Making Sense of Elon’s Quest for the Meaning of Life
The quest for the meaning of life may make you think of Monty Python or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but probably not so much of a tech billionaire. And yet, this is one huge driving force behind Elon’s motivation (inspired among others by the Hitchhiker’s Guide ) as Musk has recently said in an interview with TED curator Chris Anderson.
Ultimately, Musk said he finds his purpose in questioning reality and the meaning of life. “My driving philosophy is to expand the scope and scale of consciousness that we may better understand the nature of the universe”
Well, Elon is certainly not the only one trying to understand the meaning of life, that’s what philosophy is all about. In my late teens, I was literally obsessed with this question. Like Elon, I read the Hitchhiker’s Guide (certainly one of my favourite fiction books), but also many more serious books about the topic, like Erich Fromm’s To Have or to Be and Paul Watzlawick How Real is Reality ? As my reader can see, my interests and Elon’s are very similar in this respect. I soon discovered that my obsession with the meaning of life wasn’t very widespread, at least I never found many people who were interested in talking about it and I had this hunch that my depression could have a lot to do with my quest for the meaning of life, a depression most other people didn’t have. Well, Elon suffers from bipolar disorder, so my hunch might not have been that off after all.
Let’s analyse Elon’s quest logically. First off, very few people would suffer from depression if they only attained a fraction of Elon’s achievements and wealth, so he can’t be depressed because he possibly wants more of all that. It just wouldn’t make sense. So, how do we make sense of it?
From the point of view of evolutionary psychology, there is really one and only one meaning in life: to have viable offspring (put in other words: grandchildren, as evolution doesn’t really give a shit about offspring that does not reproduce). Now, Elon doesn’t have any grandchildren, but seven children and there is little doubt that once all of them have reached reproductive age Elon is bound to be a proud grandfather. You can twist it and turn it any way you want, neither from a purely biological nor when it comes to societal success does Elon have any reason to be depressed, only reason to rejoice. Oh yes, he is neurodiverse and there is probably something wrong in his brain because of his bipolar disorder. No, I don’t buy that, there is nothing wrong in Elon’s brain. He has a beautiful brain, but in order to understand him you have to understand that he has a “hunter brain” living in a farmer’s world. Now, hunter brains are programmed to live in a forager world and if they successfully navigate in a forager world hunter brains are also happy. Foragers have little purpose for material wealth and status and this explains in part Elon’s restlessness. Elon’s brain is depressed because of all the bumps and bruises it gets in a farmer world, and this is ultimately also the cause for his questioning reality and his quest for the truth and the meaning of life. Hunters become seekers of truth and philosophers in a farmer world. I am aware that this claim sounds absurd, but I have been researching this lead for several years and it makes a lot of sense. Now, hunters, I know you are sceptical, but follow Elon and go hunting!
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Originally published at http://the-big-ger-picture.blogspot.com on May 6, 2022.