A Satisfaction-less Life?

Nathan Glass
3 min readJun 25, 2020

Never feeling settled, content or done.

“No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissastifaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

― Martha Graham

Me and my mother were conversing (because talking is too generic) recently and realised we had a significant trait in common. We feel compelled to get things done, and once they’re done, we move on to the next thing instantly. I know that sounds fairly obvious since life is essentially an endless list of things that need to be done. But a crucial aspect we share is the sheer lack of enjoyment we get in completing a task, or should I say, the fleeting nature of the enjoyment.

When making a YouTube video for example, it is the most important thing in the world to me, it is all consuming, yet the moment it is uploaded, I start thinking about the next one. There is zero satisfaction, only a vague sense of relief. This sounds pretty joy-less and in a sense it is but the problem is that the only thing worse for me than this approach is… every other approach. Not solving problems, not getting things done, is unthinkable. This brings up a philosophical dilemma: what if for some people, their ideal lives actually lack intense satisfaction and joyous fulfilment?

Here’s how I’d describe it:

I don’t enjoy the process and I don’t enjoy the outcome, but I love who I am when I live this way.”

It’s a strangely philosophical way to “enjoy” something. But maybe this is more common than I initially thought? I imagine that there are many people who take on challenges of extreme difficultly and pain and feel only relief after rising to them. What they ultimately get is the ability to look back on an achievement, a body of work, a back catalogue — and feel this subtle but powerful sense of ‘what kind of person they are’ to have done those things.

It reminds me of a story of the philosopher calmly sitting down and blocking the path of Alexander the Great and his men to which one of Alexanders generals said:

“This man has conquered the world! What have you done?”

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Nathan Glass

Many botched attempts to make sense verbally have led me here.