It has always been purported by the numerous religions that have come and gone throughout the ages that they have the answer to; what is the meaning of life?
What they are saying has nothing to do with the meaning of living, other than life is a preparation for the after-life. That they all have their own versions of this “joyful” event is evidence enough for the casting of some doubt on whether spending ones whole life in preparation for death and beyond is indeed a wise course of action.
Wasting a totality of life in fear of a god, for that is all the psychologically forced love of a creator can be, certainly has “meaning,” but not one that is beneficial for the living. Love induced by awe is only sub-servient nonsense and any “God” worth its salt would recognise that.
“Go forth and be guilty about everything enjoyable”, is definitely not a recipe for mental health and happiness. “Be fearful about “soulful” repercussions for just being human,” may be some people’s idea of giving meaning to life, but it is not meaning of any worth.
This meaning of life, although most likely a necessary part of gaining the degree of conscious awareness we now have, has created more misery to modern thinking homo-sapiens than any other evolutionary baggage brought along with us on a long journey down through history. Take the recent example of an outcome of a meaning of life doctrine perpetrated onto innocent people in New York and then those of Afghanistan. Both extreme and overt cases, but then consider the second-rate plight of women in un-educated cultures right up to our own. These are only two obvious instances of outcomes wrought and supported by meaning of life “thinking.” Many individuals, groups, races, species, environments and yes, other religions, suffer under its tyranny.
Compared to the book of human evolution, existence as truly reasoning beings, is an infinitesimally small epilogue. The religious “meaning” hang-over, a construction of a primitive past, has its roots deeply embedded in conscious thought, by its generational indoctrination into the sub-consciousness of children.
Thankfully for us and yon, a recognition of how we think, has greater understanding than was possible for our misfortunate forebears. Many will still not accept this very easily comprehensible idea, and dismiss it out-of-hand without any due consideration as to its validity or nay. It is not rejected because it may be wrong, only that it might be right.
Is there then, another meaning of life? Where does this other meaning of life come from? Is a meaning of life at all necessary for reaching full potential of happiness and contentment? Is Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’s 42 the answer we seek? On the last question, so sorry, but the answer is not 42, nor did Monty Python’s film – “The Meaning of Life,” – quite get there.
There is no inherent meaning of life but that does not mean that life should have no meaning. Having a meaning of life is not only important for a successful and happy existence, it is essential for survival as a viable planet. It is oft stated that we must make our own meaning of our time on Earth. It is as oft forgotten to add that if our meaning interferes with the meaning of others, then our meaning has the same dark clouds surrounding it as does its ethereal counterpart and is therefore no different from it.
Religions encourage and promote a meaning of life that is based on a selfish salvation of “soul” with no regard to the cost of that, and without any advantage for living right here and right now.
Making a meaning of life is not a difficult matter. It is only portrayed that way by the unscrupulous and the religiously brainwashed. If believed, it can have disastrous results that humanity can well do without. Some have already been mentioned, but nearly every harmful aberration on the planet is the result.
Look at some of the many meaning of life possibilities that are just sitting there waiting to be grabbed, that do not require too much extended effort more than a slight shift in perception.
Would you not like to join the many who are aware of the near infinite chance of their very existence, alive in a mind-boggling huge and ancient Universe where natural and not super-natural laws rule absolutely, and see it as a thing of constant joy and wonderment. Along with this comes the recognition that all others and everything else, has had the same luck, and it is only circumstance that has made that luck a greater or lesser occurrence. To be actively involved in helping with the averaging-out of this initial luck in a fairer manner, without the expectation of “spiritual” or material reward, is a meaning of life that is not surpassable.
This is not to say that all can or should slavishly devote themselves to causes and projects to the exclusion of self, excepting in short bursts. Interests of humans are innumerable and each must find their own niche. It may be work, relationships with other people, with other creatures, ecological systems or hobbies. An achievable balance must be the aim.
Nearly everyone, with a little effort, can find a way to encompass some of the many facets open to them, and learn to face life with an ever-expanding positive outlook. No-one can expect to be exuberantly happy all the time but even when unhappiness seems all-enveloping, the constant thought of achievable future happiness is a worthy and crucial goal in itself.
When acting on this information it must be remembered that there are only two mutually exclusive choices:
A meaning of life in preparation for death, or, a meaning of life for the living of the only life you will ever have.
By David Nicholls