Thursday, August 30, 2012

Having meaning without a meaning.

Religious people often state that their religion gives their life a meaning. It is then the obvious counter claim that they say that we as atheists must feel life is worthless, since we don't have religion behind us. There is some truth there, but the answer is not what they claim it to be. I do in fact think that there isn't a meaning for my life. However I will also state that I feel that there is much meaning in my life.

It is my opinion that having a meaning is vastly different than having meaning. A meaning for life suggests a basic rule for all our lives. That we are all here for a greater purpose, and have a plan made just for us. A single universal purpose... nay, a mission that makes life beautiful and purposeful to those that believe as such. Then there is having 'meaning in your life'. To me this is something more personal, that differs for each of us. This can define your likes, interests, people you love, etc. This is something one can still have without first embracing that they also have 'a meaning'.

I myself, do not feel my life or any other life has a grand meaning. We are not here on some cosmic mission. There is no predetermined plan for my life that I am meant to live like a script. I am here by accident, or shear luck depending on your point of view. I could much more easily not have been, than to exist as I do. Does this simple act of existence require that I was born to fulfill a lifelong quest of some kind in order to validate my existence? No, of course not. So would the claim that my stance of 'not having a purpose/meaning for my life' mean that I must not appreciate life and feel pointless and worthless. On the contrary! The odds of my being born as I was, where I was and when I was are extremely minuscule. The fact that I still received the gift of this life, against all odds, makes me appreciate it all the more. What more, I know that this one short life is all I will have and that I better make the most of it. In my opinion, the idea that a deity created each of us for the sole reason of carrying our a life's mission devalues our existence and scoffs at the incredibly tiny odds that we overcame to receive this beautiful gift.

As I have stated, I opine that my life does not have a meaning. Yet, I feel that my life is full of meaning as well. We each make our life have whatever meaning we want it to have. For me it's loving my wonderful wife, enjoying my friends, family and pets, being amazed by scientific discovery and the cosmos, the unrivaled beauty of nature, the yearn to always continue learning, enjoying art and my design work, appreciating the music I like, etc... This all means something to me and fills my life with joy. Our journey through life crafts it's meanings. They are the things that make us enjoy life and appreciate it. The things that may touch the lives of others and bring us personal joy. Not a scripted ultimatum of life. As George Bernard Shaw once said... Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. So don't just stand there and wonder what a deity would want of you and is you have a cosmic purpose. Get out there and enjoy life to it's fullest. After all, living life to the fullest and enjoying it is what makes you who you are, and what life is all about.

-BH


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