"An idea for a short story about um people in Manhattan who uh are constantly creating these real, uh, unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves 'cause it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about, uh, the universe."
This is a quote by Woody Allen from the film Manhattan which I watched again last night. In typical Woody Allen manner he manages to not only be consistently funny but also to cut through so much of the society he lives in. This quote which appears at the end of the film basically sums up so much of my life and so much of the life I see around me. I fill my life with little things to worry about - promotions at work, financial management, holiday planning, football manager etc etc etc and I just move from one of these to the other. I'm fairly sure I'm not alone. I see enough people around me who always seem to be able to find something to worry about, something to complain about.
Maybe Woody Allen is right maybe we fill our lives with these things as it gives us something smaller and a bit more manageable to deal with instead of actually being forced to face up to the really big questions which are necessary for any of the little questions to be approached.
The question we need to answer before we answer 'How hard should I push for promotion' is what is the purpose of life. Until we've got an answer to this we lack the framework needed to decide how important a promotion is. The question we need to answer before we decide how we interact with other people is what does positive interaction with other people look like. The question we need to answer before we decide how to spend the time from now until we die is whether death is the end and whether what we do with our life has any impact on this.
So we take the small issues, make them big and attempt to deal with these all the time using these as a means of never facing up to the really big questions. We create life dramas to help us avoid facing up to the big questions but without facing up to the big questions maybe we're doomed to keep creating these real unnecessary, neurotic problems for ourselves.