Friday 20 August 2010


My friend’s nine year old asked her the other day what the point of life was if we’re all going to die. I think they were in the car when he tossed out this poignant gem. Just for the record, if my son ever comes out with a statement like this I'm pretty sure I'll wreck the car. I suppose my first response would’ve been – well, son, to stay alive as long as humanly possible. I think that’s as good of an answer as any. Or in kid terms, to play your giant lifelong Nintendo DS until the battery goes dead.

This age old question has always begged thought, although as far as I know no one has come up with a concrete answer - or at least agreed upon one. So how does one define it, especially to a child? Find something rewarding and purposeful you like doing and do it well? I suppose that works up to a point, although serial killers could say they are doing something they find rewarding and purposeful, which proves a tad problematic. So how about, find something you like doing and do it well that doesn’t harm others or result in incarceration.

Or is the point of life about procreating and leaving a legacy in the form of children – [and then let them deal with how to answer the question on their own!] Then again, some people’s spawn – i.e. Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Mugabe etc are nothing to get excited about. In fact, I’d distance myself from my kid right quick if he started eating people. Sorry, but my mother’s love has definite boundaries.

Then again, to make matters easy for the rest of us trying to define it, I say throw it back on the individual to define for him or herself. “What’s the meaning of life? I don’t know, whatever you think it is.” Done. Solved.

On the contrary, many have said that this whole quest of defining life’s meaning is futile, and in fact, life is just that, meaningless. Instead it is about going through the motions of the journey until one reaches the end. And the point, well there isn’t one. Uplifting isn't it. A bit like making one’s bed in the morning.  There is no discernable point especially as you’re going to get back into it at night. Then again, it does make the room look nice, and there is something about getting into a made bed at night that just feels right. What is the point of all this? I suppose there isn’t a point aside from it’s just something we do. We roll that bolder up the hill to watch it roll back down again, and so on. I mean just watching the news makes me wonder what it’s all about. People are dying in the most horrific and devastating ways, i.e. a fifth of Pakistan is currently under water -- a fifth!! - And yet Paris Hilton keeps releasing perfume fragrances. Sorry, but I just can’t find the meaning in that one.

Then again, maybe we’ve all got it wrong – or at least I do, as I’m the only one weighing in at the moment. Maybe life’s meaning can only be found wandering the earth with no possessions as one chants and helps to feed the tired and the hungry.

As you can see, I haven’t a clue how to answer this question. In fact, now all I have done is given myself a headache.

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