By Pierre Hakim
NOTRE-DAME OF JAMHOUR SCHOOL
Second Secondary ES (1ere ES)
May 99
[Unedited]
 
 Is There A Meaning To Life?

 

       “So go on and indulge yourself… That’s right! Take off your shoes,
       put your feet up, lean back and just enjoy the melody” (The Offspring)
 

       The melody you’re going to savor is life. But everyone adds his
       own flavor to it. There are people who don’t care whether
       they live or not. Others who dedicate their life in search of power
       and materialism, and finally those who worship abstraction as
       spiritual entities. As for me… we’ll get to it, don’t be so eager! (I
       would like to remind you that this is a kind of reflection on the
       meaning of life, so it’s very subjective).

       The different meanings people give to life will now unfold
       beneath our eyes. So free your mind of any prejudice… and think
       as objectively as you can.

       Think about those who do not think about life. Their existence is
       pointless. They live without knowing why, and they don’t care to
       know why! The craziest thing about those persons is that they
       don’t even give a boost of energy in their refection to get
       somewhere. Bernard Fontenelle said “ don’t take life too
       seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive “. What in mankind's
       name made him say that? Well, Mr. Fontenelle, I hate to be the
       one to remind you but you’ve got just one these ‘unserious’ lives
       to live… don’t want to take it seriously because you know that in a
       way or another you’re going to die?? Well kill yourself… commit
       suicide… why are you still torturing yourself in this life when you
       can easily finish it and stop wondering!! Come on… a zombie
       would be happier to exist! Not even a wisp of consciousness in
       their minds. “the heaviest of all burdens is to exist without living”
       said Victor Hugo. This existence, they live it contenting
       themselves with what they have, and not wishing to go farther
       ahead. Because those people do not try to even think about their
       human condition, they aren’t worth analyzing. It’s nearly
       impossible to learn anything from them.
 

       The people we just neglected don’t have any meaning for their
       life. But live in this world, some men who have, rather than a
       meaning, a goal that defines it.
 

       Think about those who have a material goal in their lives. Money,
       cars, women… those people are psychologically sick!! Who said
       that? Why is that? First… I did say that. Second… I’ll try to explain
       it in the clearest kind of ways. Let’s take an example. Mr. X loves
       money (I chose money but this example is true for all materials).
       He says that we (mankind) are here to make as much money as we
       possibly can. This is the meaning of our presence. Well this fellow
       here is easily contradicted. Why..? well, because millions of years
       ago, when men were still living in tribes, before the time of the
       discovery of fire… money didn’t exist! (neither did all other
       materials created by men). So for him… men have been wandering
       earth for ages waiting for money to be created! Nonsense!!

       This is for the ones that are attached to material goals. But the
       ones that are like Mr. Y are even more …..

       Think about those who are like Mr. Y… a man who is a bit
       paranoia. I mean by that: he always asks himself about “ what
       will people say if I do that?”. This kind of person is, maybe, the
       poorest kind, personality speaking. I’m not saying that we
       shouldn’t at least take others' opinions, but we certainly don’t have
       to put our life in their hands. Some people (and I say out loud
       that the majority of the Lebanese population, adults and kids,
       are like that! And that outrages me!!!) can’t take any decision,
       any step… anything without asking themselves “what will people
       say if…?”. That question is the proof of such poor personality (for
       me a person with personality is not necessarily a person who can
       scream out loud and who can express himself, but one who is
       convinced by his ideas and is ready to defend them with any argument)
       and big dependency. These persons don’t have any meaning to their life…
       because they don’t even have one! Their life is controlled by others’ sayings.

       Until now the meanings we analyzed are meaningful! But the
       situation to come is the less liked by the majority of people but
       certainly the craziest of all.

       Think about those who live their life according to the saying “live
       your day as if it were your last”. I just love that sentence… it has
       so much sense and is so ‘plenty of life’. It makes you profit the
       maximum from life (in fact you’ve got just one!). Luckily, nowadays,
       youngsters are more and more attracted by that saying. I say
       luckily because this saying makes you have so much fun and
       enjoy every moment and situations, however sad it is, in your
       one and only life. This sentence is very nice… but it’s certainly not
       the conclusion of my analysis! “Why?” you will ask me. Well…
       easy question easy answer. This saying is very beautiful but it gives
       no meaning to life. Sadly, men don’t have the same luck. Some
       are born poor, others rich… some are clever, others dumb… some
       can’t afford having fun, others can but are educated not to… To
       have fun is a purpose of life… but not its meaning. It’s just a way
       of forgetting that we are here for no reason and try to profit from an
       existence we do not understand. To have fun is good… to be
       happy is even better… but it still doesn’t give a meaning to us
       being here. We know what to do with life but we don’t know why.
 

       The “why?” question is the initiator of several different beliefs.
       All of them spiritual… all of them trying to explain life in their
       own way.
 

       Think about those who believe in the fact that "the reason of life is to find
       yourself". These ones, I find them particularly amusing. If the point in life,
       is to ‘find’ oneself, what has one been doing until this point in
       time? ‘Not knowing’ oneself ? Pretty impossible… It’s the first
       thing anyone learns. After that has been accomplished, we
       find it a bit easier to interact with others, and understand them.
       For someone to tell me that they’ve only just ‘discovered’
       themselves, I tend to wonder what exactly they’ve been doing for
       all the years they’ve been around… I understand that people, all of
       a sudden, can recognize a new side to themselves. It was always
       there though , they just weren’t giving it much thought and/or
       priority to understand it. Besides, even if people really did all
       of a sudden, ’discover’ themselves, how is THAT the point of life ?
       Perhaps it may be a significant development in their life, but
       that’s not the point of life. If everyone understood the point to
       life as being born, living, discovering themselves, then dying, wouldn't
       this be a rather arrogant and self-centered pointless world? I think it
       would.
 

       We’ve just analyzed different meanings given by mankind to life.
       I know I forgot a lot of them, but these are mainly the ones that
       actually came through my mind. But there’s still something
       missing! Let’s see… I talked about those who don’t care about
       life, those who try to discover themselves, the materialists and the ones
       who profit from life. I’m sure I forgot something important.
       Oh yes! Of course… My opinion about life.
       Well, after analyzing all these meanings of life, I discovered
       something. You may not share my opinion : I found out that men
       have been trying to give a meaning to life because they were
       afraid of its absurdity. I know it seems easy to say “there’s no
       meaning to life, so it’s absurd”… you’ll say I’m one of those zombies
       we analyzed at the beginning. Well I’m not. Because for me, life
       is absurd, but its meaning isn’t. One’s quest for the meaning of
       the one and only thing that gives him the chance to be someone
       isn’t, and will never be, over. There’s no real meaning to life. But
       the quest for a meaning to life is the meaning of it.


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Last updated on May 14th,1999
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