To ask if there is a meaning behind our life is as rich a question as we can know. This has been the aim of the world’s philosophers and religious thinkers. It is the question behind the search for life after this, the purpose of dying, and the pursuit of something better. We have believed that we deserve so much, that in our pursuits for happiness, wealth, and satisfaction we will find that thing. That in our pursuits we will discover a special orb of deep satisfaction that will make the morning that much sweeter and the evening that much more satisfying.
The morning and night is an analogy we often use for the death and regeneration of all that is living. We do this as we view the world as a timeline. Like each new day we have a beginning and an end, we think. Our bodies are part of who we are and we use them and misuse them at will. We draw comparisons between the infiniteness of the universe and our short lives, of which we have no reference point to understand. We struggle with the ideas that define the major events of our lives as we struggle with the greatness and immensity of the world, galaxy, and universe beyond.
The complexity of our daily lives are dwarfed by the complexity of our bodies, let alone the movements of nature, the seasons, and the people around us. It is never enough to ask what is behind it all or what purpose we might have for the few short years we have on this planet. We feel that we are destined or deserve to know the answer – knowing well and good that our questions will only turn to more complex questions, to which a person could spend their entire lives in pursuit to only end with the same question. The only danger in our queries is for one to know with certainty.
To say we have the answer to it all and the meaning behind everything is akin to saying the moon is the reason for the changing tides while ignoring the complexity of planetary positions and the gravity that keeps it in place. It is an impossible pursuit.
We are simple, small, and dangerous. In the limited time we have we do so little. Even the greatest of the great are only able to do so much. We measure this greatness in the acts that change cultures, civilizations, and create or destroy empires. We will look to almost anyone for answers and a feeling of purpose, no matter how small, how fleeting, and how destructive the cost may be.
We forget that we are all just one species out of millions on one out of billions of planets in one out of billions of galaxies. But we forget because we can not comprehend. Whether by nature or divine intent we have been chosen; whether by nature or a higher power, we are to be limited and have to struggle. We are a part of all that is around us. We have been programed to think of that which is not in our immediate presence as an other; an almost fictional presence we can not understand nor have any real hope in doing so. But we must remember that we are all part of the same. Our lifetime is a cycle just as the earth is on a rotation and like seasons we come and go. If we think we can comprehend it all we have not considered much of what there is to consider.
In this sense the answer to why we are here is only meaningless in that we expect a response from God or nature. There is no answer, only the question. It could be that to ask the question is the meaning we have been seeking. Why am I here? What is next? What do I do with my life? Where do I go from here? Why is there pain? Why is death the final condition? It is not your lot to receive an answer. It is important to know why you ask the question. Why do we want to know what we can not know?
For that reason find your peace with the universe as you have with your creator, be it divine or star dust. Ask questions of the world around you and be grateful when you discover what you did not know before. Ask too much and you will be disappointed. Ask too little and you will miss out on what you are capable of knowing. Never try to control your immediate world but be grateful when life hands you something unexpected and wonderful. Expect that the best and the worst are very real possibilities and that you are never promised anything at all – not even the food you will eat or a cover from the elements.
Remember that the more secure you are in your life the harder it will be to let go when things change; as they will. The greatest of empires have fallen. The strongest armies of antiquity are remembered only in the pages of history and the crumbling monuments erected in their honor. This is the progression of everything. We can not stop it. We can not control. We can only accept, as it is the only way to understand what is was meant to be.
Since civilization began people have destroyed each other for scraps of metal and pieces of land; killed each other for pride and limited power. We have all been born into the idea that war is the answer. We have accepted this as how it must be. But I will have none of it.
There is another way. We must call it by name. There is no peace as this is simply the antithesis of violence. There is no happiness as this is the antithesis of sadness. We must find in our humanity the element of something great. We have to see what there is to know inside; not our fears, doubts, and the walls we build for survival. We must move past survival and conquest and master the meaninglessness that is our own existence. This is not as it seems. It is not a hollow pursuit. There is no shame in realizing your finality. The truly meaningless act would be to surrender your limited life to the pursuit of temporary objects and fleeting desires. But we must regain what makes us human. We must survive and progress as we have for thousands of years. We must move past our dangerous obsessions and, much life our ancestors developed financial exchange, move on to new pursuits motivated by different needs and forces.
The search for the meaning of life is not a question, it is an acceptance. It is a way of life. It is a method of observing the world around us.
In the beginning was something we do not know. We do not know because we can not know. But it is here, and so are we. It will be here when we are not. And that will not change for all the answers we hope to find.