Where Is The Meaning?
When you aren’t pleased with their answers, you find your own.
For those who live by the ultimate questions of their existence and yet cannot satisfy themselves with the religious-spiritual view nor convince themselves with the scientific-evolutionary narrative — this whole situation of existing is like a long scary dream that just doesn’t stop. In a world where we are taught to seek reason in all thoughts, feelings and actions, the perspective that there is still room for dissatisfaction on that ultimate question means the existence is the biggest joke, the biggest irony, the biggest paradox.
I don’t have enough courage to walk in the streets without reason, I can’t make a call to those whom I call friends without reason, yet here I am existing — without an indisputable truth on why I do so. Yes, if I believe hard enough or think casually enough I will be able to ignore, satisfy and convince myself on one view-point/narrative or the other, yet the fact that a question of such magnitude and relevance is open to interpretation is itself the biggest irony. Joke. Paradox.
This feeling is nothing new as far as I know. The history of philosophy is the history of this realization. Notably, there has been a Russian novelist, a German philosopher and host of French thinkers who have come up with one or the other solution to this ultimate irony. Yet, to each generation and each individual who is foolish enough to go through it again, this problem hits newly in new places. It hits so damn hard, it sucks the taste out of the juice, juice out of your life, and life out of you. It turns you into a zombie if there ever was one. You are already dead in your mind, the thing which thinks inside you is only there because your body hasn’t stopped breathing yet. In a world where they question you why you want to visit their venerated nation, you are mocked if you are the type who ponders upon the most important question that can ever be raised by any creature. Man is an animal after all. The most ironic. The most bizarre.
You have looked at animals and birds and have tried to learn the meaning of existence from them, haven’t you? But they don’t seem to care, do they? Or maybe you don’t understand them just like you can’t understand the meaning of your being. Even when you do interpret them, they all seem busy. Each and every one of them. Busy finding the next meal, busy finding the next mate, busy finding the next shelter, busy finding the next joy, busy in alertness from the next threat. There can only be two explanations for their behavior: either they have been whispered the meaning of existence by their creator or they don’t have the ability to question. Either way, they go about fine. While you don’t see them laugh and giggle much, you don’t see them smoking and drinking in sorrow too! This perspective makes you realize that many of your human counterparts and indeed animals. Yes, they wear clothes, they speak well, they drive, they earn money, but they go by life just like those animals. But unlike in the case of animals and birds, you do know that they haven’t been whispered any secret by any god. You know that for sure, you have talked to them, you have been friends with them. You know them. They — given their quality — walking around as modern-humans with cell phones in their pocket and english in their tongue appear to you as yet another irony of existence.
But it’s not about them. It’s about you. If you could have been like them, you would have already been like them. You wouldn’t be writing or reading this line. And for you the fact remains that in a world where we are taught to seek reason in all thoughts, feelings and actions, the perspective that there is still room for dissatisfaction on that ultimate question means the existence is the biggest joke, the biggest irony, the biggest paradox.
Where is the meaning?
For one, the relentless search for meaning itself is a meaning.
Apart from that, the idea to create a meaning for yourself while you seek the real meaning can also be a meaning. This means, the things you do independent of the ultimate answer can be the penultimate meaning. You can mean to be happy, you can mean to be intelligent, popular, powerful, whatever. If the smell of money makes you get out of bed each day in excitement at the prospect of the day and the prospect of the progress you will make on the ultimate-meaning-finding process, money can be a great meaning. It ticks almost all boxes of human psychological yearns. You just have to ensure this forward-moving meaning isn’t engaging enough to distract you from your real meaning — the search for meaning.
Whether you will unlock the ultimate meaning isn’t that important. The fact that you have lived your life questioning the views that dissatisfy you and searching for your own way is, however, meaningful.