The ‘Meaning’ of Life

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

To be,

It seems to me,

Is as subjective,

As not to be,

Isn’t.

(freewillisntfree.com)

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.

L

Sonnet for Peace

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.

(freewillisntfree.com)