Life's Meaning--Well, Let's See
As a word guy, I'm almost always alert to what one means by words and phrases. Take "I love you." If that's said in declining tones, it's affirmative. In rising tones, it's questionable.
Now "life." Sometimes we mean the span of years from birth to
death. Sometimes we mean a state of animation. A scientist is likely to say that life is a form of existence that can range from an amoeba to a human being.
But let's say we're talking about existence as human beings.
All right, if we should find somebody who's comatose, first aid would be most appropriate. In any case, a clap of the hands might also be appropriate to test responsiveness. But if the comatose person is deaf, that would be pointless. One way or another,
our concern would be that the comatose person have the potential of being restored to some kind of sentient life.
The key word here is "sentient," having feeling, through all or some of the senses.
And so, when talking of life's meaning, we probably intend to refer to the "on" or "off" status of the senses. But should we? Is life simply having responsive senses?
OK, let's define life, but not so intensively as a group of distinguished scientists did a few years ago at a meeting considering extraterrestrial life. It was not, they agreed, finding someone on a stellar body standing on two legs and speaking English.
But they were willing to start with an atomic form of existence that could replicate itself.
Now, on the philosophical level of concern on these pages, what should we or can we want to see ourselves as? Why as human beings are we what we are? Of course, we can go through the whole repertoire of human evolution, the survival of the fittest and so
on. Or adopt the belief of divine origin. Or point to an amalgam of both influences.
As much as I enjoy discussions of the possible, I grow weary in the end and tend to settle on a few tentative forces to placate excess curiosity about the meaning of life.
First of all, I accept life as an impulse of an actual but indefinable force of nature or universal being. It is, simply is. And we, as humans, are a part of that impulse. That indefinable force is called God, the Creator, the Almighty and so on through
What's the meaning? Ah, that's what we hope to be finding and expressing through our years on this planet. One thing above all stands out in our awareness, if we look at all the options we can conjure up. And that is that, if we are creatures of a
Creator, we must be like It.
In truth, whatever other evidence we hang on to, we are creative, not destructive. We are positive, not negative. Not only do we have hope. We have assurance.
Forget the headlines of the day and lay to rest its concerns. Concentrate simply on the poet Robert Browning's assurance:
"God's in his heaven--
All's right with the world."
©Copyright 2006 Hubert
Pryor. All Rights Reserved.
Hubert Pryor is a retired editor of national
magazines--Modern Maturity and Science Digest among
others--Hubert Pryor is the author of SOUL TALK:
Positive Mind Treatments to Turn Your Life Around
(available through DeVorss & Co., 553 Constitution
Ave., Camarillo, CA 93012, 800-843-5743, www.devorss.com)
and a forthcoming book, SERENITY 101: Spiritual
Wisdom, Ancient and Modern, for Peace of Mind Today.
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