Dear E & V,
One of the sadder things in life you’ll witness is people using superficial solutions for very deep problems.
I’m writing this after reading about another gun-wielding mass murderer out in Colorado. The results will be the same: public outcry and then nothing will happen and the shootings will keep happening.
Because both sides are offering only Band-Aids and not actually looking at the problem…
One side wants to put more guns in the hands of good civilians so that they can stop bad people with guns — despite the fact that the good people only usually stop the bad people after the bad people have killed someone. The other side wants to ban guns — despite the fact that people have and will continue to kill people even without guns.
The issue isn’t the tool that is used, the issue is that people feel the need to kill others in the first place. Giving away guns is a Band-Aid. Banning guns is a Band-Aid. We should be asking why people are feeling the need to commit these mass shootings in the first place.
I’m using that extreme example to illustrate a point:
People have a tendency to latch on to easy or “obvious” answers rather than asking tough questions about the problems and implementing effective long term solutions.
You will do this at some point in your life, it’s just human nature. I did with my career.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do for money, so I just thought I’d take whatever job sounded cool or paid well.
That was my Band-Aid for my deeper search for meaning in my life. I didn’t ask myself why I needed a job to make money, or if having a cool fun job would bring me long term happiness. I was content with the obvious answer — just find a job that’s fun — instead of looking for a way to add meaning to my life outside of a job.
Some other examples of Band-Aids in my life and other people’s that you may encounter:
- Drinking alcohol to fight loneliness or social anxiety or the fear of your own mortality.
- Buying something — a car, a trip abroad, a new pair of shoes — to make yourself feel better about the emptiness in your life.
- Watching TV because your own life is boring.
- Taking religious scripts literally because you’re afraid to question reality and your own identity.
Let this letter be a reminder to you to have the courage ask the questions that matter, the ones that other people are afraid to ask:
Why am I feeling this way? Will this solution last forever, or is it just temporary? Will it solve the whole problem or only part of it?
Look for the deeper meaning in the problem you’re experiencing. Look for the answers nobody wants to give because they’re too hard or too uncomfortable.
Life is too short to be living a lie because you’re afraid of the truth.
Know thyself and you shall be set free.
I am a Father, Husband, Cowboy Philosopher, Volunteer Firefighter, and Professional Dilettante. I am nothing and I am everything. But when it comes to our relationship: I only wish you wonder and happiness.