Bliss

What is this notion of bliss, this most venerable of a concept? What is it about it that is so unattainable, so desirable, and so fulfilling all at once?

I would argue that the definition of the word is not necessarily the experience of the word; for to you and me, a standardised definition we may come to some agreement upon, but exactly what evokes this state of bliss in us, will undoubtably vary greatly.

So what exactly IS bliss?
Well it seems that bliss is a totality. It is a plenum of total joy, of ecstasy and happiness. It doesn’t have to be loud or abashed (although it can be), but it is not the same as being content – because content almost implies that you have everything you need, to be happy. In that moment, you are sure if you were to think about it, that you have everything you need. But perhaps bliss excels that. Perhaps bliss is an orgasm of what everything that makes you content brings you.

Contentment (as amazing a feeling and notion as it is) seems to come from an experience where you slowly come to realise you have everything you need. You may be aware of the experience or not; but you certainly are in it, for in the duration nothing bothers you.

Bliss; is more of an explosion. It has suddenly come upon me, that I am happy, as happy as I can conceivably imagine being in the moment, and I am overwhelmed by it. It is a cheering moment, a Eureka. It’s having all your desires met or surpassed in the moment, and having nothing else to replace them.

It’s one thing to be sat at home, reading a book, perfectly relaxed on some idle Sunday afternoon with someone you love; but it is quite another to have been trapped in a car in some snowstorm overnight on Saturday, and then walking in the door to the warmth and release of stuffy clothing you were absorbed by, on Sunday morning, realising you have a favourite hot meal waiting for you or ready to be easily prepared, and then suddenly checking your phone to find that you and the same person from before are off all of Monday also. Or perhaps you come to find, through some random monotonous chore, that some memorable item you thought to have lost a long time ago, in fact has been found again. Or perhaps the person of your greatest desires, seems to equally be befallen with you.

The two experiences of content and bliss are wonderful, and arguably the barometer for happiness you should aspire to; but it seems that one is a slow peaceful understanding, while the other is quite a violent event suddenly coming upon you.

And here, I believe is where the interesting part lies. We can agree on the definition of content. We can agree on some standardised understanding of bliss. But, we could rarely agree on the definition of bliss, because bliss is unique… to you, now. What you believe to be bliss, is defined utterly in the moment. It doesn’t have to be the happiest you’ve ever been, because you could find this experience of bliss when you have been made very unhappy by a colleague at work, and then find out simultaneously that this employee has been fired for bullying, and you have received a promotion. So while this moment may not quite compare to a wedding day, the birth of a child, or the realisation of some life long dream; relatively, it was the happiest you could conceivably imagine being at that moment. And you got it.

These unique, rare little moments, that seems to come too few and too far apart – you got one.

And so, by its nature, as fast as it arrives, it may dissipate. Just as some kind of detonation seems to cause its damage at its inception, and then seems to leave rather quickly. Fleeting as all things are, unfortunately this state of bliss will leave, because eventually you will conceive of new things, in a new moment, that could bring you new happiness. But if the moment is kind however, it will dissipate slowly and not all at once. And you will be left with this slow, after-climax, that you can enjoy. And if you find yourself very appreciative, and understanding, you may transition that moment of bliss, into content, and by its very definition, be perfectly happy with all that you have.

And that, is a most wonderful thought to think.

With all of the above in mind; I ask you specifically… What is bliss?

The Person Behind The Mirror

Life is just a series of  tiny moments. Unique little, fleeting “nows”… that happen in the moment, before we realise it happened. At an attempt to understand the now, to determine what the now even is, takes us away from it, and to a new experience. A new now, spent on analysing a now that has already passed. For to spend time analysing the moment, you cannot be in it.

Comparative to when you are in a stare, and as soon as you realise you are staring, no matter how hard you try to remain in that moment of bliss, contentment, or nothingness… It’s already gone. And you can only try to pretend you are still in a stare. But you aren’t. You’re just looking in a direction. 

What this leads us to understanding, should we spend enough time thinking on it – is that you should not necessarily spend time piecing together why you are feeling how you are in any given moment. You should not quantify it, or assign it a given arbitrary value. For if you are happy, you may wonder why, and by wondering why you are no longer feeling that experience of pure happiness.  
You may compare your assigned value of happiness, to a time when you thought you were happier, and suddenly this most recent moment becomes less valuable. But only by comparison. The moment itself has changed in no way. 

You may find yourself dancing in the living room, and in a state of content; and then by suddenly wondering WHY you are enjoying yourself at such a small moment, you may lose it. Your arms may fall to your side, and you will lose you buzz. But only because you chose to think about it. Instead, if you were happy, be happy. Equally if you are overcome with sadness, be sad. Don’t be more sad, or angry because you are sad. Just be sad. Be in whatever moment, you chose to be in. In whatever state of you, you choose to be.

These, fleeting little now’s, that change and dip and rise over time, leave us to grasping a fictitious concept of ourselves. Not only must be ponder the moment in the now, but also the person in the now. And these too, are troubled little changing chaotic beings. We can stand firm, and think, and be quite sure that we are a certain kind of person, but of course, that perception is as much affected by what we have done, as what we will do. For instance, I remember a time when a group of bullies started to harass a boy while I was at school. I wasn’t close to this boy, he wasn’t in my friend group, and in fact I know the boys who were bullying him. But I still stood up for the boy being bullied, despite the fact I lost face in the eyes of the other boys. I raised my voice and defences, and fought off the bullies, until they walked away with their tails between their legs. So this must mean I am brave…

And yet… I remember an identical time, on a bus, when another boy was being bullied. He was the same, in yet I did not know him very well, but it was clear he was uncomfortable, and was outnumbered. These bullies I did not recognised. I thought myself brave as before, yet when I went to raise my defences once more… I got scared. I was afraid in that moment, and so… I did nothing. I let them bully and torment that boy, and ultimately so did everyone else. And he went home, having a bad day, because absolutely no one stood up for him. And so by that moment… I am a coward.

So what am I? Am I brave, or a coward? Is the answer to that simply determined by counting how many times I was brave versus how many times I was a coward? Well… Then it comes more difficult. Because one might suggest that, actually fighting is in itself a cowardly act. That rising above violence is in fact the much braver act. That talking things over, and resilience are far better attributes that flaring brute power. In fact, any number of people could argue these things, and could change there points of view at different points in time. And so when they do… Do the bravery vs cowardly numbers flip? And who gets the final verdict? 

The answer, ultimately, is… you. You get to decide. You will manipulate any memories in a way such as they benefit your motives and agenda’s, given on your perceived state and morality. If you think lowly of yourself, you will manipulate memories into believing you acted as lowly as you are, and if you think highly of yourself you will paint over memories to convey yourself as a God.

The point being, that the now you’re thinking about in the past, ISN’T the now. It’s whatever you think the now is, or whatever you want to think it was. That memory of a now, is actually a new experience you’ve created, and dressed up as that now. And so, it doesn’t matter what any given moment WAS. In a way it matters what it IS. To you, now.

So it shows that once the moment is gone, unfortunately no matter how hard you try… it cannot come back. It is then within your best interest, not to begin analysing it so deeply, for all you will do, is cut it’s time short. Be happy when you are, and be sad when you feel like it. You can control your emotions, in a sense, because you can determine your reactions to the world – but if you’re already in an experience, just be in it. Accept it. Experience it. 

Do not stress. Do not stress that you are not good enough, or wonder if you ever will be. Do not worry and think of the future, and the chaotic nature of it. The what ifs and the hows. Do not compare yourself to another, whether that is another version of you or another person altogether. In fact, don’t even compare, period. It is the enemy of joy. Remember that your perception of the world and yourself can change on a flip of a coin. And it is entirely up to you when you flip the coin, and even the outcome of it. For you can call the coin at any time, and determine whether you want heads or tails to prevail. 

There is no contractual obligation by which you are held, to be the same person you were five minutes ago. You do not have to be something because of what you are now, or because of what you were.

I wish everyone reading this, the most wonderful festive season, and the happiest new year when it comes. It’s a time when for whatever reason we chose to change ourselves, and so by definition must judge and define ourselves. So if you chose to do that, remember:

You are who you chose to be. And ultimately, you need only answer, to the person behind the mirror.

The Burial

Do not consider the version of you, that you are today, to be the best version of you that there ever will be. This presupposes arrogance, or a reluctance to learn, to improve. Stagnant and immovable, unlike anything else in this flowing universe. Which is a sign of the ignorant, and the boring. The version of you, that you are now, is not some post-best version of you. Even if you’ve been through times of greatness, or succession of success, and that comes to an end, do not then assume that something new will not come along again, or that you’ve played your part and can wait by the sidelines until the curtain closes. There is no stopping, there is no end, simply a change in the game, or in the rules that you play by. This feeling of lost, or ending, is a feeling we often get at the end of a long venture, such as a business venture, or maybe even the end of a period of formal education, such as school or university.

It’s at times like this we must most remember; the road is a long and arduous one – with friends and people you’ll meet at the start, while others you’ll meet at the end. Some will stay with you throughout, and some will part somewhere along the way. Some will carry you for a portion of time, as your feet tire against the persistent gravel, and there are others you will carry for some time too. If you’re lucky, you’ll smile and laugh as you carry or be carried, in the form of a piggy back. Sometimes it’s more that you are carried or that you carry, by the back and by the back of the knee, as you rest against their chest, or as they rest against yours.

Sometimes eyelids will be closed, shielding tender eyes from the searing light of the sun, or the unforgiving reminder of the vastness of the universe in the form of twinkling stars. Sometimes they will remain closed for longer than they should, for fear of all that  they’ll see. Or if you’re feeling lonely; for fear of whom you will not see, around you, when you need them most. Those whom your crave, to keep you warm amidst frosty nights.

Sometimes you will smile; and lie. Inside you curl up your toes underneath your bottom, and hold on tight to your shins as you fear the coming storm, in whatever form it chooses to manifest itself – and yet your outward projection is one of confidence, a frame that can withstand all the weather that can be thrown at it. When in reality, you are as sturdy, as Autumn leaves.

This is known as bravery, being the only one that knows that you are afraid.

But never let it be forgotten, that you do not have to be brave, to be good. You can be honest. You can be kind. And after you have been consumed by whatever life has become for you, and thrown at you, you must remember you can revive yourself or be revived with the support of others, and you can be brave again. Even if only a time, until you cannot be brave any longer. We are what we do consistently; not what we have done once before. Greatness therefore, is a habit. Not an achievement.

So you have not been great, and guided; and now you are lost, and mediocre. The road is simply not without its speed bumps. Its speed limits. It matters not that you slow, just that you do not stop. You are great, and you will be great, because of what you continually strive to do. It is okay to fail. It is not okay, not to try.

Do not long for a version of you that has passed. Rather, ensure their return, and eventually safeguard that they are improved upon, and no longer the standard by which your own personal greatness is based upon. Ensure the return is relentless, and without mercy. If the world is a fire, ensure you are a storm. Whatever life throws at you, as unrelenting as it is, remember that you are unyielding, and more ferocious than it can ever hope to be.

Do not find yourself giving up early, due to wearing parts and exhaustion; suppressing your dreams and ambitions off to one-side and pretending that you can gleeful accepted mediocrity, when in fact you have merely given into it. For all you will accomplish, is not realism – but an early death. One where you die, at twenty five – and are buried much later in life.

There is no point in giving in. There is no emergency exit. For not even the end of the road, can be the end. There has never been an end. Only a change of the game, or the rules by which you play.

Is God The Answer, For You?

The question often seems as though it is; does God exist?

With relative certainty you’ve probably discussed this at some point in your life; whether as an inquisitive child and left it at that, or more likely as a curious adult seeking answers as you grow up.

God can offer guidance in times of great difficulty, and arguably most importantly can comfort a lost soul in times of great loneliness, by making them feel not so truly alone. Like they are being looked after. Like they will be looked after when their days are done.

And yet, despite the positivity that the knowledge of a God can bring into your life; still there are men and women who do not believe in the existence of a God and their omnipotence. Still there are those who refuse his or hers guidance, and the wisdom they impart through their disciples and prophets.

Why? Why would you not choose to believe in a God who’s purpose is to ensure our well being through their divine intervention and grand plan?

Well – the answers to that it seems may come in multiple parts.

Omnipotence to many; is actually to a deity’s detriment. If one were to describe God as entirely in control; of every wave on all the oceans and of every wind within all of the airs on Earth – then surely that means nothing at all. In the same way if everyone is beautiful; then there would be no need for the word, because there would be no word for ugly, so there would be no requirement for the word for beautiful. If God is entirely in control of what will happen, then this is as useful to the average man or woman as saying God is in control of nothing. Either way, it offers no sustenance, no tangible answers. If God’s will is carried out, regardless of a Faith in them or not, regardless of a worship of them or not – then what is the point? In fact, what then is the purpose of humanity? To revel in the splendour they have bestowed upon us, but at the price of their glorification? To marvel in the wonders of the universe, but with the condition we are born of sin, and owe a higher power much more than we could ever give them? Why are we born of sin, if we were not there to make the choice to be conceived at all?

It seems then, the answer that a God is in control, offers little to us, as a consciousness.

Moreover, perhaps the answer “God is all knowing.” is not a satisfying one. Not in the sense that it is a difficult to swallow answer, but more that again, this means nothing to the “I”. If God is all knowing, yet our communication with them is entirely one-way in the form of thoughts and prayers, then what knowledge does this impart on us? If I need to have my plumbing fixed, the answer, “The plumber down the street knows how to fix that.” does not actually fix my plumbing. I would still require their knowledge to be put into practice, or have the knowledge myself in order to alleviate my circumstances from me. Surely then I should be able to call the plumber and have them respond? Otherwise I would become frustrated, and choose another plumber? Perhaps this applies to a God. Even maybe the choice of which God, also?

So God being in possession of all knowledge, again does not benefit anyone or anything in the universe, other than he or she of grand power who has decreed it to be so.

What’s more, if God is the creator of all things; the origin of the Universe – then surely this only begs further questioning. If God is the creator our universe and all things; “Why?” and “What Came Before That?”, are the only logical follow up responses to the original question.

Science is in an ever pursuit. There is no comfort to be found, that science will ever be complete, and than any one of us can understand it to the fullest extent. The notion that Science will one day finish, and solidify, seems rather foolish indeed, because science understands the notion of change; of a flowing river and how it transitions to that state. It understands that the universe is always changing. It’s stated in the common phrase, “Nothing is ever created or destroyed; only converted.” such as energy from electrical to light, with some heat and sound too. What this would effectively mean, is that while Science can define and categorise events that have happened based on past experiences, it can only help us to further predict future experiences. It is a fairly accurate prediction based on what HAS happened, that the thing WILL happen again. Which is the same as taking some comfort that because God protected us at some point (based on a belief) that they WILL protect us again (based on a Faith), and everything will be okay. At least Religion can offer some finite answer, rather than pose an indefinite number of further questions, which Science seems to and in fact relishes upon.

While the two, Science and Religion, seem as though they are distinct and polar opposites, they share remarkable similarity. The main similarity being, that they are both a pursuit for answers, for knowledge, and comfort. The key difference being that Religion is satisfied with the answer, that a deity, or a higher power has the answers, and with Faith we can assume they have it taken care of with a knowledge we do not possess, and with information we cannot comprehend. Science however, is not so satisfied. If science were to remain humble (which it always has been), and understand that it does not have all the answers and that something else does, it would mutter under its breath, “yet.” As in, “we do not have the answers we seek… yet.” And it does so in the understanding that once those questions have been answered, this will in turn only lead to further questions. Nut this is okay. This is progress; this is a desire for growth and for change, which the universe as we can observe it, is an example of. Science then, is surely an alignment with the universe, and a desire to understand the self; rather than where Religion sees humans as an inhabitant of the universe, placed there by some divine intervention, to be watched over and governed.

It seems then that Science and Religion are both about unification, but Science unify’s with the universe, and Religion unify’s with a God, whom happens to operate the universe in which they have allowed us to inhabit.

Science and Religion are both about Faith. Religion is a Faith in how their divine entity will govern the universe, and ultimately a Faith that they will do right by humanity. Whereas Science is a Faith that previously confirmed theories and experiments backed up by replicated evidence will continue to be replicatable. When in fact they could change on a dime, and all could be disproven, as the laws of Science readily admit.

As an addition; generally those who’s Faith relies on Science believe that it is the self who governs their own experience of the universe. For if a God is in charge of that, why would he or she allow such evil and iniquity in the world. It’s a common argument, that no doubt the religious will be sick to death of hearing, because they are sick to death of replying, “It is God’s will.” or “Have Faith in God.” or “It is all part of God’s plan.”

But it must be understood, that surely one of a reasonable kind and loving nature, would not want to worship a deity, who believes the soul purpose of a life is to experience anguish, pain, agony, and unkindness. If the plan is that someone must experience this, in order that another would not have to, then surely this is a bad plan. And surely one who would come up with such plan, should not be worshipped.

If a religious person were then to suggest, “No, all you must do is pray for God’s intervention, and they may choose to listen, and alter their plan according.”

To which it would be reasonable to say then, that there could not be some grand plan set in stone, which must mean it is changing and so therefore provides evidence that Science is perhaps more accurate. Additionally, why is the divine allowed to choose when to listen?

But finally… Surely thoughts and prayers do not work, because measurably they had not for the thousands of years humanity had been around. For hundreds of years that we can measure in literature, we prayed for plagues not to kill us, and yet they did. Our prayers went unanswered then, so why would he listen to your prayer for a new car? Or to pass a school exam? Is your exam more important than a life? Again if a God were to say yes, surely you would not want to worship that person, who may allow your significant other to die of some horrible illness or experience, because thousands of miles away another person needs a new car which they had prayed for so persistently

Thoughts and prayers do nothing; Science, measurably, does.

Pen

In the above image, you see our population increase exponentially thanks to the advancement of Science. As evidence of this, Penicillin was discovered in 1928. It’s mass production began in the early 1940s.

To believe and take comfort in Religion it seems, is perfectly the choice of the self. To believe in Science is equally so.

Religion can offer its answers in Faith of a higher power; by which knowledge and answers lie in the deity, and you can take comfort from that and their decisions they make surrounding that. Science offers its answers in Faith too, but in replicatable, measurable experimentation that allows humanity to assume the universe will continue to operate in such a way. It seems the prize of Science is answers and knowledge contained within the self, but at the price of comfort. Because ultimately we do not know all the answers or knowledge and perhaps never will. What’s more, is we must have Faith that as a society, some possess knowledge others will/do not, and that they too must use that knowledge appropriately for the collective good.

You may find this article provided no answers; but perhaps you were looking at it the wrong way. The question it was answering, was not whether Science was correct, or Religion was; instead it looked to at least partially answer, “Is God The Answer, For You?”. This assumes you must understand both sides, at least a little, to make that decision.

Whatever path you decide to choose; regardless of whether you stick to that path or not; be kind to others.

Remember; that while they are of different perspectives, and provide different answers, it is up to you which combination of which you choose to accept. You can discern your own perspective. They are not mutually exclusive, and you need not commit to both in their totality. No one does. It is up to the self; to make the sovereign choice.

And even if you don’t like the choice that another made, at least understand it.
And accept that it was their choice to make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definition – A study of “Now”

It would be a presumptuous yet fair statement, to say that we all have a preconceived notion of what we want from our time in this life that we perceive as ours. An idea of what it would take for us to reach the plenum of existence, and consider ourselves “fulfilled”.

And yet, if you were to stop for a moment; put a pause of your life as best you could, and write a list of exactly what it is that you want from your time on this Earth, and make a conviction and a promise not to change that, you would run into two distinct problems.

One: while it is perfectly easy to suggest you pause your life, you obviously and unfortunately cannot. If you were to take your time and write this list, with the intention of completing it in totality and never changing it, you would encounter a problem based on an assumption you would have had to have made, in order to even begin writing the list. The assumption would have been that you, unlike everything else in the universe; are static. An assumption that while your body grows old and tires, YOU are always YOU.

When in reality, YOU are changing all the time. You are not some steadfast rock grounded into foundation which a river works around, rather you are part of its water. It just becomes difficult to define the water part, in the same way you can point to the whole river and say “water”, or pick out a single molecule and say “this too is water”.

It’s a result of a struggle to separate the “I” of the mind and the “I” of the body. Assuming they are not one thing, because one part thinks, and the other part is physical matter. We forget the physical matter provides the means by which the conscious thinks, and can therefore perceive the physical part.

The two are cyclical; perfectly chicken and egg. And the two are changing at every second of the day as you flow from one moment to the next. A great example of how ever fluctuating both your mind and body are; is you may have a memory of a time you were brave, and so you could define yourself as courageous – that you put your body in harms way to save another in some form. And yet, you will probably also remember a time when you were cowardly. When you stood and watched a bully, rather than intervene, for fear of reprocusion. So are you brave, or are you cowardly?

Or were you simply brave in one moment, and cowardly in another?

But while you think of that; you will come to:

The second of the two problems: you can write down the words, “I want to be happy” or “I want to have wealth”; but you must remember that these are just words, not the feeling as they are themselves.

That is to say, that to physically say the words, “I am happy.” is not the same as being happy itself. Being happy is an indescribable feeling, because once you are in a moment of happiness, you’re not thinking about how happy you are; you just are. Like all else, it’s like a flow. You lose track of time, and you simply are the experience you are living, and it’s one which through one way or another evokes happiness. If you are to stop and think “why am I happy?” or “how happy am I?” you have begun to detract from the experience, and may actually think “how could I be more happy?” which decreases the intensity of the experience further so that actually you can’t describe your feeling of happiness just now, because you’ve lost yourself trying to define it, and by comparing it to future or further happiness it’s now not as happy as you imagine you could be.

So you’re defining nothing.

In the same way you could say you “want wealth” and in one moment mean “money” and in the next mean “purpose.”

In summary; what this effectively means, is a “You” which is no longer “You”, is defining an experience of say, “Happiness” which you cannot define, because the “Happiness” you are trying to define has passed to the variation of “You” than you were, and the “You” that you are now because you spent the time to define it.

Classification and definition are traits of the intelligent entity; perhaps experience is the trait of the wise entity.

To live the moment; is better than to define it, for in defining it, you surrender it.

And while you could define a moment, retroactively, this is defining a memory of a moment, and not the moment itself. So it is subject to infinite complications and inaccuracies.

Definition enables comparison. Rather than experiencing temperature, you are now experiencing hot or cold, or hotter or colder. This applies to happiness and sadness.

Rather, live in the moment as it is. Do not fear it or long for changing of circumstances, simply bask in what is. And while you can choose to define, at least understand what you are doing to the moment by categorising it. Take the moment as it comes, as it is in its purest form. Do not long for more or less of it, or a greater or lesser intensity of it. Simply; be.

Regardless of what you do; I hope the moment you find yourself in now, is a happy one. Just try not to think about it.

 

“I feel as though I haven’t really done anything…”

Isn’t it so interesting, that of the people we are kind to; often ourselves is not one of them?

How often, would you say that you can look at the accomplishments of others, and revere in astonishment, and yet upon self-reflection, you appear to see nothing to remark on the path behind you?

Even when others praise your accomplishments – or perhaps even simply your character – still there is a fog of doubt which seems to rarely clear. And so although you have done so many things, and many things right, it would appear to you that you have done nothing at all.

Perhaps next time you look at the person staring at you behind the glass, you should see them as others do; without the filter of you.

Shorts: The Apple Tree

When the seed in your hand has come from an apple; it does not matter how much you wish for it to be an orange tree. Regardless of whether you pray, and request for it to change; when you plant it, and bide your time until it grows, it will always be an apple tree, and bare more apples to enjoy. It does not care for your desires, nor does it care how much you desperately would like to try something new. It is an apple tree. And it will be an apple tree. There is nothing you can do to influence that outcome.

Do not spend your time in vain, wishing, with thought and prayer, or with some kind heuristic botany. Instead, find your new solution. Allow that apple tree, to be the little apple tree it needs to be, as you pursue what it is you need. Do not spend a moment of thought, on sadness over what is essentially a desire for control, where this control is an illusion.

There is so much in life, that we fuss over because of a perceived control over it. And as humans, when we lose control of something it gives us great distress. It gives us anxiety, because we feel as though we no longer can predict or even understand the outcome of any given situation, which in turn gives us anxiety. A tension, which is a desire for more stable conditions.

But the truth is, that whether we like it or not, we have less control over larger things than we would like. We can love someone with all of our hearts, and give everything that we are to them; but that does not mean they will be kind in return, offer us any time, or reciprocate that love with us. We can train a lifetime for a given task, and manipulate our paths in the best way possible to achieve the goal when the time is right; but that does not mean there is not a chance we could be run over by a bus tomorrow. Equally there are those who will be greedy, do iniquitous and horrific things; and never be caught for it, and die thinking they got away with it.

Once you submit that control over anything but your thoughts and your actions is an illusion, the rest of the pieces of your life seem to fall into place. And you find that rather than fighting every wave in the sea, to get where you need to be; you simply adjust the sails.

 

What Is YOUR Meaning Of Life? AND; What Is The Meaning Of YOUR Life?

There is a reason the question, “What is the meaning of life” has been around since we could perceive our own time and existence – it’s essential to the driving force that keeps us moving forward, purpose. People have perished, their minds withered to self-flagellation over the pursuit of the meaning of life. People cannot enjoy the now, without consistently returning to the question, what’s the point of it? What’s the end goal? Where’s it leading to, and what will tomorrow bring as a result?

“What good is today, if there is no tomorrow?”

But the fact of the matter is, the question itself is inherently flawed because it assumes we are basic creatures, that any one of us is required to be remotely similar to another, or that we are confined and constrained to order and discipline – when in fact, we can do whatever we God damn feel like, as long as we possess the will to do so. It is basic science that some of the primitive drives that define life, are a need to consume, and a need to reproduce. These are literally two of the seven common concepts that an organism must exhibit in order to be classed as life – and yet we have all known people who have no desire to have children, or have known people who have suffered great anguish in midst of a hunger strike, to support something they wholeheartedly believe in. We are no longer even required to abide by basic laws of biology, because we have the capacity to protest it.

It seems then, that once consciousness can perceive itself, and perceive what it means to be itself, as long as it possesses the ability to alter this, it can be anything it wishes to be. And so life, becomes a little blurry, especially to the individual whom despite being surrounded by many lives, will only ever experience one perspective, one life.

There is a reason the question has been around since the dawn of our time and yet remains unanswered. The question, what is the meaning of life, is flawed, because it assumes life is a constant. When in fact, life, can be whatever you believe it to be. There can be life in a painting, or in a glass of wine, or a good book. There can be life in a dance, or a memory, or in the beat of a drum. And yet simultaneously, life is the here and now. It’s the flora and fauna as far as we can see in stretches touched and untouched by the Sun, and further out lights of the universe.

Instead, rather than asking yourself a fundamentally unanswerable question, it may be better to consider rather, what is YOUR meaning of life? Perhaps with that you may reach a consensus in your mind as to, what is the meaning of YOUR life?

While the questions sound the same, and are similar in syntax, they probably require a second read to even see there is a difference; they are very different indeed.

The important distinguishment being:

Perhaps your meaning of life is to help others achieve their optimum goals. But the meaning of your life, is to teach. Then again, the meaning of your life could be to doctor others instead, so that they may go on to live their best lives.

You must not look for an answer, what lies beyond that which you care about. First ask yourself what you wholeheartedly believe in as a human being, and use that to create your own meaning of life as a whole, and then decide in which way you will play your part towards it. To assume you are some kind of omnipotent being that can simultaneously be the meaning of life, and fulfill it in whole, is really rather hubris.

So, perhaps you come to the conclusion you just care about “Good”. An idea of “Good” or “The Greater Good.” Well not that your meaning of life needs defined by a set definition, but that would come under Aristotelianism. You could then decide the meaning of your life is to disparage iniquity and greed, and redistribute wealth among your community/country to be more equal and fair. Perhaps this does not interest you at all, and you feel you must simply do your bit to get by, that you are required to just do your bit and play your part. Well this could come under Kantianism or Confucianism, “Do as you’d have others do” and “Live an ordinary life” respectively. You could then decide to get an ordinary job, and raise a family, same as many others have before. Perhaps you believe there is no true meaning, and you should do whatever the hell you god damn feel like, this could come under Nihilism, Absurdism, or Cyrenaicism. Perhaps you wish to believe in god, and higher powers; Theism. Or perhaps simply and nobly, “Learn more.”; Platonism. You could then dedicate your life to becoming an accomplished scientist, or a literary scholar.

The irony being that while this is article is an attempt to be impartial, I am approaching this particular topic with Logical Positivism, an idea that “Life has no meaning, until you assign it one”. But I believe it an insurmountable truth, as there is no other who may give you an answer. They may steer you towards one, but ultimately you must choose it.

Then again, I also approach my own life with a mix of Aristotelianism, Platonism, Logical Positivism, StoicismClassical Liberalism, and the idea that you are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago – so the guide by which we follow and the path in which we have defined can equally be changed any any given time for any given reason should we ever decide we don’t like it.

The fundamental point being – stop looking for the meaning of life. Stop looking for tomorrow. Life is that which you define it to be, because you are an intelligent creature, in an extremely intelligent universe, of which you are part of and simultaneously the same as. If you wish to find the meaning of life, you must first create it in one’s own mind. An idea in the mind, is worth more than all the treasures on Earth.

 

Discussion: Language, without barometer

Suppose that in ten million years, humanity has been long wiped off the face of the planet. Some life still remains, but it has regressed to a more primitive state, due to some cataclysmic event, caused by our own iniquity, or some element of chance.
No animal that could understand the basics of calculus has existed on the rock called Earth for a very long time.

When one day, entirely by chance, our no longer blue planet is discovered, by some nomadic civilisation, who managed to achieve travel into the stars without using that same technology to blow each themselves up. In the ruins alone, under the assumption that concrete has eroded into mere particles that blew in the wind, and pages from books lost their ink; this civilisation would be able to piece together very little of what we were. Even if somehow some homestead had managed to endure the withering of time – if it had been cocooned in a blanket of ice, for instance; where would you even begin to understand what objects were?

A slab of metal and glass filled with silicon lines, in the corner of a room, where every piece of furniture is pointed at it. Knives and forks on the dinner table, for fighting no doubt. Window frames on the second floor, because we could jump so high, and often used that for quick access. Cloth in wooden containers, powdered energy in glass jars, animal carcasses in large white frozen boxes. It would be a frightening world of guesswork without a basis by which to guess. Everyone has had that experience of trying to tell a story, that was funny at the time, but after telling it out loud you find the other person does not find it so. Think of this, except not only do you not speak the same language, but you share no history, no culture, no prospects, no allegiances, and perhaps not even the same galaxy.

Now let’s suggest that humanity as a collective decides that the idea of a future civilisation discovering our remains and not being able to fabricate who we were is just too harsh a thought to bare. So they decide to devise a solution to this, or at least to devise a means in which to help these future nomads. And as a collective, they have decided to accept applications from anyone on the planet, and accept any ideas anyone on the planet may have on how best to communicate with the future visitors.

The problem then becomes the focus of this article: How do you communicate with these visitors? How do you construct a language, without barometer? In our own world, translations of works are inherently different to the language in which they were originally written, mainly because there is no word which translates over 100% – but at least we have something by which we can vaguely relate it to. But with an alien visitor -you don’t even have a set of words, objects, animals, or plants, by which you could guarantee you share. Not only this, but you cannot even predict the senses this alien might use to perceive the world around them. It is not enough to suggest you could communicate in a language that is a concatenation of a number of languages that are most frequently used or most expressive; because you cannot guarantee this creature has ears. Or perhaps they do but do not hear in the same frequency as we do. Perhaps you wish to communicate in symbols? – Well it has taken us thousands of years to build up semiotics to the point we can look at something and register to which category it belongs to at a glance, and even now most humans struggle with all of them, they differ in time and they differ from culture to culture. Equally, as before, the visiting nomads may not have eyes. Or if they do, maybe they do not see colour in the same range that we do. Lets say that they do have eyes – well what do they even register as a note? Say they looked at English at a glance, they could interpret the white space between the letters as the symbols rather than the letters themselves.

The possibilities are near endless for interpretation. This would be fair to say of something that came from our planet, or even our galaxy. But this could be a visitor that we may not even recognise as intelligent life, and yet regardless, it is. So much so that it had travelled through the stars to find us.

Furthermore then, we have an obligation to protect intelligent life as best as we can. To avoid any kind of pain and anguish where we can. If something can intelligent understand the universe and perceive its own consciousness, it must be our responsibility to ensure it.
It is important then to have this discussion – say we are aware of what brought about our destruction. It is our obligation then, to warn these visitors of the dangers we could not avoid. Perhaps areas of contamination, physical or otherwise, should be left in the past and certain technologies either avoided or proceeded with caution. The question being, how do we do this?

How would you communicate to something that may not even perceive the world in the same way that you do? And on a more personal note… Would you? Would you personally make an application to share your thoughts on how best to do this?

Arguably our only efforts to communicate without language thus far, is music. For thousands of years, we have communicated celebration, happiness, fear and war to others through music. No lyrics required to communicate exactly how we feel. Perhaps this would be our best bet to begin. Perhaps the sound of children laughing, the rain forest, or the ocean reaching the shoreline. The times at which we as a species were most at peace.
But then, while this may provide an example of our environment – it doesn’t necessarily define who we were or are. When we were good or bad. When we loved, and when we hated.

If we continue on a scientific trend – would we leave behind a hologram of a child as an ark of information, to provide context to who we were? Would this be the most realistic option, to convey our messages of peace in as many images and as many words as we possibly could? Could this child hold out a hand, with the bumps on his hand spelling in braille, and his words echoed in every other language, and Morse code? Would what the child spoke even resonate on any parallel? Should we literally throw sounds and light in some form of pattern, and hope that something sticks? Data dump our history and languages in as many different patterns as possible? Perhaps an AI, that can use everything that we are currently to determine what COULD be encountered in the future? Statistically, this is probably necessary. As much as they would like to earn us, we may need to learn it first, in the form of some machine learning. To discuss topics not only do we not understand yet, but we may never even have encountered in our cosmically short lifespan.

What if we decided that we wanted to communicate, only that which we wanted to communicate. I.e. perhaps we would wish to leave out the horrid parts of our history, or tell much more embellished versions of it in myth, legend, and art rather than the much more hard to swallow science and objectivity. If we were to do that, how could we separate semantics from pragmatism? To say very clearly what is, and not what we meant to say. This applies to our language, and also our visualisation of our culture. Say we built, or painted, or sculpted a grand cathedral, and hid it in some frozen ark – we may try to convey how complex and grandiose we were in our architectural choice – only to find that our visitor friends interpret the use of space as inefficient. They may regard our distinct lack of compactness instead, as a sign we were not intelligent whatsoever. That we were too wasteful. Perhaps then, they would be right.

The questions are endless, and arguably you could discuss for the millions of years we are hypothetically wiped out discussing what we could and should do – if and when we should – why and where we should. In fact, this question, which its infinite possibilities seems to grand a task to bestow upon us, and too great a burden to endure.

But if something is important enough, you must always try. Even if the expected outcome, is failure.

However; the question remains: Would you? And if so, how? How would you begin to construct a language to speak beyond the stars, without barometer?

Go.