Dear Lana,

I was thinking about how strange our lives our lives are. You learn as much as you can for the first third of your life in school, and then you work for the rest of your life until you die. You still learn, of course, but there is a sort of necessity that work has that education does not. You need to work to survive. If you stop working, you stop making money. When you stop making money, you cease to survive.

In Civilization and its Discontents, Freud marks the transition between hunter-gatherer societies to agrarian societies as being the point in time when we surrendered our happiness. In many ways, I disagree with this characterization. It’s not terrific to live in our current society. But it was also not great living in a hunter-gatherer society. Your life is still dependent on forces outside of yourself. If there was a hurricane in Philly, I still have a couple weeks of dried pasta and uncooked rice stored in my basement to sustain myself. If there was a hurricane in Philly and I were a hunter-gatherer, then I would be dead.

At every point in time, humans needed some means to sustain their existence. Staying still meant death, and people need to do things in order to continue their existence.

Since I don’t really like doing things, that naturally makes me unfit for society. In society, you still need to do things in order to lay claim on life. But, at the same time, it’s also not as if I particularly like not doing things either. Being bored is a pretty bad sensation, and I try to do things that prevent me from being bored. It seems that a lot of moving forward in life is a balance of between wanting to do things and wanting to not be bored. On balance, it seems that life is still best lived doing things, even though it is required that things are done in order to live.

The wheels on the bus go round and round. Until the bus crashes and the wheels stop. That’s death. I suppose that death doesn’t need to be that violent. Not every death is a brain aneurysm or a heart attack. There are slow deaths, like cancer or AIDS, more aptly described as a series of malfunctions that lead up to the bus stop working. One way or another, the bus stops moving, and the stoppage is eternal. There would be nothing to do anymore. You cannot do anything when you’re dead. Once we were alive, then we die, then it doesn’t matter if we want to do anything or if we are bored anymore.