Question about "enjoyable usefulness"? Hi, i’ve been employing “enjoyable usefulness” as a way to decide on my actions the past few weeks. It’s been very interesting and i’ve liked it, particularly how you don’t have to completely give up either a life of “mission” or “desire”. However I came to an unavoidable existential dilemma recently and i’ve been in the throes of it for the past day or two. I think I might have resolved it, but I want to confirm it with you and hear your take on it, if you would like to listen. I’ve come to be dissatisfied with “enjoyable usefulness” because I feel like I have basic needs and desires which are not being met. There are certain things that a primal, visceral part of me wants to do, but when I ask myself if it’s both enjoyable and useful it’ll fail to meet the “useful” part of the criteria I guess. There is also something that i’m telling myself that I “enjoy”, but if i’m honest with myself I don’t actually want to do it. For the first example, I have a biological drive to want to meet someone of the opposite sex, mate, and reproduce. I want to have a connection with someone. However, i’m naturally a very quiet person and, far from not having the courage to approach someone, I often can’t even think of anything to talk about or make conversation with. To add to that, the male-female ratio at the social events I go to is usually like 80-20 (anime shows). Considering my hobbies, my character, and the events I go to, I can easily envision going through my entire life at this pace without once even getting a girlfriend. When I employ “enjoyable usefulness” to decide on my actions, I am supposed to accept this and just go to such events that are in line with my hobbies, and not worry about never meeting anyone, which is actually the thing that I am most concerned about. This creates an existential dilemma. It makes me want to shun all my social responsibilities and relationships and live a hedonistic life where I pay prostitutes for sex and things like that, stemming from dissatisfaction at this unsatisfied need. For the second case, my day job is working in a lab. At great effort and personal expense to myself, I toil away day in and day out in what mostly seems like pointless labour for the sake of others without much appreciation and a great deal of personal worry and stress to go along with it. If I use “enjoyable usefulness” to decide what I should do, the answer that comes to me is that I do enjoy it (for the love of science), and I should keep doing my best in it even beyond the current degree I am doing. I would keep doing it for the rest of my life. Needless to say, this idea freaks the living death out of me. So I was in an existential crisis for a couple hours this morning, unsure of what I wanted or how to resolve it. Throwing away all my responsibilities and just doing what I wanted had an insatiable pull that could not be ignored. But at the same time, it seemed unacceptable, nor even something that I would have the courage to do, and there were some good aspects of enjoyable usefulness that I recognized and did not want to lose too. There was even a third option that was vying for attention: “do what you should”. I think this corresponds roughly to “reasonable respectability”, and the idea was that I do what is expected of me on the outside to lessen the pain of running into conflict with people, but other than that doing whatever I can get away with I think. This also seemed unsatisfactory. I was stuck, vacillating, torn, and unsure for a couple hours. Not a pleasant state to be in, let me tell you. At one point I remembered that the idea of your philosophy is to find a resolution between opposing extremes. So I entertained the idea of doing things that arw both “what I want” and “what is enjoyably useful” or even just “what is useful”. I found that this was acceptable. I am yet to try this “doing what I want and which is useful”. But it seems that I am not in danger of throwing away everything in the pursuit of hedonism. However framed in this new light, I also realized that I don’t want to continue doing lab work beyond what is required of me to complete this degree. This gave me a degree of relaxation and acceptance. What do you think? Is this an acceptable modification? Or is it what you were aiming at from the start, and my mind simply perverted the meaning of “enjoyable usefulness” to be closer to mission. Hopefully this works out for me. All i’m after really are these emotional benefits you speak of, and the power of resolving existential dilemmas might be worthwhile. I obviously don’t know myself yet.