—at the deepest levels ...
Although we often appear to be vastly different in terms of what we think (or do or say), at the deepest levels we all have the same philosophy of life.
It may sound a bit strange to hear a suggestion like this, since it is so much more common to feel that everybody wants to do his own thing, and everyone does seem to have different tastes about this or that or whatever.
But that is only the way it plays out. If you think about it deeply enough, it is fairly easy to recognize that we are all radiating from the same place. After all, we are all the same in terms of our basic humanity. You may want a red car, and I may want a blue one, but the essence of the matter is that we both want a car, period.
Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed this idea most eloquently, in his essay, History:
There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has be-fallen any man, he can understand. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.
By philosophy of life, I refer essentially to that which drives us, and I'm talking about at a primal level. It is the fundamental reason behind our actions. And that reason is pretty much the same in everyone.
To get at it (in much cruder terms than Emerson used), consider the basics that we all hear mentioned from time to time: food, clothing and shelter.
But we must add to this society. As Aristotle once suggested, anyone who does not have the need (or desire) for human society is either a beast or a god.
But, with apologies to Aristotle, I am going to argue that we do not simply want society, so much as what it offers to us, namely, love and/or money, as in the common phrase, "not for love nor money."
I consider the love and food elements to be the most compelling. But I choose not to call it love. I'm going to call it sex. So the two primary driving forces in our lives are sex and food.
There are many among us who devote a considerable amount of time to a job that quite often they simply do not care for, and primarily for the purpose of putting food on the table. And the primal urge to reproduce needs no embellishment.
Since we are all pretty much driven by food and sex, it is not too difficult to see then how it is that we all have pretty much the same philosophy of life, the same basic driving force.
If we are situated, as most Americans very likely are, it is sometimes difficult to see this as being the case. We have our food, and we have our sex. We probably take them for granted. Basically, we have reached a comfort zone.
But, I guarantee (beyond the shadow of any doubt), that if we did not have them, we would most certainly go looking for them.
And in the heat of that pursuit, if we were to encounter someone, and in the course of our converse with that someone, ascertain that they were not a source of food or sex, we would (politely of course) tell them to fuck off, because the next person in line that we are going to encounter just might be that source. If not, we will tell them to fuck off as well. This would continue until we did find the people who were suitable sources for the food and the sex that so irresistibly prods us. Remember, we are driven by these things. We cannot help the fact that we are hungry, or want to have sex.
Our actions in this hypothetical scenario reveal most clearly our philosophy of life, which, in the language of the streets, may be expressed most simply as, fuck me, feed me or fuck off.
Yes, this is Everyman's philosophy of life. I call it the three Fs.