Monday, September 22, 2008

The Meaning of Life

I have a brain that likes to wander onto the meaning of things. This, of course, has lead me onto the perennial question that we all must wonder at some point in our lives - the meaning of life.

At this point, if I had an audience, I can almost guarantee there'd be at least one person thinking that the answer was 42. I must congratulate that anonymous fellow on his originality and creativity. Don't worry, you're not alone; if I hadn't thought of that myself, this little paragraph would never have existed.

But in seriousness, this is a question that I have thought through many times, and after some thinking, I came to a conclusion that fit with what I have experienced so far in my life, and my understanding of the way of things. And the reason that I came up with is one that, at an earlier point in my life, I acknowledged as being one of my greatest fears. Strangely enough, when I reached this point, I did not feel afraid, or any similar emotion. It was as if I'd known it, deep down, for a long time, and it just took some time for my brain to understand it.

Life has no inherent point.

That in itself is quite astounding, and I know that there are a fair amount of Christians (as well as those of other religons, although Christianity is the only religion that I'm familiar with) out there who will immediately write me off at this point as an ungrounded atheist who is damned to eternal damnation. Oops. If you're still with me after that statement, I will now explain it.

As my last paragraph may have suggested, I am in fact not a religious person. This was not always the case, in fact has only been the case for less than a third of my life, but has become true in the past few years.

The matter of my religiousness is not entirely a simple case of me not believing in God, or any other deity/spirituality. On the contrary, I find myself open to the notion that there are many things about this world that mankind cannot explain, at least not in this day and age, and there is the possibility of God/intelligent design/etc. I believe that there are powers in this world beyond the current understanding of man (and is that that unlikely, considering that not too long ago we did not really know anything about electricity? A power outside our current understanding does not necessarily mean magic). But I do not, at this point in my life anyways, care too much whether or not there is a God. If there is a God, I may be burning in eternal hellfire for saying that, but I'm not convinced that there is and I don't see why I should go out of my way to change the way I live for the chance of an afterlife I'm not sure exists.

I have been Christian, Catholic to be specific, and I don't see myself going back. I've done the whole religious thing - read the bible, gone to church, said the rosary. I've accepted God into my heart and, now, I don't know that it really did anything for me. I don't remember feeling particularly different then than I do now, other than that I spent time worshipping God where now I spend time doing other things with my life. I have some good friends who are Christian, but they have talked about how 'your life cannot be complete until you have accepted God'. They have even gone so far as to state that 'You may think that you feel complete, but you do not. You will realise this once you accept God into your life.' I have accepted God into my life in the past, and while I won't say that there is no God, it did not do much for me. As I do not know for sure that he exists, I have chosen to stop living my one and only one life as if he did, when life is short enough already without praying, church, etc.

So, without me knowing of any religion that properly explains the world (a lot of them prescribe to 'taking things on faith' too much for me to take them seriously, as not thinking is rarely how I go about doing things), Religion plays no role in my life.

So what purpose does that leave? As a 'big picture' person, I have to accept the following:
1) In terms of religion, there is no greater being that is too concerned with how my life will turn out.
2) That leaves the world, but as far as I know, the world is not working towards a greater purpose, but instead spinning around the sun regularly.
3) There is also universe, but I fail to see what the goal of the universe is, or how I am working towards it.
4) As such, with there being no grander force who has a goal for my outcome (and me not being sure I would care if there was, depending on what that goal was), then my life has no greater meaning.

That is, no greater meaning than the meaning that I, myself, give it.
And I feel that the way that I live my life has enough meaning for me. One day I will die, and I have accepted that. I do not know when it will be or how it will happen - it could happen tomorrow, or it could happen in five minutes, or I could live to be the oldest man alive. There is no guarantee, so my only course of action is to live life now as if it could end at any time.

Or, as the old saying goes,
"Life like you'll die tomorrow,
plan like you'll live forever."

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