WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
© December 2016, The Writers Group
There are several theories about the meaning of life. I don’t know which is most correct. I present them so you can decide:
1. Existentialism. This view states that life is random. There is no meaning to life. We are all accidents and planet earth is just a rock floating through space. Anything is possible, and anything that can happen may happen because it is all random.
How to behave. According to this view, everyone behaves to survive and get ahead of others.
Survival of the fittest. In this view, might makes right. “Might” may be physical strength, physical size, cunning or cleverness.
Why bad things happen. According to this view of life, the randomness of life causes some good and fun things to happen. However, bad things happen, too if someone else is bigger, stronger or more clever than you. Events can also happen randomly – being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As a result, rapes happen, robberies happen, car accidents happen, and so on.
Pure competition and selfishness. In this understanding of the meaning of life, you really can’t count on people for anything. They are mostly thought of as liars, cheaters, jerks, and so on. There are a few good ones, but they might let you down, too.
Marxism. The above is close to the philosophy of Karl Marx, founder of communism or Marxism. He believed that society is basically a struggle for survival between the working class people and the owners of businesses. Life is about class warfare, according to Marx.
People who believe this philosophy do not believe in love, or truth, or goodness at all. They also don’t like the Bible with its “moralizing”.
Moral relativism. This philosophy believes the opposite, sometimes called moral relativism. This is the idea that there is no right or wrong. You have your truth and I have mine. And mine can vary depending on what is going on or how I feel.
Social justice. Existentialism also spawned the idea of social justice. This is not justice at all. It is just someone’s opinion of what is right and fair, which can vary with the person, time and place.
This rather depressing philosophy is taught widely at colleges today. As a result, a lot of people believe it.
Phrase. “Shit happens”. “Survival of the fittest”, “Me first”, “Life is a struggle”.
2. Life is about feelings. This philosophy is also taught widely today in college and high schools. Its basic idea is that life is about feelings. One strives to feel good and avoid feeling bad.
How to behave. According to this meaning of life, if something feels good, then it is worthwhile and valid and what you should do. If something does not feel good, then it is not valid or good to do.
Sex. For example, young people are taught the lie that sex and masturbation are good things of themselves because they feel good. Meanwhile, traditional marriage is not so good because it may have its tough moments.
Why bad things happen. According to this view, bad things happen if you do not follow your bliss. They can also happen if someone else thinks it would feel good to rob you, rape you or even kill you.
Bad things can also happen if someone is so blissed out that they don’t pay attention while driving their car, for example, so they hit another person.
Truth. According to this theory, hearing the truth and telling the truth are fine if they feel good. However, hearing and speaking truth are not good things if they embarrass you, are unpopular, or feel bad for some other reason.
Politics/economics. In politics, this belief system results in many government programs that sound good, but don’t work. These include government health care and government welfare programs.
Tough love is bad. According to this view, love is good as long as it feels good. Tough love often does not feel good, so it is not a good thing. The same is true of disciplining your children, for example, or striving to excel at your job or schooling. Better to just slide along and take the easy way out.
Phrase. “If it feels good, do it.”
3. Karma. This is an ancient Oriental belief that human souls are learning their lessons and balancing out every bad thing they ever did. The word karma in Sanskrit means work.
How to behave. According to this view of the meaning of life, each person must work to work off or balance out your bad deeds from the past. It is like paying the fine when you violate the traffic laws.
Also, it is best not to do any more bad deeds because these will require even more work to balance out or pay off in your future.
The rules. You might ask, how does one know how one should behave? In other words, what are the rules?
They are fairly simple, according to this teaching. Do not hurt anyone! Also, do not harm animals, plants or any living creature. Also, do not harm souls, elves, angels or any other being in the universe, should you encounter them.
Be careful, kind, caring and deliberate in how you live. Do not do harm the environment, do not waste things, and tread gently, with a light “carbon footprint”, as they say.
Why bad things happen. According to the karma view of life, bad things happen to inflict punishment for past bad behavior. They also occur, perhaps, to give a person an opportunity to work hard and thus to overcome some of your mistakes from the past.
This philosophy serves the monks of Tibet and elsewhere very well. Many are developed and live for thousands of years.
The karma philosophy has been very distorted into “blame the victim”. This is the idea that if you are suffering in some way, it is your fault because you have been a bad boy or bad girl in the past – either during this lifetime or in a past time when your soul occupied a different body.
However, this does not detract from the virtues of this philosophy that teaches loving kindness, and wishing all people and creatures and the earth all the best in life.
By the way, there is both good karma and bad karma. This is the idea that we are punished for our “sins”. However, we are also rewarded for all of our good deeds and even our good thoughts toward others.
Phrase. “You reap as you sow.”
4. The social philosophy.
How to behave. This theory about the meaning of life says that we are here to learn and grow as social beings. We are here to become better friends, mothers, fathers, children, providers, workers, and other social roles.
Why do bad things happen? If things go wrong, it is because we have not been good social beings. It does not matter if one believes in only one lifetime or if one believes in past lifetimes. We have all acted unsocially, at times, usually because we were afraid or thoughtless.
The idea, then, is to see that we must act nicer to people, animals, plants and the planet herself and all will go better.
Phrase. “Live and let live”.
5. We are co-creators.
How to behave. As co-creators, we are to take full responsibility for our lives and for everything that happens to us. We are to be creative in our lives.
Why bad things happen. This can occur if we are not acting creatively or not taking full responsibility for all that occurs in our lives. Keyword. Creator.
Phrase. “Act creatively.”
6. God knows all. This philosophy is an integral part of the Hebrew and Christian religions. It implies that there is no privacy and no secrecy at all. The Creator being knows everything about you.
How to behave. The idea is that we are all here to learn lessons. Behave well, so as to learn your lessons well. If you don’t, there are consequences and punishment. This will go on until you learn your lessons.
These might be to seek truth always, to care better for our bodies and learn about health. Others may be to learn patience and persistence, and to never give up. Another lesson is to never be lazy or pre-occupied falsely.
Why bad things may occur. According to this belief, challenges of various kinds are brought to us so we can learn better. These include anything imaginable from a flood or hurricane to a disease, death of a family member, a car accident, marital problems, financial problems, work problems, and anything else you can imagine.
Phrase. “Get the lesson.”
7. God is one. This interesting philosophy is also an integral part of the Hebrew and Christian belief system. It is the idea that all events and all feelings are of God. There is nothing that is not of God.
How to behave. We are to take full responsibility for all that occurs in our lives because it is all of God. This includes thoughts and feelings that we do not like, such as thoughts of doing violence to others, for example. We are not to project out of ourselves that which we do not like in ourselves.
Why do bad things happen? According to this philosophy, if bad things happen to you, it is because you have projected out of yourself parts of yourself that you don’t like. Others then pick up these “vibes” and act them out on you or on the collective humanity, causing all our problems.
For example, many people deny and therefore project their violent, selfish, hateful and murderous thoughts. Some people also deny and project their illicit sexual feelings.
What occurs is that when we do this, other people pick up these thoughts and, for various reasons, act them out. This results in murder, robbery, rape, financial loss, relationship problems, and all other problems, as well.
According to this philosophy, by experiencing the effects of our own projections, we can learn not to project our negative thoughts. Instead, we can learn to own them or admit them, and dismiss them or ask God for help in removing them.
Phrase. “Own your stuff.”