Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The whereness of here

Why are we here? There are several possible answers to that question. The first is simply, "I don't know." That is honest but not very satisfying. The second is, "We aren't." In other words, denying that we are really here. That is satisfying to some of the people some of the time, but not to all of the people all of the time. And it is not totally honest, as it contradicts bodily intuition about our experience. It can take the form of the noblest kind of transcendental vision, but it involves denial of life, usually by some form of spiritual reductionism.

The third answer to "why are we here?" is: "to figure out why we are here!" To me, that is the most honest and satisfying answer. Because any formulation such as "to help other people," "to glorify God," "to express our creativity fully," and so on, is a bit too restrictive on the radical individuality of the quantum self, if we are being precise. Anyway, it becomes very difficult to define those expressions in any meaningful way. Each of these golden ideals becomes fodder for the ego.

No, we have to figure out for ourselves why we are here, each and every one of us, and nobody's answer will be the same. Maybe we will live eighty years without knowing our purpose, let alone fulfilling it, and then a day will come—and it will come—that we are galvanized into action that teaches us the meaning of meaning, and the light that was trapped in our well-defended hearts will shine out and the bars will melt away and we will be liberated.

So let us start asking not only why we are here, but where here is. That may give us a clue.

2 comments:

John Lentz said...

After thousands of years and millions of books -- a few paragraphs have distilled it down. Time to act. Close the libraries, open the doors and -- step out!

Sophia said...

It is funny that I've run into this post today. Just now, on another blog, someone posed the question, "What is the meaning of life?" I responded, "The meaning of life is the find out the meaning of life."