T Nation

Life Without a Cause?


Well, I was joking around on one of the political forums and I mentioned that I'd be happy to crusade for the rest of my life.

It has me thinking. What is life without a cause? Bear with me, I'm not a religious type so I'd have to pick my own cause.

If we all just go to work and pay the bills are we really living? I don't have a family, so my cause isn't simply to protect, educate and provide for my children. I wouldn't criticize if that was your cause in life, but it can't be mine yet.

There are a ton of causes to choose from. You can be an environmentalist, a religious bigot, right wing zealot, left wing zealot, profiteer, entertainer, athlete and so on. You can dedicate yourself to these things.

I mean, I have a job and I'm a professional, but it isn't something that fills me with pride or breathes life into my soul if you know what I mean.

The closest thing I have to a cause right now is being fit and healthy. However, that isn't a cause. It simply keeps me able bodied, healthy and capable. The question I have to ask is for what? Chasing women? Heh, not a bad idea, but probably not a cause.

Do I need to find something I believe in and pursue it? I'll never be a religious believer, I truly value thinking and forming ones own thoughts, so that would be counter to my inherent priorities.

How many of you out there truly have a cause? What drives your thinking from waking to sleeping and gives you energy or satisfaction as you pursue it? Anything? Is that the difference between traditional sheeple and the odd hero or famous historical figure?

I don't have any answers. Just something that crossed my mind as I sat here relaxing with some PWO nutrition. Any thoughts?



There are many great causes to live for. One particular "cause" that drives me are my wife and children.

I think when you marry and have kids your focus shifts a great deal. You always think "what can I do for them," instead of "what can I do for me," on any particular day.

The "what can I do for them" ranges from areas such as health and education to entertainment and socialization. I want to be the best farther and husband that I can be! That may sound a bit old fashioned to some of you guys who are still in your 20's, but I think life takes on a greater meaning when you become dirctly responsible for raising children.

I think one of the biggest differences between myself and many who visit this great forum is life status. An occasional rift will occur regarding the hot topic of the day simply becaue of age. I always seem to take the more "conservative" view point. The reason is that I am usually trying to protect my children from whatever the typical 20 something sees no problem with. It's not that I don't understand where some of the guys are coming from, hey I used to think pretty much the same way.

When you have this sort of "family" cause you become aware of all of the pitfalls that society has relative to children.

By the way, great topic! I am interested to read about what other "causes" there are in T-land.


"My dear Wormwood,
Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that directon already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it, we make them think about unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the LEAST like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time-for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. Hence the encouragement we have given to all those schemes of thought such as Creative Evolution, Scientific Humanism, or Communism, which fix men's affections on the Future, on the very core of temporality. Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the Future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust and ambition look ahead. Do not think lust an exception. When the present pleasure arrives, the sin (which alone intersts us) is already over. The pleasure is just part of the process which we regret and would exclude if we could do so without loosing the sin; it is the part contributed by the Enemy, and therefore experienced in the Present. The sin, which is our contribution, looked forward......

...We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow's end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy NOW, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present.

...Your man may be untroubled about the Future, not because he is concerned with the Present, but because he has persuaded himself that the Future is going to be agreeable. As long as that is the real cause of his tranquillity, his tranquillity will do us good, because it is only piling up more disappointment, and therefore impatience, for him when his false hopes are dashed. If, on the other hand, he is aware that horrors may be in store for him and is praying for the virtues wherewith to meet them and meanwhile concerning himself with the Present because there, and there alone, all duty, all grace, all knowledge, and all pleasure dwell, his state is very undersirable and should be attacked at once."



The whole breakdown of the question, to me, is this:

You can seek out a cause that addresses the present "situation" or one that is focused on the future "situation." You can combine the two, as well.

Beyond that, it's all details...we are either focused on improving our own "world" or the one we leave for our decendents.

...then, we die! Ain't that a bitch?

My own "cause" is also undetermined. I'm just floating around, hoping to enjoy the ride before I pass on...but aware of the consequences that my decisions/actions have on others. Just because I'm clueless doesn't mean everyone else has to be! I just hope the majority respects my independent streak, and doesn't try to make me a goose-stepping conformist.

Ain't this a question for the ages...



I'm a senior in college, so I'm waaaaaaay to young to event contemplate kids and marriage. Both or some of the noblest cause any human could undertake. I mean, it makes the sole purpose of the rest of one's life the care of someone else. That's beautiful.

At this stage in my life, I'd say my cause is to have a cause. I know and acknowledge that I'm too immature and dumb to mkae some dramatic life decision like another person's life.

I'm just focusing on getting my degree, a little money, an apt and car in a year so I can get a job and start learning how to live.

I guess everyone's cause in life is just to live well. So we go through life to learn how to live. Some just learn faster and earlier than others.

Just my 2 cents. Great post!

Vitamin T


For a while, I thought Tyler Durden was writing.


Joking aside, I have the same dilemma. A variation of what a soldier once said:

"Before picking up arms, I ask myself: Is this the hill I want to die on?"

Also, one needs to separate ones identity from ones job. Otherwise, when you lose the job, what`s left?

Sure, jobs take a big amount of time in someone`s week. But what do you do outside of it, once survival needs are met? Improve skills? Learn new stuff? Give me a break!

I guess it`s a question only each person can ultimately answer alone. Even mentor and textbook spirituality has its limits. Good Will Hunting did not have the answers to everything, even with his far-beyond-average IQ.

Gooooooooooooooood question.


all you canadians can keep striving to be american, that's a noble cause if i ever heard one. that or just keep turning out hot ass models, that's another good one.
ps i don't know if she's canadian, but she's a hot chick nonetheless.




Is that from the ScrewTape books or is it verses?
Isn't he a demon?

If that is a cause... It's a pretty damn good one!


Vroom sorry I know this is a serious thread I just had to say that I'm interested in taking up slimjim's cause.


Not to worry... it is a cause I would consider diving into as well... if you will excuse the expression...


Yeah man she is Canadian, Elisha Cuthbert.... yeah we make em hot... just not in Regina.

Dave's Life cause: Live Fast, Die Slow.

Never chase the dollar, all the rich people I know are too worried to be happy.



Asking most people what their cause or purpose in life is akin to questioning whether a bull or horse drawing a cart have time to ponder the beauty of the moon. ( I know I know very third world example)

The point being most people are so busy in being busy ( paying bills, running errands trying to make ends meet) that they dont have time to think about a "cause" as such.

Then there are those of us who not only get a chance to ponder the question, but actually get an answer( a smaller percentage of ppl) and then seek to pursue that goal or cause.

Makes you wonder whos better off...

If your point was to ask if we , as individuals, have goals then the simple answer is yes. ( Then again I speak for no one but myself )


Hmmm. Many thoughts spring to mind.

"The Unknown Citizen" by W.H.Auden is about a man whose life was absolutely average. At his death, the state erects a monument to him. It's satirical, and is supposed to make us feel that his life was hollow, but the state doesn't care.

But I think about my dad: 85 years old (and still going strong), raised 7 kids, always put food on the table (which was his "cause" having lived through the Depression), as good as he can be to all he meets, still tries to do things for his kids. My siblings think he is dull; I see a man who has triumphed against tremendous odds, and didn't become bitter, sour, selfish, stingy, or grumpy (yet). He still loves my mother (80 years old), washes the dishes, wields the chainsaw for firewood, does all the driving, reads constantly, has a sense of humor, keeps the peace among his kids.

Totally ordinary man; I have total respect for the upright way he has lived his life. Hamlet said it well of his own father: "He was a man, take him all in all; we shall not look upon his like again."

Sometimes, living a good life--not THE good life, but life as a good person--is difficult enough that its achievement is truly worthwhile.

My wife likes to point out that I have ambitions; she doesn't. I strive for more, and worry if I've got or done "enough" (whatever that means). She's content to take the days as they come. She is also the most conscientious and superlative teacher I know. Just as I am (I am told by colleagues) one of the most helpful and "human" Network Administrators they have ever seen.

In 100 years, none of it will matter. But right now, I am living a life that means people are happy when I show up. (Well, except for--as Shugart pointed out to me--the 699 people who did NOT win the free Alpha Male.)

And, although we have chosen not to have children ourselves, by being involved in education as we are, we are thoroughly devoted to shepherding the next generation to become good people, careful thinkers, (and, for my part, clever little smartasses) et cetera.

I'm not saying "don't find a cause; be happy with what you've got." Heaven knows I'M looking for more to do. But don't forget that there are ways right around you to make a difference. After all, if you are NOT proud of who you are, you are probably doing something wrong. Go with your strengths. If you ARE proud of yourself, figure out what it is that you are most proud of and find ways to expand on it.

(This is me shutting up now.)


My cause is to make sure that my family and I live life to the fullest, everyday. That doesn't have to mean having the most or biggest and brightest possessions. It does, however, mean to enjoy every day. It could mean a quiet evening walk on the beach (I live 2 blocks from it) or chasing the dogs around the back yard for an hour. It could be something as simple as a family meal or as elaborate as a holiday gathering.
My point is, make the most out of every day you share with family and friends because no one ever really knows which of these days will be their last. Now, this may make me sound old or boring but that's o.k. As long as I have a smile on my face and can put one on my wife's or either of my 2 girls then I am fulfiling my cause.


Thank you for that thought provoking post! It made me think of my own father and the immense respect I have for him at this stage of my life. It was not always that way. My mom aint half bad either!
I also liked the part about knowing your strengths and expanding on them.