Life is Just a Collection of Ideas

Another Day at the Office

Another Day at the Office

Everything about our lives from the job we have to the car we drive is an idea.  It is easy to overlook the fact that our lives are entirely a construct. Our particular existence has come about through ideas and structures that have evolved from the peculiarities of our society and relationships with others. Our lives are no more valid or correct than that of a rain forest tribe, Chinese laborer or global rockstar. Each country’s culture is just a collection of ideas that a group of people collectively follow and believe in.

Understanding that life is just the mass of our ideas, opens our eyes to the possibility of shaping our destinies in anyway we see fit. We are not fated to a house in the suburbs, with 2.3 children, a second or third spouse and two SUVs. We have been conditioned to uncritically accept the way life is. The only problem is that, that is not the way life has to be. It certainly doesn’t have to be that way, this way or any particularly way. We live in an age with the good fortune to create the life we want based on the ideas that make sense to us. You are your ideas.

What is work?
Is it life-time employment with a large international conglomerate? Or, is it freelancing your services online from anywhere in the world you may live?

What is a family?
Is it a married for life couple, with a stay-at-home mother and evenings in front of the TV? Or, is it a gay couple with an adopted third-world child?

What is war?
Is it remote bombing of an enemy you never see?  Or, is it bio-warfare spreading a deadly virus throughout the world with an attack at a large airport.

What is entertainment?
Is it gathering around the TV Sunday night to watch the hottest show on Television? Or, is it being able to download any show or movie ever made for free and watch it on your cell phone?

What is health care?
Is it long waits for mediocre and expensive treatments that are not even covered by your health care insurance? Or, is it medical tourism in countries like Guatemala, Hungary, Thailand and Singapore?

What is Education?
Is it a general university education for the elite until you are in your mid-twenties? Or, is it life-long learning from on-line universities and technical training schools?

What is society?
Is it the homogenous neighborhoods your parents grew up in, where everyone was of the same origin, liked the same food and spoke the same language? Or, is it an international melting pot of languages, cultures and ideas.

What is transportation?
Is it gas-guzzling cars with cheap oil polluting the environment? Or, is it shared electric cars, rented by the hour, powered by energy from windmill farms?

What is nationality?
Do you have to remain in your home country from birth to death? Or, can you be raised in one country, educated in another, work in another, vacation in another, and retire in yet another country?

Everything we take for granted as being normal in our current way of life is just an idea. And these ideas of life are changing dramatically at an increasing pace. Ideas are everything. What are your ideas?

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

One Response to Life is Just a Collection of Ideas

  1. Neil says:

    It’s amazing how travel can challenge our notions of basic concepts, that once seemed so certain. Spending time in different regions, or amongst different cultures, can affect your whole belief system. The idea of family, having travelled in East Africa; the motivation for marriage, as seen in Morocco; my concept of war, teaching refugees from Mozambique and Angola; my absence of patriotism, having lived away from my home country for so many years.

    But, I agree, you don’t even need to travel. Concepts that once seemed carved in stone are changing at an ever-increasing rate, even when we are largely standing still. As the world gets smaller, those changes gather even greater pace.

    One thing is certain. Those who are willing to embrace the changes going on around us are more likely to thrive than those who see them as an affront to long-held beliefs…

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