It seems that I am not the only one in a thoughtful mood these days. Not the only one feeling a bit sad and down. Not the only one thinking about the big picture – thinking about what the point of everything is. At least Shalabieh and Ehab seem to be wandering in the same circles as me.
You usually ask the big questions in life – and to life – in periods where you are not feeling well. When you are sad, depressed and feeling down – when life makes absolutely no sense – these are the times you ask for it. Sense. The meaning of it all.
When you are on top of things – maybe even happy – then there is no reason to ask for meaning because you can feel that you are on the right path. Life makes sense – so there is no reason to ask questions.
But I am in a period right now where I ask myself these impossible questions. Because that is what they are - impossible. What is the meaning of it all? Why are we here? I guess man has asked himself these questions since the beginning of time.
The biological answer is probably the most simple. The meaning of life is to survive. Life is about eating, drinking, sleeping and procreating – making sure the species lives on. Life is survival – at least it is for most animals in the world – man has just developed the ability to reflect on this (rather depressing) fact.
From a humanistic point of view I guess the meaning is to make a difference in the world and to help others. From a nihilistic point of view life has no meaning and the social constructivists believes that life has the meaning that we give it our selves. Whatever that is supposed to mean. The meaning of life is whatever you want it to be…
Then there is the divine point of view. Some times I really envy the people who are capable of putting all of their trust in God. You do not have to search for the meaning – God is the answer to all of your questions. God has put us on earth for a reason, so even if we do not always understand we can safely put our lives in his hands. We do not need to worry about the meaninglessness that we sometimes feel. I believe in God, but unfortunately not enough to completely ignore the questions that constantly comes to my mind and heart. But sometimes I wish I did – so I could let go of the frustration and the hopelessness. Faith is a very powerful thing – no wonder it is still so influential – even today.
Most people hurry far away if you open your mouth and start to talk about the meaning of life. “Don’t ask that question” they say. “You will never find an answer and you will go mad thinking about it for too long”. I guess they are right. But I will take the madness then – because I cannot ignore it. I cannot go through life without a sense of meaning. Without a purpose. I do not want to wake up in 20 years and realize that I wasted my life striving for things that are utterly insignificant.
I have always been a romantic. I have always been convinced that the meaning of life is love. To love and to be loved. But this conviction turns into a big problem when love fades. When your heart breaks – your whole life breaks. The one thing, which you put all your trust and hope in, is gone – and then life is all of a sudden meaningless.
On a less serious note there is also Monty Python to whom the meaning of life is nothing very special: “Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations”.
Another possible answer to the big question could also be a very short one. Maybe the meaning of life is simply 42?