I think that often people come to the conclusion that life is meaningless because that’s a better conclusion to come to than the reverse. Because if life is meaningless, well then, who cares what you do. But if life is meaningful, if what you do matters, then everything you do matters. And that puts a terrible responsibility on the individual and I think that people are generally unwilling to bear that.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
There is no meaning in life. The meaning is in sentences, meaning is in symbols that symbolize life. Life itself does not have a meaning because that’s what meaning refers too, meaning refers to life. To look for meaning in life is like looking for trees on a map. You can find squiggles that represent trees but you won’t find the trees there. The squiggles only represent the trees or the rivers. You can’t wash in a river on a map, you gotta find a real river.
hey sky you're my favorite demiboy I love you, and also, what do you think the meaning of life is??
all the good questions today, apparently
(i love you too!)
the meaning of life? well. i could either:
a) quote the entirety of bee movie
b) actually answer your question, as best as i can
you’re lucky i’m in a philosophical mood today
the meaning of life (according to sky):
life seems very laid out for us, especially since society has rigid rules that try to make everything fit in place. for those of us in western or more developed countries, our set path is go to school, go to university, get a degree, get a job, marry, have children, and then retire.
for those of us in majority world countries, it’s a little more difficult to follow this path, and so we opt to move to the western world for more opportunities for ourselves or our children (as my parents did for my sister and i).
and the majority of the world follow this same path, which is neither here nor there.
the question, though, is what exactly is the meaning of life?
humans, since we’re very curious animals, have been searching for this answer for countless centuries. you’ve all seen those books in the philosophy section that catch your eye.
the meaning of life, whatever it may be, is different to each person.
for some people, it may be to simply live a life good and true to yourself and be kind to human beings. to others, it may be to change the world. people tend to focus on the latter.
me? what i believe the meaning of life is to simply stay alive.
stay alive and try to learn as much as you can. yes, you’re gonna die in the end and ultimately, it doesn’t matter, but while you’re on this earth, learn. whatever you do, do it for yourself first.
life is short and bitter and cruel, but we have weathered.
significance, ultimately as well, doesn’t matter. just, do things for yourself. go skydiving. write that book you’ve been meaning to write. turn on a camera and make a video. go on long road trips. get drunk off of life.