Never will I live an ordinary life, and here’s why:
1) People who live the ordinary life are people in large numbers—the masses. The masses are almost always wrong. Therefore, whatever people in large numbers are doing, it’s wise to first consider doing the opposite.
People tend to simply follow the crowd, and those who lead the crowds very often have their own self-promotion in mind, at the expense of others. This is wrong because you don’t really help yourself when you harm other people. You also don’t help anyone else while harming yourself! I’m not into being harmed while believing that I’m being helped.
2) History has shown me that people in large numbers usually don’t understand or care about the effects that their actions will have on people beyond their own social circle. The idea doesn’t even seem to cross their minds a lot of the time. I love and enjoy the people closest to me, but I also think about people beyond my own time and place.
3) The ordinary life is pre-packaged and sold to the masses by those with the most power to influence them. These influences include politicians, government agencies, the media (including radio, newspaper and TV outlets, as well as book publishers, magazines and movie studios), large corporations, religious institutions, schools and universities, banks, and insurance companies.
The purpose of the ordinary life is to enslave the masses and to further enrich and empower those who already have great wealth and power (mostly folks like politicians and corporate élites). The masses are enslaved by their belief that the ordinary life is the most desirable. It is the most desirable—to those who deliberately enhance their own temporal power and wealth at the expense of the masses. These people, by the way, believe that they deserve this enrichment at the expense of the masses because the masses are too stupid to break free from the ordinary life.
At any rate, the only real power is the power to determine the events and relationships in your own life. You can use that power, once you discover it within yourself, to create a meaningful life for yourself based on your own talents, interests, and abilities.
4) The ordinary life leaves little or no room for real personal growth and enjoyment of life. Work and other “responsibilities” consume our time, and we use up our creative energy maintaining and repairing the things we own (or which own us). In short, it’s boring, demanding, and stressful. I refuse to spend the bulk of my life doing what other people want me to do because I know better than they do.
5) In the ordinary life, real living is only experienced in occasional moments, in the breaks between “responsibilities.” After these moments we sigh and say, “Now it’s time to get back to work.” We spend most of our time doing what we don’t like, so we can have things we don’t need, and spend our vacations pretending that they are the reward for hard work.
Yet a life is possible where the things we don’t like are only an occasional interruption to our satisfying real life.
The ordinary life, though, isn’t a material thing. It’s a mindset, just as the Good Life is a mindset. It’s possible to live an outwardly ordinary life, even while living a rich, rewarding, exemplary inner life. You can live an extraordinary life among ordinary people. You can shine while bagging groceries or answering the phone or wiping the baby’s nose. It’s all up to you and what you do with yourself.
Eventually, your wonderful inner life will leak out into your ordinary outer life. That’s when sparks start to fly, the machine grinds to a halt, and you can finally let go of the controls. You don’t need them anyway.
(Written in 2005 and freshly edited on December 21, 2016.)