May 2008

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« Happiness Formula | Main | Big Trouble »


Memo G.

I had forgot about this one and a friend reminded me about it. There is no doubt in my head that you are the perfect atheist, if that's what you are.

And I mean this in the best of ways. With a thinking as clear as yours, there's no need for God most of the time.


my name is kozel! are you?


I am 43 this year. And I think it is a good number to be a permanent age. Like you, in my forties, I kind of thought there is nothing much left to do or learn - have been fairly successful in my career, travel the world over, do all the things I want to do, including failure! - but now, I think I do have the power to make things better for others, even simple ones, like visiting my Dad more often, or having a nice word with the office lady, etc. Bravo to success and happiness!

Listo Cómics

Hollidays started and I have time to read the posts I couldn't red before, and I liked this one.

Thank you!


you know what? thank you...^^


As far as turning outward is concerned, I totally agree. It just seems natural to live for someone else, especially when we ourselves have managed to tackle our own demons and sort out our own mixed up heads. Thanks for a thoughtful post, Mr. Adams.


Umm... Your a robot, of course there's a hole in your soul if you do indeed have one... I have a friend very similar to you..


Also, it sounds like you are at the Teal stage of development (stage #8 on the Integral/Spiral Dynamics/Maslow/Cronburg scale of things*). And that's pretty impressive!



Meaning is whatever is important to you at any given time. That can be taking care of yourself or taking care of others, or (if you are Enlightened) realizing that they are, in fact, the same thing.


All guys are goal-oriented, if you aren't, you're gay (not meant as an insult or derogatory).


In business school we learn the Hierarchy of Needs to be better managers. If someone is a the bottom of the pyramid (in life, not the company) then their needs are different than someone at the top.
I explain the hierarchy like this:(not textbook!) Think of it as a pyramid, with the first layer on the bottom.
The first needs are Physical=> Health, food, shelter, sex
The second layer needs are Social=> friendship, love, acceptance by others,
The third layer of needs are Spiritual=> meaning of life, whatever inspires you
Money is not in the Hierarchy, but can buy you the first layer, and then could be used as a scorecard in the next layer. Athletes use this all the time as a measure of "respect" they are getting from their club.
People who have not met the requirements of one layer can not go up to the next
OCTAOE, but in general you can't give a person looking for Social acceptance more money and think that it will make them a happier person. [this is a problem in the US, many people think that the NEXT raise is going to be the one that fills their needs] Many very wealthy (and healthy) people are not happy because they don't realize the value (NEED!) of common friendship.

Kevin Carson

It sounds like you finally realized you were free to do all the things you wanted to do well for their own sake, without being hindered by the need to make a living. It doesn't necessarily translate into altruism. Most of us see work as a means to an end, a way to meet our material needs so we can do the other things we really care about--the stuff we'd look forward to doing if we could plan every day the way we wanted without a job hanging over our heads. In your case, you figured out that creative work, like drawing the next strip or writing the next blog post as well as you can for its own sake, was what you really wanted to do.


I look outward, yet i don't really know what it is i WANT. Therein lacks the 'meaning'. You make my day most days though.

Lots of love..


Pick your favourite definition of irony:

1: Man crossing the street gets hit by an ambulance
2: Woman with huge bazoombas teaches 'Harassment in the Workplace' seminar, wears low-cut top
3: Cartoonist finds meaning trying to convince readers that they have no free will, no soul, and that God is a malicious fairy tale

My old favourite was #2 because it featured bazoombas.


ages, stages, sages... doing for others, whatever it may be, does help self esteem when the giving and doing is by choice.

Scott, I'm glad you've continued to give your thoughts and humor to the world.

Thanks so much.


Very inspiring, Scott. And yet.... have you ever wondered *why* humans might feel the need to have some sort of goal? Has it become hardwired to a certain part of the brain through evolution? Is it something that would come naturally to any intelligent being? Could we, by analyzing our own need for goals, come up with a way to be perfectly happy in a stagnant environment (and without any chemical "mood enhancers")?

Glenn Chalmers

Scott you are a genius, a good and inspiring genius. After reading your blog today I feel inspired, motivated and less like an idiot for not being able to focus on my "meaning".

The truth hit me like a bomb. First inward then outward. I wil write again in 6 months by when hopeully thanx to u I will be able to once again try outward.


"I arbitered because that idiot "Oli" seemed to call me an idiot. Scott claims that he moderates the posts so I bought that to his notice. Your sarcasm is wasted."

Not in the least. What comments Scott chooses to allow on his own blog is his own business, not yours. His motivations are nothing to do with you. Your feelings on his morality in allowing or disallowing comments are not relevant.


Scott, I've been dealing with some of the issues with happiness in my own life. Not that I'm successful or have everything that I want, but I've started realizing that when I reach whatever goal I set for myself, the happiness and excitement will only last for a brief moment.

Someone pointed me to the book Stumbling On Happiness by Dan Gilbert. Gilbert is a psychologist who points out that our brain tricks us into thinking that we will be happy if we reach some goal, then rationalizes when it isn't that great, and sets up another goal, and on and on. Basically, there is no way to be happy getting that next big promotion, that brand new shiny car, or that McMansion.

I've been reading a lot about Buddhism lately. The highest purpose in Buddhism is to stop suffering in all beings, i.e. helping others. But Buddhism teachings say the best way to do this is to fix yourself first. You can best help people if you yourself have the right mindset and behavior. A bit dogmatic, but its essentially what you are saying as well.


Uncle Scott, sometimes you really can make me cry when no one is looking.


Lisa Chabot

Scott, I think you were always turned outward--for years now you've answered email from folks in a very kindly manner, not to mention your more remunerative creative efforts, which have also been immensely cheering.

We're all somewhat turned outward, for determining our happiness; humans are sociable, by and large.

Still, a reminder like this is always appreciated.

I find if I just think on how much I have (not necessarily monetarily) I am sort of freed from a kind of chain of I-Need, and then I have more potential for giving to others. I'm not putting this well...uh, maybe if I mean to say, if I don't focus on how cranky and needy I am, I can find generosity in myself, and making connections like that feels better than filling my home with some more stuff.

Anyway, thanks!


Thank you.


Scott Thanks for all you work. Your blog and books have become a part of my life


For what it's worth, I appreciate this blog a lot. I Recently thought about the fact that you post something every day and how hard that must be. I figured that it either came very naturally to you or you considered it an important commitment. I guess we know which now, so thanks!


You missed the whole point of your own post. The meaning of "meaning" is: "the phenomenon whereby one assigns a respresentational value to a symbol, usually a spoken or written word." Or something like that. And I didn't even look it up. Come on Scott, try to stay on topic.

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