LIVE – MEANING OF LIFE

Albert Camus

‘You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.’

Religious texts, prophets, saints and the newest fads in wholesome living all advocate you to find the meaning of life – find out your purpose and live the way you ‘ought’ to live life.

Quite frankly and I’ll be blunt about it, I don’t get it. I don’t understand why we are so preoccupied with the true meaning of life. What I don’t understand even more is what finding out the meaning of life has to do with religion, because life, in my opinion, came before we found religion. In fact, at the cost of being branded an atheist, I’ll admit here that I feel life is far bigger and more complex a concept than religion. It may be just a four letter word, but it encompasses within itself concepts that none of us mortals will be able to figure out within one single lifetime, and that religion is only a part of life itself. Even if someone served us the meaning of life on a platter, it will take a much more evolved human brain than ours to grasp its entire meaning. For who are we, but puny human beings, living on limited air and time?

To me, the exercise of devoting one’s entire life to finding the meaning of life is a life not lived because life has so much to offer than trying to figure out what it’s about. To me, the question is rather subjective. The meaning of life could mean different things to different people. If a saint comes and tells me that the meaning of life is blah, blah, blah, I won’t nod my head in mute acquiescence. I’ll say, ‘that’s your way of thinking, not mine’.

To give you an example, a few months back India was witness to two parents abandoning their toddler to the care of her aged grandparents, in order to become Jain monks. They relinquished the world and embraced monkhood. For those of us who do not know about this, please read about it here. I don’t know about you but when I read the news I felt that they had wronged their toddler daughter by relinquishing her to care of their parents. They relinquished their duty as parents, something that should have come over and above everything else to them. But that is not what they think. To them the true meaning of life lay in religious pursuit.

My reason for giving you this example was not to tell you my opinion of whether their action was wrong or right, it was to show you that there is a difference of opinion in what matters in life most. There is thus, inherently, a difference of opinion in the assumed answer to the question ‘what is the meaning of life’.

To a pauper, the true meaning of life may be to earn enough one day to leave the footpath for good. To a rich man, it may be finding a balance between his work and home life. The purpose of a mother may be to ensure the good upbringing of her child, but the purpose of a career woman would be to be the CEO of a good company. A priest may find peace in devotion to religion, while a scientist may find it in a new invention. Who do you think is right or wrong? None of them!

So when two people, their desires, the way they think, the way they attain their goals, their very raison d’etre are different, how can they concur on what is the meaning of life?

Life is so many things to so many people, it’s meanings cannot be ascribed to a few set ways in which a few of us perceive it. To me, life is about a careful balance of pleasure and duty, ambition and sacrifice. I believe there are a set of duties that all of us mortals were born to fulfil, and some pleasures that every one of us must be entitled to enjoy. If we have ambition then we must remember to let it not trample on the lives of others. That is a kind of sacrifice and a duty. And that is not the only sacrifice that a human being must make in his life. When a person achieves a near perfect balance in these two sets of extremes, is when I believe we have found meaning in life.

My point is, and you may not agree with it, but that’s your opinion, that figuring out the meaning of life is keeping you from fulfiling your very purpose of existing on this planet – living your life – which is why you have life running in your veins. All of us have a life because we were supposed to live it. We have different ways of living it and that is fine, because there cannot be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way of living. We all live according to what our circumstances allow.

I believe that we have only one life to do and be all that we wish to do and be. I feel that if we do not forget to be ‘humane’ at all times and lead a life of peace and harmony, balancing our duties against our pleasures at all times, is when we will not need to search for the meaning of life.

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7 thoughts on “LIVE – MEANING OF LIFE

  1. Pradita, that’s Such a wonderful write-up. To tell you the truth, I am sick and tired of people telling me the meaning of life is this, that n all.. I feel like screaming back to them that everyone has their way of looking at it. I have heard many people saying, “Find the purpose of your life”, it makes no sense to me because, the purpose of our life is no where written. Frankly speaking if someone ever really finds out the meaning of their life I don’t know how they validate it to find if it’s true or isn’t…

    We have to live our life handling our responsibilities and not miss the essence of life…I can relate to and am in agreement with each & every word scribed in your article.. Loved it..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pradita… Pradita…Pradita…!

    I might not be a good Dada today 😉 while commenting on this particular article of a sis who’s absolutely fantastic when she presents an issue…

    Albert Camus says, “I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.” This quote of him was as contradicting as the one you had quoted. Now let’s forget him…

    God is LIFE and thus HE is the source of LIFE. And you said absolutely right when you talked about religions. God is above all religions so does LIFE. God never propagated religion but human did. So I don’t believe in religions and religiosity too. But I can’t deny God and Life and the meaning of it. Meaning of life can’t be different for different people as the source of life is ONE whether a saint says it or a sinner… doesn’t matter…

    Let me show it through your own words…

    You reacted by saying, “…they had wronged…” to the example you gave about the parents abandoning their toddler to the care of her aged grandparents, in order to become Jain monks.

    What made me smile when you said: “My reason for giving you this example was not to tell you my opinion of whether their action was wrong or right, it was to show you that there is a difference of opinion in what matters in life most.”

    No…. That was not your reason at all because in the previous paragraph three times you displayed your displeasure of their action. Your main reason behind giving this example is to tell to the whole world that “IT IS NOT SEEKING THE TRUE MEANING OF LIFE AT ALL”.

    We should not be goodie goodie when we rate a WRONG thing, as WRONG. Thank you for giving this example.

    Now my next dalil… 😉

    You again said, “To me, life is about a careful balance of pleasure and duty, ambition and sacrifice.” How do you know it? You learnt it from your parents, from others, from life situations, from books and validated all with the standards of your own conscience as RIGHT or WRONG.

    When there’s no law or standard of living with us then we live according to our consciences which bears witness, and our thoughts sometimes accuse us and at other times even defends us. That’s how a conscience functions. That is why God has given us conscience to understand what is right and wrong which you presented and expressed very clearly and beautifully as your conscience confirmed it to display what is wrong and right … Yet I felt you contradicted when you concluded, “We have different ways of living it and that is fine, because there cannot be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ way of living. We all live according to what our circumstances allow.” So you mean to say pursuing God by killing people is right as it’s another way of living…isn’t it? Propagating hatred, bribing to get a favour are all different ways of living…can’t be termed as good or bad… Right? Or am I misunderstanding your statement…? I would love to receive a feedback on my feedback.

    Finally, I would like to say nobody can match the way you present a cause or issue or subject.

    God bless you sis!!!

    Loving Regards, Dada!

    Like

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