Chapter 6 The secret to prosperity

第六章 成功的秘密

6. The secret to prosperity

Prosperity has its own special glow, doesn’t it? It is hard to feel prosperous, however, when you have just failed to get the position you counted on and you are down to your last few “shekels.”1 To be fair, it is difficult to define what this idea means. To one person it may mean copious amounts of money, to another a wonderful family, to yet another, spiritual erudition. Dr. Frederick Tonnies (1855-1936) is considered one of the fathers of sociology. He broke civilization into two basic groups: Gemeinschaft or the Common good, in my parlance, and Gesellschaft or individualism.2 In the broadest sense, it gives us two approaches of living. I ask, which one would make me feel the most prosperous?

In keeping with my philosophy of self-reliance, I am convinced that all answers lie within. I repeat this ad nauseam, or non-stop, because we are constantly exposed to external stimuli. From the moment that I first awaken until I sleep, I live “in the world.” It behooves me, therefore, to constantly remind myself that everything is emanating from my consciousness. I must take an idea or an experience into my “belief system” for it to become real (to me). I felt ugly until I was 16 years, then a girl told me I was good-looking. True or not, this occurrence changed my perception of me.

How do I overcome the societal programming that I receive up until the time that I become an adult and beyond (these pre-conceptualized ways of seeing and functioning in the world, the traditional view if you will), and what is in my own self interest: my passions and desires, both physically and spiritually? Historically, if someone were different, with a different ethos, that individual could expect the full opprobrium of the family and perhaps even the state: The Salem Witch Trials3 come to mind. After an initial burst of youthful exuberance, most people settled into a life much like their parents and grandparents. The American, European and British aristocracies teased at different lifestyles, Lord Byron4 would be an example. Eventually, however, everyone conformed or died in ignominy. I am always reminded of the dandy Oscar Wilde.5 After his trial and subsequent incarceration for his sexuality, he never saw his two sons again. But as so many pundits have noted, the Internet has now radically altered our human existence and the employment landscape. That being said, those in positions of power over us, the state, the all-pervasive social media and even our own loving parents just don’t get it: they don’t want change, it is too frightening, and we want to be free. I now have exposure to unlimited knowledge which exposes the lies.

I don’t want to live a pointless life, save lots of money, retire and then just die. I want to live a fulfilling and adventurous existence and take some risks. Sadly, there appears to be no common ground, now or in the future, between these opposing camps, both with harshly delineated positions. The unfortunate, perhaps even lonely, route is to be true to oneself and “stick to your own path.” Failing to be independent, we must, at the very least accept that, even if we did not spawn the idea, we must take 100% ownership of it. It is not the fault of our parents, family or friends when the idea later is exposed to be fallacious or poorly conceived: we made the final decision. A stable position with the government is the ideal job: it is mostly boring and thus not true. I am always free to be me: but, my life is 100% my responsibility.

If we keep pushing and hoping, in the end, it will all work out. The critical thing is to enjoy the charms of life as we are transiting through her.

6. 成功的秘密

成功有它本身特殊的榮耀,可不是嗎?然而,當你沒有得到期望的職位,而你身上只剩下一點點錢1時,你很難感受到成功。平心而論,我們很難去定義成功。對有些人而言,它可能代表取之不盡的金錢,對另外一個人來說可能是指家庭美滿,或是精神生活的富足。斐迪南・滕尼斯博士(1855-1936)被視為是社會學創建者之一,他將文明社會分為兩類:一種是「禮俗社會」,或用我的話來說,就是重視共同利益的社會;另一種是「法理社會」,就是重視個人主義的社會。2廣義而言,這種分類給我們兩種生活模式。我要問,哪一種模式讓我覺得我的人生是成功的呢?

我抱持自給自足的人生觀,相信所有問題的解答都存在我們自己的心中。我反覆不停思考,因為我們不斷接收外在刺激。從我醒來那一刻起直到我入睡為止,我就活在「這種世界」之中。因此,我必須不斷提醒我自己,所有事情都源於自己的意識。某個想法或經驗對我而言是否真實,取決於我個人的思考模式。在16歲之前,我總覺得自己長得很醜,直到有位女孩說我長得很好看的那天為止。究竟是真是假不重要,這件事改變了我對自己的看法。

我應該如何突破從小到大我接受的社會規範?(這麼說好了,社會規範就是傳統觀念,它讓你用預設的角度來看待事物並影響你處世的方式)而我本身在物質與精神層面上渴望追求的是什麼呢?從歷史看來,如果有人與眾不同,有著不同的性格,那麼此人便可能遭受來自家庭甚至國家的責難。我能想到的一個例子是塞勒姆審巫案3。多數人在年少輕狂後,就會像他們的父母和祖父母一樣回歸普通人的生活。美國、歐洲和英國的貴族都取笑與眾人不同的生活方式,拜倫勳爵4即是一例。然而到最後,每個人若不遵循大眾的生活模式,就會死於恥辱。說到這,我總想起風流倜儻的奧斯卡‧王爾德5。他因同性戀受審並且被監禁之後,就再也沒見過他的兩個兒子。但正如很多專家表示,網際網路如今已徹底改變了人類的生存和就業方式。話雖如此,掌權者、國家、無所不在的社群媒體,甚至深愛我們的父母都沒有意識到這一點。這是因為他們不想要改變現況,對改變心存恐懼,而我們卻想獲得自由。有了網路,我能取得無限的知識,用來揭穿阻礙我們獲得自由的謊言。

我不要過著一個沒有意義的人生,存很多錢、退休,然後死去。我想要有一個豐富且充滿冒險的人生。可悲的是,無論是現在或是未來,兩個對立的陣營,也就是在追求安逸與冒險的人生理念之間,存在著楚河漢界,雙方找不到共同點。在這不幸甚至是孤單的旅途中,我們要對自己保持真誠,並且「堅持自己的道路。」即便我們無法獨立自主的過生活,我們至少必須接受,即使某個想法不是出於自己的意思,我們還是要百分之百對自己的決定負責。就算這個決定是錯誤的或是思考不周,也不是我們的父母、家人或朋友的錯。是我們自己做出這個最後的決定。一般人認為在公家機關上班是理想的工作,但這樣的工作多半是無聊的,也不是我真正的想做的。我總是有為自己做決定的自由,但是我的人生百分之百是我自己的責任。

如果我們持續努力和懷抱希望,最終我們將獲得成功。關鍵在於過程中,我們應該要盡情享受人生的迷人之處。