Regarding the meaning of life:Posted: October 9, 2013
there isn’t any.
When I came to the conclusion that there is no God, I struggled. I guess you could say my life spun out of control for awhile, because when you remove the center of someone’s world view it is hard for them to know where to go.
Things were crappy when I was a Christian, and things are crappy now. The difference is, that back then, I felt there must be a reason for it all. I thought that maybe I was being punished, or I was being put through the school of hard-knocks to learn some kind of lesson. I thought that maybe nothing had really worked out the way I wanted it to, because there was something better around the corner and I just needed to wait for it.
I no longer harbor any such illusions. I am a random occurrence. I come from the same organic material as everything else. I am here because it just worked out that way. I am a person because it just worked out that way.
I used to think I had a calling–that I was put on this earth for the purpose of helping people. When I wouldn’t get hired for a certain do-gooding job, or when I was struggling so much financially that I couldn’t make the difference that I wanted to in the world, I got upset and confused. I KNEW that was why I was here–why else would I have such empathy for the suffering of others? And yet, for some reason, “God” kept putting up roadblocks that stopped me from fulfilling this purpose. I didn’t understand.
All that seems utterly ridiculous to me now. There is no one up there giving us specific gifts and talents so that we can fill out the hole in some grand plan. There is no one pulling the strings , bestowing good fortune to those who deserve it and withholding it from those who don’t. There is no one putting is through our paces so that we can come out better and be who we need to be. There is simply, No one. Nothing. Just us.
As for the suffering of others…as for my empathy. Well. I used to think that I had suffered so much so that I would be able to identify with those in similar situations and give them hope. Now I just think its a bi-product. But today, I feel bereft of it. I simply do not care.
Yes, it is sad that people are starving and living on the streets and being made to suffer at the hands of those who are stronger or hold more power. All of that is terrible. But–this life is random. It is chaos. It means nothing. I can see why people cling so hard to the idea of an afterlife. Having something that ensures that we get justice, having the chance of an existence that lasts forever, is a great motivator. Because anyone who has really sat down and thought about this stuff will come to this question–how can the beginning and middle of a story matter, when it has zero effect on the ending?
It all ends the same way. A person who is wildly successful, finds true love, has a wonderful relationship with their family and experiences the realization of all their dreams, dies in the end. A person who goes through life alone, has bad relationships, never holds a job and gets hooked on crack, dies in the end. It’s all going to end the same way.
Those of us who have purpose, have it because we have created it. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing–it’s good. It makes life more pleasurable, gives it direction, stops it from spinning out of control and keeps us moving forward. A person who creates a purpose for themselves is far more likely to have a better life, than those who do not.
We shouldn’t kid ourselves, though. A life with a sense of purpose that leads to minimal suffering and more pleasure really means nothing more than a life that is utterly directionless. A life spent giving to others and helping others and improving their self-worth or living conditions is no more valuable than a life of selfishness and debauchery. The temporary existence of temporary beings is being improved, but really, what’s the point? We’re all going to die.
It may seem like I am depressed, and I am, but I actually feel fine about this revelation. If nothing matters, then there is no reason for me to be upset. It’s not that I’m not going to continue to try to improve my life, but if, for whatever reason, I continue to have the same suck-tastic luck that I’ve had all along, then oh well. It will be over soon enough.