The Dystopian Present blog is an effort to bring attention to society’s ills and some of their potential cures. With that, it tends to be a wide-ranging effort. I hope it piques your interest enough to draw you into the conversation. All civil voices are welcome and encouraged to take part. So kick off your shoes and stay a while. You never know what I’ll take on next…
Ikigai (生き甲斐, pronounced [ikiɡai]) is the Japanese equivalent of the French, raison d’être. In English, these translate respectively as ‘something one lives for’ and ‘a reason for being’. Although the meanings are similar, cultural attitudes toward the concept they embody differ.
Few possess a raison d’être. Those who live with an enduring passion for something can be consumed by it to the detriment of social relationships and a “normal” lifestyle. Thus, there are desirable and undesirable aspects to having a raison d’être.
Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.