Standing in front of the mirror she didn’t like what she saw. Her face had a haggard look, roots of hair showing white. Crows feet beginning to develop near her eyes. When did this happen? When did she let go of herself?
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest..“
I am learning so many new things in these COVID times. Our life style has totally altered and the way we spend our time has changed.. we long to go back to the normal times and are scared of facing the “New Normal” .
Lockdown has given me a lot of time in my own company. Which I usually don’t like doing at all. I like to meet people and talk to them and usually thrive on these conversations and participate in lot of activities be it at my workplace or neighborhood.
So in that way this lockdown has been very difficult for me. Phone calls or video calls are not the same. But still we are managing.
In one such call with my niece where we were ranting about our lockdown woes. She said she had become an Absurdist now.. “I don’t believe that there is any meaning in life…” she said.
This got me thinking. I dived into the Internet to find out whether this was even a legitimate word or not. To my surprise it is.
All human beings seem to crave meaning, search for it, and create it. We constantly make up stories out of our lives to give them meaning. And we search for explanations for the universe in general. Religion may be the most popular source of meaning for people; believing in a god or gods, a spirit-world, an afterlife, or a holy book, or practicing ritual, prayer, or meditation makes life meaningful for many people. And religion is not the only possibility: people find meaning for their lives in nationalism, science, Marxism, art, and many other beliefs and practices.
Absurdists see all of these attempts as ultimately doomed, in a sense. Not that absurdists think it’s pointless to do anything, but they believe that no matter what you do, you cannot escape the absurdity of being a human being. It’s not exactly the universe which is absurd in absurdism, but rather the fact that humans are innately driven to look for meaning in an ultimately meaningless universe. Whatever stories we tell to give meaning to our lives are just that — stories, fictions.
I know the above philosophy may not be acceptable to all. I don’t mean to offend anyone’s belief.
But sometimes in the time of despair we might have all gone through this kind of phase where life seems totally meaningless.. 2020 is that kind of a phase for me. With the pandemic, the super cyclone, the gas leak, earthquake, planes falling out of the sky, the locust attack everything coming in quick succession has really made me wonder that the things we used to strive for are actually so meaningless. We are actually surviving without many thing that we thought we could never do without.
Its basically the pandemic which has altered everything. Businesses are closed and people who were supposed to be affluent are also struggling to juggle the big EMIs, bills, fees, rent to be paid and zero or drastically reduced income. The poor are absolutely on the road. And all this in a matter of three months.
Really makes me wonder we study all our life to make a career, a living. We spend our whole life in building up a career or a business. Just to see it topple and turn into dust in a matter of days. Because of reasons which are way beyond our scope to thought. Isnt it all meaning less?
The daily positive thoughts for the day which I get through Social media and the inspirational stories all seem meaningless once I watch the news. Its seems all gloom and doom everywhere.
Hopefully, these dark clouds will lift soon from this world and my thoughts too.
“By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.“
In the search of finding “the meaning of meaning”, the abstract subjectivity of meaning reflects the absolute need for its search for the meaning. The meaning of meaning denotes the abstractness of its purpose, its value, its significance, and its existence. But the sense of the search for meaning absolutely reflects the urgency, the importance, and the inner hunger for it.
The meaning of meaning cannot be defined without the knowledge and alongside we need wisdom since wisdom instructs us about the timely implementation of knowledge or else knowledge becomes meaningless. Validating the need of both Wisdom & Knowledge the Bible clearly warns us,
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.
I was always blamed for not having knowledge and wisdom and not understanding someone else’s situation. I was tagged as rude – judge-mental – bossy. As I tried to gain some knowledge and learn some wisdom, my sorrows and grief were doubled. Since I was able to understand someone else’ struggle the feeling of their pain become more tangible to me, moreover now in my life it wasn’t just my sorrows & grief alone! The question that taunts me now – “What’s the meaning for gaining wisdom & knowledge?”
Since our childhood, we were constantly encouraged to study well so that we can be successful. In my attempt for success I tried to learn from the experiences of the stalwarts of success. One from that list is famous British writer Jack Higgins (original name: Henry Patterson). The book that gave breakthrough to Jack Higgins and was sold over 50 million copies was, “The Eagle Has Landed (1975)”. He wrote this book towards the later years of his life and he quotes there;
“When you get to the top, you find nothing there.
I wish I would have known it as a small boy, he added”.
Again, the question that taunts me now – “What’s the meaning of being successful?”
In school, we learned “FOOD – SHELTER – CLOTHE” are the basic needs for a good life but the 21st century talks “MONEY – AFFLUENCE – INFLUENCE” is all that you need for a good life. Youngsters today says, ‘The more Money you throw, the best food, shelter & clothe you will get. The more Affluence you have, the more secured you are and the more your Influence are, the more you will be in the spotlight. In the words of the NOW Generation, MONEY-AFFLUENCE-INFLUENCE brings meaning to a good life. Well, flipping the pages of history we see Alexander the Great said, “keep my both hands and both legs dangling out from my coffin so that the world may know what I brought and what I am taking away”. Not he alone, sounding the same the Great, Rich Israeli King well-known as Wise King Solomon towards his final pen, he wrote,
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
The question prompts me, “What’s the meaning of treasuring Money, Affluence and being in the spotlight?”
The pain of meaninglessness does not instruct us to refrain from acquiring wisdom, knowledge, success and money rather it insists on us to introspect our urge for it. It reminds me of the great quote of the English writer and Philosopher G. K Chesterton said,
“Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain.
Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.
Quoting from the speech of Ravi Zacharias at the Veritas Forum, as final words to this article I would like to pen, “The cancer of our time is realizing the meaninglessness in our life and it can only be treated by God alone!” Man, with his finite amount of knowledge and strengths of life hasn’t left any stone unturned to understand & realize the meaning of being meaninglessness in life. But alas, he has bitterly failed and sadly, there is no one else among the living ones to treat the cancer of our time – MEANINGLESSNESS.
God, being infinite and eternal in His existence understands the malady of our human heart and has warned us in the Bible,
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
“Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor...“
“Take hold of instruction; actively seek it, grip it firmly and do not let go.
Guard her, for she is your life.“