A Boy's Search For Meaning
I've been on a philosophical binge. While most people are enjoying Labor Day weekend, I'm in bed writing with a cold (apologies in advance for incoherent thinking). But honestly, life moves so quickly. If more people took even the slightest break from their day-in, day-out routine to question the beauty of existence, I think the world would be a more peaceful place.
Is There a Meaning of Life?
Jonathan Fields of The Good Life Project asked 29 culture taste-makers the following question: "What does it mean to live a good life?" If you take a moment to check out their responses you'll discover that they're all over the map. Thus, affirming my suspicion that if there is indeed a "meaning of life", it must be highly personal to the individual. In Douglas Adam's A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the number "42" is the meaning of life. Thought provoking, but it just doesn't satisfy.
Would Knowing Life's Purpose Change The Way We Live?
Even if there was a fortune cookie response to the mysterious purpose of life, I'm not really sure how knowing this information would change our lives. First we don't exist, then we're born, then we die. So far, no living organism has escaped this fate. Holocaust survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl, shares his own mind-exploding experience regarding his quest for life's meaning in his haunting memoire, A Man's Search For Meaning. What amazes me is that after every form of identity had been stripped from prisoners and there was seemingly nothing left to look forward to, Frankl shares how he and his fellow inmates were still able to find a meaning for life:
If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.
What does living a good life mean to you? How do you rationalize our relatively minuscule existence compared to the mammoth timeline of eternity? What's your why? I ask only out of curiosity. I'm constantly in awe of life, even while sick on Labor Day weekend.
Frankl concludes his exploration on the meaning of life by writing, "Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked." So instead of asking the question in life, it seems as though the best way to answer is with life.
I'm a huge fan of Jason Silva and his YouTube series called, Shots of Awe. Or as Jason likes to call it, philosophical shots of espresso. Thanks Tim Ferriss for introducing me to Jason's work. Start with this video.