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Existence, Necessity and Potential

Updated: Feb 22

A gallent man smoking

Let me begin this article by asking you a strange question: Are you a bodybuilder? If not, why aren't you a bodybuilder? After all, your muscles are capable of great feats if trained hard and regularly enough. Should you ignore your muscles' potential to grow, you will be less physically strong and, thus, have average strength at best, if not less than average.

This thing I call the Bodybuilder Argument is something that can be applied to literary anything that is related to just about anything that can have its potential extracted, and it is commonly believed that this potential is necessary for execution.

In simpler words, if I was born with reproductive organs and I can use them to reproduce and bring children into the world, where is the necessity of this existence? An existence that forces me to use said organs for said purpose? After all, just because you can have a bodybuilder's body doesn't mean you must have it.

What difference is there, in things such as reproduction, higher education, getting a driver's license, marrying, enlisting in the military, and so on? You can do these things, but even if you should do them, there is, ultimately, no existential motive or being that forces you to do them.

Therefore, let us not, in any way, confuse potential and recommendations, with direct, concise orders. Orders that tell us we must or mustn't do things. Why do we succumb to conformity at all times? We often fall into conformity because we fear what others will think of us.

In the end, the fear of many is the fear of being a "klumnik", a being that hasn't done anything significant or recommended by their society. I will admit, that I, too, had this fear. However, I believe it was minor in its role. Nonetheless, when you come to terms with the fact, that once you're an adult, you don't owe anything to anyone. Only then can you realize your freedom, not only from the law, but from the norms as well. I'm not mentioning ethics because they are mostly your own. A self-given restraint.

The only necessary thing in the world is survival. Once we fail at it, we cease to exist, and then, we cannot do anything, because we'll be dead. Therefore, survival is the basis of all potential. This, again, does not mean that every potential must be seized to its fullest, if at all. Whatever else we call "necessities" is what we genuinely value, and what others teach us to see, as valuable.

Because of that, we respect some people, and perhaps despise or minimize others. But ultimately, there is no "cosmic cop" that will come to you, put a cosmic pistol in your head, and tell you exactly what you must do. Potential is called that way for a reason: because it brings possibility. No beneficial possibility is necessarily a necessity, regardless of the benefit in question. Never the less, they do not have to contradict one another, as drinking water is both necessary and beneficial at times.

Likewise, there is no requirement to be a parent. What if you are bad with kids? Would you want to bring a kid into this world who will have to deal with your lack of merit in raising kids and taking care of them? Obviously, not all people are parent-material. Unfortunately, not all potential parents will give their kids a healthy childhood. Do you have to be a murderer? Of course not, but you can. That doesn't mean it will bring you any benefit, though.

The thing is, no possibility is "greater" than the other; "greater" in the sense of being more necessary than any other possibility. This is what brings us great freedom as humans -- the fact that we have at least some control over the potential of our possibilities, and that no specific possibility is a direct "must." A possibility comes from chance, after all. Only if the chance is 100% does the possibility become an inevitable reality.

Celebrate your freedom if you wish! Regardless of who you are, chances are that you have many possibilities that can be pursued or discarded. This authority, given by your freedom as an adult, is something not all human beings are, unfortunately, aware of.

Some may believe they ought to marry someone they don't know and don't love. Their reasoning might come from a fear of becoming an outsider. They may believe that their parents must be proud of them only if they push themselves to the very limit. If they don't work hard enough and don't get the promotion they so desire, they will remain miserable with their current, relatively fortunate income.

Look around you! There is more to life than society, religion, funds, and benefits. The concern of "Oh, what will others think about me?" might not deserve such importance. There is, first and foremost, yourself and your true desires.

Society is there not for you to serve it, but for it to serve you in exchange for your contribution to it. In democracies, not everything has to be dependent on a majority's agreement. Therefore, in a better democracy, people will allow themselves to be a bit more eccentric. A society where the majority's authority is far more vast, is tyranny by the majority.

Only the severely ill and the criminal should be the "slaves" of society, for they are condemned by either being or action. You, however, are different, so why would society force upon you its so-called "unwritten laws" and "unwritten ideals"?

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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