The question “Why do people behave strangely?” can sound strange and ambiguous. Yet, it is at the heart of a more profound question which is: “Why are we still unhappy?” Afterwards, it is because we are unhappy that we behave strangely. Here are few examples:
Examples of Why Do People Behave Strangely
When I say “people behave strangely,” I mean that they get tattoos, dress up in crazy styles, buy boats and monkeys (as Justin Bieber did), get some funky hairstyle, or straight up act crazy, whatever this means. Here some clarification is necessary. No truly “normal” and “complete” person would ever consider doing any of these things if they were already truly happy and complete. However, people do all sorts of crazy things in order to get what they want from life, whatever that is. More often than not, they don’t even know what they ultimately want from life and they just chase something random, which society or marketing told them to chase, such as social validation. Of course, something like social validation is too ambiguous, which is why most people are lost in today’s world.
In the case of getting a tattoo, a person may think that tattoos look cool on other people and they want to try and see how they will look with one. It doesn’t need to make sense as to how a tattoo will directly or indirectly give them what they want from life, and perhaps it is just a stepping stone towards getting the desired result. In other words, it can be an experimental need, designed to test whether they are going in the right direction. After one experiment, they may do another experiment, or they will run numerous experiments at the same time. After this experiment is done, a different experiment can take place, for example, this person will get another tattoo, or perhaps they will buy a new piece of jewelry, but the underlying pattern is always the same:
- People want to get something from life;
- They don’t have it;
- They feel unhappy and incomplete; and therefore
- They are trying to do something to get to that happiness or completion.
Obviously, some people first (3) feel unhappy, which leads them to (4) do something about it, which can be something radical, as described above, in turn creating some radical and strange people who we see everyday in the world.
Why Even the Rich People Behave Strangely
As such, the lack of that something, which we can call completion, normality, or simply unconditional happiness, comes from a place of scarcity. Even wealthy people can forever chase more money, fancier experiences, and even more luxurious lifestyles for the sake of happiness. However, although these people are unlikely to complain about their lives right now, they will do so if suddenly all that luxury is taken away from them. In different words, rich people are often as unhappy and incomplete as the rest of the world. They just hide their insecurities better underneath all that money. Yet, money is just a means to an end which is happiness, which is why a truly happy person will require a minimal amount of money to sustain themselves, as they are already happy.
As such, when I say that we don’t have enough, I mean that either:
- We truly don’t have enough, for example we don’t have enough money to buy food for ourselves and our family; or
- We just think that we don’t have enough.
However, more often than not, we already have too much, but society taught us never to be satisfied. This is, of course, why we want to be rich in the first place, forever chasing money or otherwise material experiences, trying to fill a black hole in the center of our being.
Moreover, more often than not, the act of chasing money will make many people negative and depressed, with many of us never quite reaching that high level of materialistic income we desire. To this degree, the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus states that perhaps we should not even try to chase after something we know that we are unlikely to reach, so I should not aim to buy a five story yacht since it is unlikely that I will ever be able to afford one. In fact, by discarding many of these unrealistic and less than desired wants, we automatically become more complete and happier beings, because we stop living in scarcity. We start focusing on what really makes us happy and by doing these interesting tasks we become happier.
Becoming a Normal and Complete Person
This raises a next logical question, which is “What is normality and how can we become complete?”
- Basic needs: First, a complete person has to have all their basic needs satisfied. They have enough clothes, food, and a shelter. This does not have to be an expensive endeavor, as all these things can be acquired at relatively low cost. Here, I want to add that a balanced social lifestyle is also necessary, but this too does not require an extraordinary effort. Of course, in some extreme cases we can even sleep on the streets and be happy in solitude, but for the time being, we aren’t going to focus on this extreme.
- Live in line with your purpose: Second, we need to have a purpose. In other words, we need to be doing something, even if what we are doing is nothing, as it is often done in some religious circles. Of course, the decision to do nothing must come from the center of our being, and it should be considered as one of the most important and relevant tasks we can do in the present moment for it to be considered a “purpose.” Sure enough, our purpose does not have to be too difficult. Just do the next most important thing you think you need to do and you will live in line with your purpose. Certainly, realizing what that the most important task should be may require some introspection, which in itself becomes the next more important task, to which point I recommend everyone to review their goals on a regular basis.
- Stop working when you have enough: Lastly, to do all of the above we will need to have some money, but, often, we don’t need as much as most people think we need. For example, if my goal is to paint the next Mona Lisa, I may require some materials to do so, but these too can be acquired at a relatively low cost. Moreover, in order to pay my rent, I may need to find a job, for which I need to dress up accordingly, which also requires money. However, while we need certain financial investments, once we reach that required level of income we can stop working because we already have enough, and instead focus our attention on (2) living in line with our purpose.
People Behave Strangely, but Unconditional Happiness Is Possible
Overall, we need to have some money, but, often, we don’t need that much. Even better, if we can work doing exactly what we want to do, while being surrounded by the right people, we will have a truly happy life. This setup may require some time to assemble, but it is certainly possible. Reversely, whenever we are doing something different, which is not in alignment with our being, we can act abnormally and even strangely. Certainly, we see enough people doing exactly that in our everyday lives. Some of these people can be even considered wealthy, but their happiness is conditional upon their constant need to make and spend money, which can make them behave strangely in the first place. To this extent, it is wise to stop chasing money trying to afford something that we ultimately don’t think we can afford.
Instead, it is better to live in line with our dreams, focusing on the next immediate most important tasks. This focused attention will put us on the correct path towards the most significant thing we can do, as we will figure what it is eventually. It may not even require as much focus on money as most people believe they need. Instead, we can work only as much as we need until we earn enough to do what we want to do. Any further pursuit of money or material possessions can just waste our time, potential, and be detrimental to our emotional well-being, making us behave strangely.
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