I became inspired to flesh out this idea of “The nobler the aim, the better your life,” which I heard from a man named Jordan Peterson. He is a brilliant clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, and the person whom I owe this inspiration to.
In this talk he discussed an important concept of the game of life that most of us do not consider. What he brilliantly states is that the game itself is ruled by how we are constructed neurophysiologically, and that we don’t experience any positive emotions unless we have some type of aim that we can see ourselves progressing towards. But after we attain that objective, the game ends and we must come up with another game. So this means that the attainment of the objective can’t possibly be the thing that drives us because when our primary objective is attained, the entire game collapses. Human beings are weird creatures in that sense because we are more activated by having an aim and moving towards it, then we are by attaining it. But in conjunction with that aim, we need an interpretation.
When we are young we are constantly told not to lie, not to steal, and to be a good person; what these inevitably become, are our interpretation for how it is that we should achieve our aims, and a compass that reveal to us the one’s that are worth working towards. But why should we not lie and steal, and twist the fabrics of reality to help us reach our short-term aims? Why not do it? Well, see it this way; without a noble aim, you risk destabilizing yourself and your very being into a chaotic frenzy. Without a noble aim and a solid interpretation of what that means, you risk achieving nothing but shallow, trivial pleasures, that don’t sustain you. This is not ideal because life is too difficult. Its complexities bring forth the potential for trials and tribulations that will test and push you to your physical, emotional, and spiritual limits. Without a noble aim how can you withstand all of that? You can’t, and you risk putting yourself in a state of desperation that is part of the recipe for bringing you from bad to worse. A noble aim is thus necessary and something that we cannot live without.
Jordan Peterson calls this ‘noble aim’ the “bread that people cannot live without.” It is the aim that forces you to pay attention, to speak properly, to make a better world, to bring value, to confront chaos, etc. Build yourself up into something that can withstand the tragedy of being without being corrupt. This may be a confusing idea to some, but it is one that I believe is worth pondering over, and sharing.