September 4, 2016 Daniel Pleșa

What is the meaning of all this?

We are always on the run chasing a deeper, more meaningful purpose for our lives. We engage in a more purposeful job, or relationship or activity.

But what do we mean by purposeful? What does purposeful mean to each of us?

Generally, it is agreed to be to increase or spread the amount of “good” in the world, be it to other human fellows or animals, or the planet overall.

But what is “good” or better? How do we know what is good for others, for the animals, planet etc? How do we know that, by doing more “good”, we don’t actually do more harm?

Well, we don’t! Let’s take the huger problem. I want to engage in eradicating world hunger. So I start by putting together a few resources and engaging a few people in a small community, all driven by the same purpose to “do good”. Let’s say I have an initiative to give the remaining food from restaurants to people in need.

All good at the beginning.

But then, problems start to appear. The people in need become greedy, they want more and better food. They want to go up the food chain and select the best leftovers for themselves. OR they start stealing food from one another.

On the other hand, the donor restaurants, they start seeing the advantage of this, and start creating a campaign around it, so that they can attract more customers, which of course will generate more leftovers and more trouble.

So, you see how a simple exercise of good will, or more purposeful action, can turn into something worse than before.

Or, it can also go well, making people happy and eradicate hunger. For a while.

Besides, what is this if not a strong sense of arrogance, thinking that we know best what is good for others or for the world? Every idea of good is nothing but a borrowed idea from our parents, peers, government, church, teachers and so on.

And so, we are left with the question, if not this, then what? If our “doing good” card doesn’t work anymore, what are we left with? What is the meaning of all this?

Well, there is no meaning, simply because meaning is mind-made, it’s a concept, a story, a thought. Haven’t you noticed already that the meaning/purpose game is like peeling an infinite-layered onion? The more you engage in reaching a purpose, the more new ones will emerge, letting you think that you are going “deeper” or “higher” on the imaginary scale of meaningfulness.

 

Everybody thinks they want to find out what is the meaning of life. Or some claim that they found it to be happiness. Or “doing good”.

What is the meaning of life? We think we want an answer to put an end to this question, but we actually don’t. What we really want is the question to continue, because as long as the question is there, the chasing continues, and with it, the feeling of meaningfulness and purposefulness. And so the mind is engaged in something, validating its existence.

We ask this question until we stop asking it. That’s it. Until we see its futility. Its mind made nature. Its uselessness. And then we just go on, doing what needs to be done, and not being concerned with something else.