I can say with a certain confidence that question – “Does life have a meaning?” – is the most popular question that arises in a certain group of friends after they have had too much to drink.
Especially if this group consists of your average ‘Joe’, ‘Steve’ and ‘Bob’.
By no means do I imply that average is in any way demeaning towards this group. One can only be demeaning if one says certain things that are not true.
P.S. Stick to the last paragraph…
Average Joe in Rollercoaster
Why has this question gained such immense popularity? Simply because media has made it into something big.
“You must seek the meaning of life!”
“Money is not the meaning of life, love is!”
“You will be happy when you find the meaning of your life!
These are only a few examples. While some of the stuff posted above and elsewhere in the World Wide Web may have some truth to it, the way how it is explained is utterly wrong.
All these generic stories are regurgitated by gurus all across the globe in all colors, varieties, and languages.
As a consequence, our beloved average Joe, Steve, and Bob start to seek their meaning of life without actually understanding what-the-actual-duck they are looking for.
Furthermore, they have no idea what will they do when (and if, obviously) they find this unique meaning to their lives except that it will allegedly make their life fulfilled and therefore happy.
Let’s look at this from a different perspective, using casual and simple terms. I look at people who try to answer the question of whether life has a meaning with pity.
Did that sound arrogant? Good!
Stick around and continue reading.
Have you ever been to a rollercoaster?
It’s fun, scary, amazing, disturbing and so many other things. The thing is when you sat in it, did you try to answer what is the purpose of it?
Let’s suppose you did although I am pretty sure you were too fucking excited or scared to think about anything else.
The rollercoaster takes you from place A to place B, preferably, in an entertaining way.
What else can take you from A→B?
Car…Bike…Legs… Heck, even hands if you are strong enough!
The main point is the “meaning” of the rollercoaster is not unique to the rollercoaster itself. There is nothing special about it. It just exists.
It takes people from A→B and that is it. Just like your life. It takes you from birth to death.
You are going down that hill and you are feeling the breeze of the wind against your cheeks and you don’t give a damn about what is the purpose of the rollercoaster while it gets the job done. You were enjoying the ride!
What would happen if that wouldn’t be the case?
Take a wild guess. You might as well start reflecting about its purpose, what it’s meant to do, what it could do, while totally missing the whole point.
By thinking about all that you are not being delivered A→B in an entertaining way which was the one and only meaning in the first place!
Throw Out the Fast-Food
If you are just way too average, then you still are not getting my point.
It’s totally fine, I mean, the truth is 100% Raw, 100% Organic, and 100% stripped out of the last bits of Romanticism still left in the world.
It is not beautiful. It is not pleasant. But then again, hey, nobody promised you that.
Except, of course, all two-faced eels who bake inspirational quotes for breakfast only to later throw them on your Instagram plate and laugh while you gobble that shit down your throat.
Have you ever seen anyone grabbing onto carrot as their life depended on it? What about a chocolate bar or a burger?
Knowing the truth is more desirable for your emotional and mental health but since ignorance is bliss, you are better off getting morbidly obese on all the pseudo-facts delivered to you for free by pseudo-gurus.
Does life have a meaning?
After all this brainwashing, you feel unhappy only because someone told you that love is the way or helping others is the way, or getting children to take care of is the real meaning of life.
Love is great. Helping others is awesome. Children are amazing. There is one very relevant message I had the urge to tell you since the beginning of this post.
I just thought I should prepare you for it. Sit down, take a deep breath. LIFE DOES NOT HAVE A MEANING.
“Now That Just Can’t Be True. You Are A Cynical Bastard. How Dare You.” – you may say…
Anyone with some basic knowledge in biology will at least partially agree with me right off the bat. For those of you who don’t – Please, don’t limit yourselves to such generic accusations and, moreover, don’t let it grind you up from the inside.
Below there’s a comment section meant for meaningful discussions, be sure to thank me or hate me there.
The thing is, there is not a lot that separates humans from fish or from the tree growing outside your house that also happens to be your dog’s best friend every time he needs to take a leak. All living things have five things in common:
- Organization – all living things are made up of cells, their count may vary but they have a strict structure within the cell and cells themselves are organized in a neat manner.
- Metabolism – a mix of different biochemical reactions that allow the organism to sustain itself.
- Homeostasis – the ability of organisms (even if comprised of a single cell) to maintain optimal conditions for metabolism to happen.
- Growth – one cell becomes larger and many cells divide and accumulate to make the whole organism take a particular shape.
- Reproduction – Living organisms can reproduce themselves and create new living organisms.
Five things that must be found in an organism to claim it is alive. As you probably noticed, I didn’t add anything else.
Like, Meaning of life? How would you even define it? Do all living things seek to find the meaning of life? I hope you do find that as ridiculous as I do.
If we were to define a meaning to life then it is quite simple. Be Alive. Every single cell in your body wants to live as long as possible and that’s that.
Another problem with Life’s meaning, besides the fact that everyone’s trying to sell it to you is that you actually feel you are entitled to one just because you are a human being.
How arrogant and miserable is that?
Herein lies the cause of the pity I feel for everyone who is seeking for it. We are being taught that we are something special.
Born from a golden egg. The rough truth (Again!) is that our DNA (basically what defines the difference between species) differs by approximately 2% from that of chimpanzees.
Who’s laughing now about monkeys? You are no more than a next-gen chimpanzee. That tiny difference has been of great impact on our world around us, for sure, however, the fact remains the same. Feel special?
Religion as a meaning of life
I will start pressing the red buttons because the next point is religion. Religions come and go. If you are born in country A you are more likely to be brought up with religious views that are most popular there and it is the only determining factor.
Different religions have been trying to give you the same pseudo-meaning. A miserable one and yet, nevertheless, meaning. Basically, they say – be a slave.
Yep, you heard me, be a slave and everything else will be taken care of.
Be a slave to someone that is all super-powerful and although your life will be shit, at least you are going to get a sweet afterlife.
Just when you thought slavery was so 19th century-and-late, right?
Listen, I get it.
You are into banging your head against the floor, starving yourself when some dude tells you to and doing some basic thing that’s written in a fiction book.
It has no meaning in itself BUT somehow through decades and millenniums, we all have been trained to feel like this is the right way to live our lives because it’s easier to control a herd of sheep rather than a crowd of sheepdogs.
What I am getting at is that sure, we do have a cool thing called consciousness and abstract thinking and we can make neat stuff with it, explore the universe and what-not. The only problem for me is our total fucking inability to use it properly.
Our self-taught arrogance and the feeling of superiority, while mixed up with thousands of religions that blur our perception have deceived us into thinking we are something more than living, organic matter with the small bonus of being able to paint some shit on the fabric or build some shit in a more sophisticated way than our long-forgotten cousins.
Life Does Not Have a Meaning. Life starts, go on, you make a kid or two (or more if you are in Africa), and then you die. Max you can squeeze out of your life is planting a tree on top of your rotting body that is being eaten by worms a few days after your “soul has gone to heaven”. Hopefully, you don’t fucking care what happens to your body, since it was just a phase, just a temporary entertainment for your “meaningful and eternal soul” while it’s on a fast-lane to hell, paradise or whichever place you believe you deserve to go.
A Very Meaningful Postnatal Depression
If after this you come to the conclusion that your life doesn’t need a generic label then great, you have finally given birth to a useful thought after x years of your otherwise meaningless life.
What to do with this information?
Do you feel empty?
It’s a good thing.
You can fill an empty vessel with a bunch of interesting, amazing and useful things. This time, put a lot of effort into this and leave all the crap outside.
Live your life as it is the only one.
You don’t get second chances. You don’t get to please your master or his servants in order to get a special VIP ticket to someplace special. Your organism possesses cool features but it’s hardly unique and those who say otherwise either lack necessary education or are just plain ignorant.
Is this it?
Should you just go to your 9-5, earn your 401(k) and get two children? Do what you like.
There is no meaning in life as much as there is no right way to live life. You are the judge to yourself.
Not the fictional character in the sky or below the ground. Not your brothers, sisters or friends. Be yourself.
Life is the meaning and the absurdity of life itself.
I understand your doubts about what you have just read.
Mull it over, sleep on it. Accept that you (a human being,a species) are not the center of the world and the sole ability to think abstractly does not guarantee you a ticket to world dominance Your life is not of bigger importance than that of the flower in your pot. It may seem so, but it is not.
There is another point that should be taken into account. While the flower can’t choose where to be in the pot you can.
You have granted certain cool features as I mentioned above. Use them, develop your own thoughts, share them, discuss them. Win arguments, Lose arguments.
Life in itself is purposeless. Nevertheless, you can become a rationally thinking and wonderful creature!
Be sure to check other posts regarding life meaning: