If meaning in life is self-created,

if there’s no “meaning of life” except what we create for ourselves,

could you just decide “the meaning of life is to be really good at Super Mario Bros”, dedicate yourself fully to it, and be satisfied?

(I pose this argument as a straw man; it feels like there’s something wrong with it. do help me figure out what it is.)


Adam McJaffe -

I recently filled out this kind of wonky worksheet related to my “values,” and what exactly I wanted out of life, with sections for career, family, giving back to the community, spirituality, etc. etc.
It was the first time I think I ever really wrote down exactly what I wanted. Whenever I wonder what I should be doing, I look back at that and see how closely I’m sticking to the things that matter to me.

I don’t judge. If somebody’s goal is to be great at SMB, that’s cool, but I don’t think there’s a single person who truly has no higher aspirations in life. At least get good at something complicated, like Chrono Trigger.

Dan -

I wish I could fill out such a worksheet! I don’t know what I want in all those categories. But talking with Daniel Dewey about this, we figured that maybe your values exist already and you have to discover them, not decide them. (in which case this Mario Bros example obviously wouldn’t work.)

Man, if you could get all the endings in Chrono Trigger, that would be a pretty high aspiration.

Brian -

self-created != self-decided

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