The ‘Meaning’ of Life
life: the condition which distinguishes active animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, functional activity, and continual change preceding death…
(Oxford English Reference Dictionary (2002))
Life has so many definitions. For some, a breeze, others, a constant battle for survival. But why do so many people long for ‘meaning’ in their lives, and what do they mean by this? Meaning of your life to you? Meaning of your life to others? Meaning of life in general to all people?
Here’s my Haiku on Being again, in case you missed it:
Haiku on Being
It seems to me,
Is as subjective,
As not to be,
Creatures unburdened by consciousness don’t need meaning, my cat probably lives in a more blissful contentment than any human. Hamlet said ‘conscience does make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought’. Consciousness is an eternal torment for some, as whilst giving us the capacity for diverse positive emotions, it also provides bounteous mechanisms for the profoundly negative. To consider one’s own internal existence is an absolutely subjective experience, with an infinite amount of variables from the neurotransmitters in the nervous system to the country we were born into, the religion we were fed from infancy, the places we visit in our lives, etcetera, all influencing our overall ‘meaning’ of life. It’s a shame in my view, that people identify with each other by the similarities they share, rather than differences, so communities can inevitably become isolated and even alienated. This is just the natural tribal nature of man, but it gives rise to irrational views and acts such as nationalism, racism, fascism, religious extremism (not by any means restricted to Islam), and the list goes on, and on.
My point is that the more divided into separate groups the human race becomes, or the more people associate frankly minor differences with negative connotations, surely the more fear and hatred and war will prevail around the world. You might say I’m stating the obvious, all you have to do is look back through the history of civilisation to find enough blood spilled to fill the Mediterranean, but if it’s so obvious then why aren’t we learning from it yet? Is it the greed and power-hunger of the higher echelons? That certainly can’t help. The unwillingness of many religious groups to ‘agree to disagree’? Undoubtedly another hindrance of progress. But these are only my opinions, based on a wholly subjective existence, I just think that civilised discussion on these themes is absolutely crucial if communities are to share any mutual understanding and respect. Respect is earned, I’m sure we can all agree on that. As always dear reader, your responses are encouraged, discussion is necessary, and your opinions are as valid as mine.
Sonnet for Peace
We are all sons and daughters of the Earth,
Our skin of different shades, but blood is red
We feel our pain the same, and loss of mirth
No different in the way our tears are shed.
This world is our home, no lines are drawn
Across it’s surfaces to govern where
We can and cannot tread, when soles are worn
From being chased away, we must care.
What other hope for humanity is there?
We’re all human beings, the Earth we share.
But as it’s been divided more and more,
Divisions only lead to death and war.
If you still have hope we’re not too late,
Unity is much stronger than hate.
Britain in a Haiku
Some run down towns,
Some trees, other places,
Haiku for Syria
In times of trouble,
rubble and despair,
to be human,
we must care.
Power, Responsibility, and just the Right Thing.
Contained within the trillions of nuclei that make myself
Ingredients of sorrow, woe and agony translate themselves
Until they come to define my existence
The remnants of all other states are void
Emptiness then conquers with persistence
All forms of stimulation I avoid
But in that state of numb submission, pacified I am indeed
When lowered to self-worthlessness, one cannot comprehend man’s greed
Men whose being influences billions of other souls
Mistake responsibility for power, and corruption grows
Not only in the mind of the beholder
But spreading thick and fast and sick
Rewarding all of those whose minds grow colder
Exterminating those who might have dared to challenge it
Thus my mind full of emptiness is torturous in this respect
Existence un-deprived and un-oppressed
But still I find myself so inconsolably depressed
There must within my nuclei be other lines of code
Directing other paths down which my happiness has strode.
Why do almost all world ‘leaders’ usually appear devoid of ‘common’ characteristics like expression of emotion, empathy, compassion etc? Is it a prerequisite for a career in politics, or does the choice of life-path drain their souls of these human traits?
They can’t all be depressives, surely!
No, depressives may struggle with expression of certain emotions, but we’ve got them in us, that’s for sure. Maybe it’s the same with powerful figures except a different oppressor on the mind keeps them obscured, such as the unimaginable weight of responsibility, as opposed to the mental illness. Sir Winston Churchill dealt with both of these at a time of World War, which I find utterly astounding, and admirable beyond belief.
I can muster no envy for people with excessive power or responsibilities to other humans, maybe I just fear that the various ‘systems’ of the world will inevitably fail them, and maybe so do the leaders themselves, so avoid excessive rocking of an unstable boat in choppy waters. Speaking of which, there are humans risking their lives and literally dying trying to escape their war-torn homelands. They’re being forced out against their will, into a treacherous journey of many perils which hundreds and hundreds of human beings are not surviving. And some people in their safe and cosy country cottages or council houses want to send them back! Is empathy gradually dying out amongst human souls?! Is it burdensome to have a little compassion?!
A slight diversion from the subject there, but it’s all related really isn’t it? The leaders must display power, wealth, support, determination, etc. as long as they have them, to their people and those of other countries. But with power comes responsibility. If some of the richest countries in the world can’t pull together to help some of the most desperate and oppressed people in the world, what hope is there for mankind? I know Merkel has received much due praise for her compassionate stance on the current crisis, but the growing opposition from other sides to what seems to me, moral, is frightful, don’t you think?
Just a thought, thanks for reading .