Thomas Oppong: How to avoid the existential vacuum in the capitalist world


1/4/20234 min read

Author of the translation and inspiration: Taras Kyrychenko and his club

Fill your life with meaning - no matter how small it may be.

Capitalism thrives on individualism, but it makes us feel lonely. It is an economic model that rewards self-interest, competition and the accumulation of material goods.

Capitalism has always been about more than money; it is a system based on a deeper set of beliefs about human nature, the world, and our place in it. These beliefs have shaped everything from the Industrial Revolution to the digital age—and continue to do so today.

"Our economy is based on spending billions to convince people that happiness is buying things and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things that people will buy so that they have jobs and get enough money to buy things," says Philip Slater.

In an era of peak capitalism and economic insecurity for the masses, finding true happiness, meaning, and purpose can be difficult. Many of us are constantly busy, leaving little time to think about who we are as individuals and what we want out of life.

With so much pressure to succeed and achieve in everything we do, it's no wonder that many people feel lost in self-awareness or don't know their personal values.

To avoid the trap of capitalism's senselessness, we must understand how capitalism creates this feeling and find ways to change it.

Capitalism tells us that competition and the struggle to succeed is good for us; that it makes us better people. That's why it's no wonder most of us gravitate toward careers or hobbies focused on building capital and climbing the social ladder.

However, caught up in this capitalist vortex, we tend to forget that these actions and pursuits remain secondary in our lives. They should not come at the expense of our relationships with family and friends, meaningful pursuits, or any other personal fulfillment.

Despite this, many of us long for something more. Many people are unhappy with their current financial situation, and even more people lack meaning in their lives.

At the core of our society is an existential vacuum, a place where people feel isolated and adrift in the world. This state is characterized by feelings of emptiness, despair and powerlessness. These feelings are unnatural; they arise from economic forces beyond our control.

Existential vacuum is the feeling you get when your life has no meaning. You may feel lost, confused, and disconnected from yourself.

"Modern man is alienated from himself, from his neighbors and from nature," states Erich Fromm.

In the age of capitalism, we are left in existential uncertainty. We feel that we have no control over our lives and that everything we do is ultimately pointless. This feeling can be paralyzing.

However, there is a way to use this feeling as a source of inspiration. By focusing on what makes us come alive, we can turn our existential angst into a source of strength and wisdom.

We can also learn to settle for less, find meaning in our daily experiences (no matter how small), and appreciate the smaller things in life. Don't lose faith in your ability to explore and discover yourself.

Fill your life with meaning - no matter how small it may be

Alexander Chalmers said: "The three main components of happiness are: something to do, someone to love and something to hope for."

Through self-reflection and introspection, you can discover what brings you joy and then choose to spend your time doing what brings you joy.

Through self-exploration, you can deepen your understanding of yourself and gain a greater appreciation of the world around you.

By filling this existential vacuum with meaning and purpose, you can free yourself from the shackles of capitalism and create your ideal and meaningful life.

What does it mean to have a purpose?

There are three approaches to answering this question: focusing on the idea of "being alive," focusing on the idea of "having a good life," and focusing on finding meaning in your life's work.

The good news is that all three can be true at the same time. For example, being alive can mean many different things to different people, meaning that there is more than one meaning to the word "being alive."

Viktor Frankl claims that there are three ways to fill your life with meaning. He writes: “So far we have shown that the meaning of life is always changing, but it never ceases to be. According to logotherapy, we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing an act; (2) experiencing something or meeting someone; and (3) our attitude toward inevitable suffering.”

With the right mindset and habits, you can find incredible meaning in almost everything you do every day, despite the many uncertainties we face.

Although it's tempting to give up and get stuck in an existential vacuum, you have to take back control. You can learn to find meaning in a chaotic world by paying attention to the things that really matter to you.

You can create space for yourself by taking the time to introspect to better understand yourself. And you can surround yourself with people who support your goals. None of this will be easy, but if you keep at it, you can find personal meaning.

Finding meaning in your life can help you cope with the stresses of modern life. Find ways to reduce stress by taking breaks, setting boundaries, and prioritizing. You may also find it helpful to keep a journal or take nature walks.

By keeping your priorities in check and setting focused goals, you'll be less likely to feel overwhelmed and anxious. The more meaning you find in your life, the more complete you will feel as a whole person.