Thursday, January 15, 2009

*GHASP* The Meaning of Life!

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Yahoo! Answers, but if you're not, you probably should be. It really is a pretty good tool for getting a question answered, and quickly, though it certainly has its fair share of weird questions (Should I be letting my child play with asbestos? Why cant i get boners? Men what would you do if you went to get your hair cut and the man doing it has his dick hanging out?) that make for good entertainment.

Lots of questions are posed over and over again (What's the best band/movie/book? How can I get rid of my acne?) but the one that I have seen nearly ever time I've voyaged to Yahoo! Answers is "What's the meaning of Life?"

Now, I don't mean to sound crass, but how in the hell do you plan on getting a good answer to that question by posing it on an online community!? I mean, you'd find not only a better answer but a faster one by Googling it!

That's not to say, though, that there aren't people that put a good amount of thought into answering the question. In fact, some of the replies are actually quite interesting to read:
"planting things, watching them grow"
"The meaning of life is to chase after the assumption that there is a meaning of life that can be found."
"I think we are here in earth as a learning experience for our soul's." (I apologize for the grammar)
""To be" is temporary and "not to be" is inevitable""

Others, though are not:
"Catholics believe the meaning of human life is to know and love God."
"I have no idea. We are all confused."
"live life to da fullest"

That last one hurts me the most. I know math isn't my strong point, but I can't count the number of times I've heard that phrase. "Life life to the fullest." What's the fullest? You're not defining anything, you're skirting the question. Let's look at a translation of how it might go:

"So, what do you think is the meaning of life?"

= "We've run out of relevant topics to talk about, so I'll pose a mock-philosophical question to demonstrate to you how smart I am."

"Umm. Y'know, to live life to the fullest."

= "Well, I don't really think deeply enough to come up with anything new or meaningful, so I'll regurgitate the phrase that I've heard used over and over again and makes me look optimistic and like a fun-loving person. They'll be sure to like that."

I mean, at least have the balls to say "I don't really know."

So, that brings us to a new question: what's the right answer? In my [right] opinion, it's simply to pursue your motivation, whatever that may be. Here's a list of common motivators, with accompanying brief descriptions:

Achievement -- To overcome obstacles and succeed; to become the best
Acquisition -- To obtain possessions/wealth
Balance/Peace -- To bring all things into harmony and equilibrium
Beneficence -- To protect the helpless, heal the sick, feed the hungry, etc
Chaos -- To disrupt, rebel, and to cause confusion and discord
Creation -- To build or make new, such as art, culture, invention, design, etc
Destruction -- To annihilate, exterminate, unmake, and bring to ruin
Discovery/Adventure -- To explore, uncover mysteries, and pioneer
Education -- To provide information, teach, enlighten, or train
Enslavement -- To force others into servitude
Hedonism -- To enjoy all things sensuous
Liberation -- To free self and/or others from perceived captivity or enslavement
Nobility/Honor -- TO exalt ideas such as generosity, honesty, bravery, and courtliness
Order -- To arrange, organize, and reduce chaos
Play -- To have fun, to enjoy life
Power -- To control and lead others
Recognition -- To gain approval, social status, or fame
Service -- To follow a person, government, order, religion, etc
Torment -- To inflict pain and suffering, on others and/or the self
Understanding -- To seek knowledge or wisdom (spiritual, scientific, etc)

(note-- I stole this list from here)

Also, for all those romantics out there, I would add the pursuit of love to that otherwise comprehensive list.

I think that it is too easy--too tempting--to throw a blanket statement as an answer for the 'meaning of life.' One could argue for any of these. But that also, in my opinion, would be wrong. All of us work in different ways,

As for me? It's understanding. Go figure.

Any motivators that aren't on there that should be? What do you think is the meaning of life? What's your motivator? Leave me a comment. Please. I'm begging you. I yearn it. I need it. Please.

"Take away love and our earth is a tomb."
-Robert Browning


Alex said...

Per the list of uninteresting answers, you forgot "42." There are at least ten comedic geniuses who've posted that in every meaning of life thread I've looked at.

I don't think the meaning of life is knowable to anyone, but if I had to guess it would be: purchase goods and services, retain wholesome Christian values, salute the flag and support our troops -- these colors don't run!

Just kiddin'. Live life to the fullest, yo!

Jamie said...

I have the balls to say it: I don't know. I'm still working on that one...