Why Do Anything?

September 22nd 2016

The story is a fable, but its main idea — that a thing’s ideal state is before it comes into existence, that it is better to not be born — is equal parts terrifying and uncanny, especially today, when progress and productivity are practically worshiped.

This is an interest piece, especially as I substitute in the things I build daily at a large tech company, where nothing is permanent and everything is in a state of iteration. I find myself disagreeing wholeheartedly with the idea that to not build something is better; that nothingness is perfection.

For me, to build and create is a worthwhile pursuit in and of itself. To solve problems and exert energy in the pursuit of making the lives of others just a small bit better justifies itself, time and time again.

The decay of material things that time inevitably brings is a force worth fighting. And to fight that battle makes me admire, even more, those who have built anything that continues to stand strong against the test of time.

Reading further:

Idleness, as we know, has a bad rap in Western culture, but it can be a philosophical experience in its own right.

This struck me, because I'm wholly influenced by Western culture, and I wonder if my thinking is so betrayed by my surroundings that I'm unable to distinguish a better path.

But then:

It pains us unbearably to realize that, for all our good intentions, we are agents of degradation, that instead of creating something that stays whole and incorruptible, we by our very doing make it 'perishable and mortal'...

I would rather build and fall prey to the decay of time than to idle away in the perfection of that which doesn't exist, and never have made a difference in people's lives.

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