The Meaning of “IT” all… does it matter?!?

Part I:  The Questions

What is it that gives life purpose and meaning?  Or put another way, what it is that makes life worth living?  Certainly, we have all pondered these questions at some point in our lives.  Many of us have probably heard the questions so many times, and heard so many different answers to it, that we do not even know where to begin to find our own answers.  Maybe some us think that the questions are pointless.  Maybe life does not really need to have any purpose or meaning.  Or, maybe we do not really need to know what life’s purpose and meaning are in order to be happy.  Maybe we seem to get along quite well without really knowing.

So does it matter?  Does life HAVE to have purpose and meaning?  And if so, what IS it? If you are among those who do not think that life has to have purpose and meaning and that you think you get along just fine without them, then all I have to say to you is, “just wait.”  There will come a time in your life when it will matter.  That time came in my life when I began to feel the struggle of the day-to-day routine.  It was a time when I began to realize that I was not Superman and that I was beginning to be aware of the limits of my emotional control, my intellectual power and my physical strength.

It scared me – It happened to me at about age 25.  You, too, will run into those same limits at some point in your life, and it will scare the b**p out of you, too.  You will discover those limits more than once.  They will stare you in the face, and force you to deal with them.  And they will scare you!  They will show you that you are mortal, that you are in decline, your most virile days are behind you, and the days ahead are numbered.  You are aging; it is the beginning of a slow, steady decline that leads inevitably to frailty, dependence, discomfort, senility, loss and death.  In those moments, how you choose to respond to that realization and its accompanying fear, will determine what you do about the questions of life’s purpose and meaning.

If all we are is flesh and blood … Really, if all we are is flesh and blood – just mere, unintended, coincidental byproducts of impersonal processes, involving essential matter and energy – and if there really is no eternal purpose behind our existence – in other words, if nothing about us really matters in an eternal sense – then why should we go on living? Seriously…, try to answer that question.  Why should you live?  Why not just “check out” now and get it over with?  Why spend the next 80 or so years getting out of bed, working to earn money to pay bills, to have food and a place to sleep, just to end up broken and gone?  What is the point?  With a worldview that contains this world and nothing more, the best answers we can give to those questions will only be good until that moment when we lose consciousness for the last time.  If the only purpose and meaning we can give to ourselves is tied to this world, then ultimately our lives mean nothing.  We know that the amount of time that this world will last, relative to the universe, will be an imperceptible blip on the scale of time.  Literally, the time span of our lives in this world accounts for next to nothing.

 Here today and gone tomorrow...  That’s it!?!

Think for a second about all of the people who lived on Earth in the year 1000 AD.  Where are they now?  Gone and elapsed.  None of them are alive today.  No one alive today remembers their names or anything else about them.  They may as well never have existed.  People living a thousand years from now will probably feel the same way about us.  None of us will be alive.  The living will not know our names or anything else about us.  We may as well never have existed. 

If none of this disturbs you, again I say, “Just wait.”  It will.

If you believe that life has purpose and meaning, but you do not know what they are, then I urge you to find out.  The quality of your existence is too precious to you to let those questions go unanswered.  If you hope to go on living somewhere after this life has passed, please do not think that you are just going to “get lucky” and end up safe and sound somewhere “on the other side,” wherever that is.  My friend, the gate to eternity is too narrow to hit without aiming.

Fortunately, there is a way to get through that gate.  Stay tuned for Part II: What’s Going on Here?

by Chad Weinberg

 

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