer to the eternal truth: the meaning of all the missions. From the teachings of Plato, Nietzsche, Ray Dalio, and others, that eternal true goal seems more and more to be to live life as it was meant to be lived in the Socratic way. This means doing what is natural and what comes naturally while sharing that which one was given out of pure chance.

Throughout Plato’s Gorgias, Socrates debates with interlocutors Callicles and Glaucon about the natural and, thus, best way to live. While the two sides take differing views on this natural way, the understood premise is that one should try to live in accordance with what is natural. What is natural is that which comes naturally. This does not infer vice like sloth but rather those things typically described as work. One’s gift is that thing typically described as work that comes naturally, not without effort but with fulfillment.

To share one’s gifts makes humanity more “gifted” in the sense that more people can share in the gifts that have been granted to one person fully out of chance. This way of living through giving fosters within the giver a sense of Nietzschean power (power is synonymous with skill in the Nietzschean definition, as opposed to control or domination) in that by doing what he or she is naturally good at (a gift) and sharing this with others, the giver can feel the effects of his/her power and watch this power grow and evolve. Ray Dalio writes in Principles about this idea of the pursuit of personal evolution being a human’s calling. This pursuit of improving on the gifts one has been given is joy. This pursuit doesn’t lead to joy; it is joy. It’s the pursuit of a higher calling of service through one’s gifts that creates joy for the pursuer and makes the world a more gifted place through the pursuit.

Humans can sense (hopefully earlier in life than later) how it is they have been gifted both externally (family, birthplace, etc.) and internally (proclivities, talents, etc.). Once one grasps these gifts, the way to live naturally, and therefore the right way to live, is to humbly accept that they were gifts from some higher power and live in a way that shares/exercises those gifts. Life itself is a gift made to be shared. With the death of any living thing, its corpse decomposes and gives life to something new. To share in the gift of life is to share the gifts of life. This must be the mission, or at least part of it.