The Meaning of Life
Or, ‘Words of Wisdom, Inspiration, and Edification’,
Or, "Sermons I never gave".
As I sat before this paper on a fine winter morning I was not particularly inspired toward any one subject matter, I just felt the need to write something. As the years pile up and the body and mind begins to wear down that sense of ‘urgency’ grows within me (and most others my age I suppose). ‘No time like the present’ and ‘just do it’ (now before you’re dead) become your mottos and your thoughts turn from self-involvement, i.e. having fun and ‘getting some’ to ‘the big picture’. We all know that soon enough death is going to “make us an offer we can’t refuse” (The Godfather). Plus on top of that there is the uncanny thing about the speed of time. Einstein’s theory of special relativity proved that time can ‘speed up’. I can personally verify that at my age (47 when written), a year now passes in the time it took a month to pass at age 10! Am I right? So, it being true that the faster you go the slower time goes and visa-versa, then my first advise to you would be, ‘stay active’!
I was just listening to a song released in 1982 by the Scottish band ‘Big Country’, called, ‘In a Big Country’, in which the last line of the chorus is “Stay alive” (ironically the lead singer /guitarist /songwriter recently hung himself). For those who may be thinking such matters morbid I would suggest that there is a important lesson here, and it is that “we’re not dead yet”, (‘we’ as in myself, at the time this was written, and you the reader, if there ever is one), and this ‘awareness’, of the shortness of time and the inexorable outcome should become a ‘catalyst’ within your being, transforming fear and doubt into awe and wonder, transforming mundane drudgery into sacred honor and duty, removing the veil of dreary familiarity and convention that blinds our imagination as well as our vision to the beauty and freedom that is the divine gift of life, leaving us to wander seemingly alone in a bleak landscape of hopeless despair, or at the least, unendurable boredom, all of which (‘the human condition’) was captured by the 1999 film, ‘American Beauty’, ‘beautifully’.
This awareness of our common fate enables us and empowers us to throw off the yoke of small-minded, self-centered, pettiness and instinctively driven complexes and behaviors. It ‘awakens’ us, allowing us to overcome the more foolish instinctive inducements of our animal nature by reason and will. By this awareness do we begin to understand and seek out that which is truly important and meaningful, that which is called Truth, and Wisdom. We attune our senses and attention to the part of ourselves and the world around us that partakes of a higher, ‘spiritual’ nature, yet still not forsaking, abandoning, or isolating our spirits from the joy and wonder of our heritage as, part of, ‘Nature’.
The Hand of God is everywhere and within everything. That includes us, and all of Creation. As part of nature, created through evolution over time, guided by the Hand of God, it is surely wisdom for our love of God to extend and include all his creation. As we love and honor the creator we should love, honor, respect, and protect all his creatures. Personally I am a vegetarian, and a tree-hugging environmentalist. I fully support all efforts to preserve and protect all remaining ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and endangered species. The Earth is not ours to do with whatever we will, however destructive, in the name of a dollar or ‘progress’. We are by default it’s stewards, and I know that, properly managed (not-‘developed’) there is plenty of room and resources for everything under the sun. It is our exigent responsibility here and now to preserve the Earth’s fauna, so that the children of our children, for generations to come can experience the wonder and awe of the diversity of life, and fully know the meaning of ‘natural beauty’, ‘wildlife’, and ‘the way God made it’.
Unbeknown to some, particularly (and most ironically) those who erroneously believe their scientific methodology is the only way to know ‘Truth’, or I should say ‘truth’, an emasculated reactionary truth that dogmatically dismisses what it can’t measure as ‘anecdotal’ and has no real interest in discerning Good from Evil…as I was saying, some, many in fact go through life without opening their minds, their hearts, and their eyes to see man’s true relation to the universe. They do not recognize the spiritual, refuse to believe it exists, or that anything spiritual has any bearing on their life. Truth is not the Truth unless it is the whole Truth, as in “Do you swear to tell the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, so help you God”? They say that Truth is only what is empirically verifiable, and since spirit cannot be confined to a laboratory, measured, and experimented on then it doesn’t exist. Truth so conceived is not the whole Truth. To suppose the scientific method is the litmus test for all Truth is a logical fallacy confirmed by extensive existential analysis of the problems of consciousness, perception, and observational objectivity/subjectivity.
In the works of most all the world’s greatest (thinkers), existentialists, philosophers, and psychologists great effort has been spent and great advances have been made in understanding the processes by which the mind interprets the ‘reality’ in the world around us (though some would even question the actual existence and constitution of that perceived reality). Likewise neuro-biologists have made great strides in understanding how a sense perception is translated into nerve impulses that a properly functioning brain interprets into images and ‘experiences’ of that purported ‘external’ reality (see the movie ‘The Matrix’). Yet these two camps of experimental analyzers taken together, still cannot adequately account for the, “Varieties of Religious Experiences’ (A work by William James in which he states the same point).
The Holistic Truth is still some ways off from both scientist and philosopher, yet by the efforts of men such as Robert Pirsig, Fritjof Capra, John Bell, Carl Jung, and untold growing numbers of others like myself and perhaps you, the reader, who somehow ‘know’ the importance of this ‘work’ (not this paper), the day will come, when the irrepressible Light of Truth shall fuse into one science, philosophy, and religion, into a ‘unified field theory’, the ‘Metaphysics of Absolute Relativity’, as I call it. And those such as myself who are so inclined, may with hope pray that that day may be hastened by that prophesized long ago - the breaking of the dimensional veil by divine intervention - then we will know, “…things that have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:34). “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 13:11). The mysteries…and the key… (Matthew 16:9; 18:18)…if your have “ears to hear”. (Matthew 13:13-17, 13:43)
In previous works of my own on the subject of my ‘Star of Sophia’ (Which was derived from insights I garnered from reading Pirsig’s ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’), I have described how the dialectic sword of the scientific method (propagated by Aristotle) tries to find Reality by cutting it into pieces that are ‘manageable’ and ‘measurable’; unfortunately such a methodology utterly fails when it tries to put it back together and make it whole again - to understand the whole it must be experienced, or in some cases comprehended intuitively. Science will never ‘discover’ the ‘Sacred’ until it abandons the spurious notion that it alone possesses a viable methodology. Only then will science be capable of recognizing the Holistic Reality of the whole Truth within the Absolute Relativity of a statement such as, “God is one” (Metaphysics) or, “Reality is a jewel of a thousand facets”, or, “…a lotus flower of a thousand petals”. (Mysticism). Reality is a polarized multidimensional continuum that we know through sense-experience and intuition yet it is always and forever, one.
“Truth is God is Love is Light is Why is How is You. So let the Light of Love of God of Truth return You to Yourself”.
(My ‘motto’ circa 1978)
©2007 Thomas Theodore Welborn