I think I know the meaning of life. First of all, let me cover how it is that we got here. Either there is a grand plan such that elegant biology was enjoined to place us on earth, or a massive set of accidental chemical reactions culminating in me typing this post. I believe the latter is what happened. Note of course what I believe doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but just within the small scheme of things.
Now - it might be that we are meant to aggregate objects and wealth. Or that we are meant to aggregate power and strength - stability. Or perhaps we are meant to learn how to give up worldly things so that we can concentrate on the fine arts. Perhaps we are here to reflect beauty or engage in loving caring. I just don't figure. But what ever reason I come up with as to what the meaning of life is, I may be wrong, 'cause I just don't have the facts, or aren't in the club or receive the heavenly newsletter from the big guy.
So maybe I'll move into the more manageable. What would make me happiest, or most content to believe is the meaning of life? Yes, that's more - graspable, tangible, expressible. Easy, but ungraspable - 'to love others'. Cynical, but Nietzschean: to attain power, mastery over challenges and perhaps others. Camus-ish: to roll a large stone up a hill and then to roll it back up the other side once it plunges over. That we must assume Sisyphus is happy. Perhaps we must choose to believe that Sisyphus is happy - this might be blindingly obvious to a 1st year philosophy major, but I never took philosophy so apologies if I’m sounding basic.
Maybe... maybe the meaning of life is what we choose to believe it is, and that the choosing or faith or active construction of the idea is enough to imbue us with a sense which then I guess keeps us going. Like a child mastering his environment. I think maybe the meaning of life therefore is to find contentment somehow in the busy winds of life and to spread that contentment around because it seems kinda of nice to share. Which really isn't testable I think. But it feels kinda good.
Okay. I know. The meaning of life is that we live so that we can muddy through it all and take care of people and yourself and then watch it all go by without attachment. I like that Siddhartha river analogy – okay so I think I don’t know the meaning of life, but I’d like to think it is to watch stuff go by without being too affected either happily or sadly, excitedly or distressingly – and just kind of be part of the world without worrying.
Well. I’m not good at articulating this, and thinking too much about it all kind of worries me, so maybe I'll just stop writing and solicit your thoughts via the comments below but first include a snippet from Siddhartha:
An Excerpt from Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
… Let's listen, you'll hear more.
They listened. Softly sounded the river, singing in many voices. Siddhartha looked into the water, and images appeared to him in the moving water: his father appeared, lonely, mourning for his son; he himself appeared, lonely, he also being tied with the bondage of yearning to his distant son; his son appeared, lonely as well, the boy, greedily rushing along the burning course of his young wishes, each one heading for his goal, each one obsessed by the goal, each one suffering. The river sang with a voice of suffering, longingly it sang, longingly, it flowed towards its goal, lamentingly its voice sang.
“Do you hear?” Vasudeva's mute gaze asked. Siddhartha nodded.
“Listen better!” Vasudeva whispered.
Siddhartha made an effort to listen better. The image of his father, his own image, the image of his son merged, Kamala's image also appeared and was dispersed, and the image of Govinda, and other images, and they merged with each other, turned all into the river, headed all, being the river, for the goal, longing, desiring, suffering, and the river's voice sounded full of yearning, full of burning woe, full of unsatisfiable desire. For the goal, the river was heading, Siddhartha saw it hurrying, the river, which consisted of him and his loved ones and of all people, he had ever seen, all of these waves and waters were hurrying, suffering, towards goals, many goals, the waterfall, the lake, the rapids, the sea, and all goals were reached, and every goal was followed by a new one, and the water turned into vapour and rose to the sky, turned into rain and poured down from the sky, turned into a source, a stream, a river, headed forward once again, flowed on once again. But the longing voice had changed. It still resounded, full of suffering, searching, but other voices joined it, voices of joy and of suffering, good and bad voices, laughing and sad ones, a hundred voices, a thousand voices.