Life is meaningless – for true wellness, create some
Life must be given meaning by the obvious fact that it has no meaning. Henry miller
In a cosmic sense, our lives and the existence of all life on Earth is a bit of a paradox: we and the world around us are mind-boggling and wonderful contingencies beyond the language of superlatives, unlikely almost beyond belief. The paradox comes in the reality that everything amounts to nothing, ultimately, because life has no cosmic meaning and every creature will die, everything else will be destroyed and everything that is will disappear forever without a trace.
Which is a polite way of saying that life is meaningless, basically, but you are here now, so the silver lining, REAL wellness is inventing meanings and purposes that promote wellness, yours and as many others as possible. possible.
Any discussion of the meaning of life invites a distinction between cosmic and terrestrial meaning. Life has no meaning only in the cosmic sense; Opportunities for finding meaning come in the second type of meaning, which will be discussed below.
Cosmic meaning is meaning from the perspective of the universe. This is the sense in which life is meaningless and insignificant, extremely limited in time and space. We are tiny beings on a planet in an uncomplicated solar system in a galaxy with hundreds of billions of solar systems, and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to write an understatement that exceeds this: we are not the center or the point (Reason to be) of the universe. The cosmos is coldly indifferent to our destiny. Everything lacks lasting consequences.
Yet billions of people believe that their lives have lasting meaning. Acculturated from birth to see themselves as cosmic celebrities, special beings created by a god who loves them personally and, after death, will invite them to live forever and ever in a truly cool place. This conviction would give anyone a strong sense of cosmic meaning. Good job or retirement, maybe, if you can get it, that is, if it’s true. However, there is a downside to this way of thinking. In the Christian court without appeal, believers in this cosmic meaning can be found guilty of not having loved God enough, in which case eternal horrors await.
If the cosmic meaning I just described sounds absurd and you suspect I’m making it up (and I wouldn’t blame you for that, it sounds crazy), check the obituaries of your local newspaper. Here you will find accounts of people who, despite dying, are said to have made the transition to a glorious place of eternal bliss. (Interestingly, I have never seen an obituary notice that the deceased are now burning in hell.) Or, get a little more scholarly about it: read David Benetar’s 2017 book, The Human Predicament: An Honest Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence and even less likely than heaven or hell. Therefore, this type of theological take on cosmic meaning must be embraced with faith and more than a few grains of proverbial salt. But then again, maybe that’s what it takes to get into The good place.
In an earthly sense, of course, our lives have a meaning, they matter enormously, not only for us but for others and in some cases, perhaps for an entire tribe, a people perhaps, hell, in some rare cases, for all of humanity, in some way, at least for a time. Think of Paine, Lincoln, Darwin, Ingersoll, Dawkins, and Harris, and the list of your own heroes, past and present.
The terrestrial meaning must be the dew and the rain, the seed and the soil, the air and the light of TRUE well-being – the beating heart of well-being that makes the human situation less burdensome. The terrestrial meaning could imply what Peter Singer called a transcendent cause, one beyond the limits of the self. Viktor Frankl created an approach to meaning linked to mental well-being called logotherapy, based on the premise that we are motivated by a will for meaning, an inner drive toward animating purposes that make life worth living. Nietzsche’s way of capturing this aspect of terrestrial meaning was to say someone who has a “why” to live with can bear almost any “how”.
REAL wellness and quality of life
Hobbes was optimistic: life is much gloomier than just ‘lonely, poor, nasty, brutal and short. Life is low, low, very, very low quality, for the majority, whether they are poor or rich or something in between. Elon Musk, a billionaire creator of fabulous companies (i.e. Tesla, Space Explorations Technologies, and a new tunnel startup), admits to being under pressure all the time and consequently suffering from mood swings, terrible lows, and relentless stress. So if you want to do better, take quality-of-life improvements very seriously.
To improve the quality of life, recognize how extraordinarily unfortunate life is and let yourself be passionately working to make it less so. Embrace the unpleasant reality that life sucks is the norm, lower your expectations, and resolve to collect every jewel of joy that can be found on your way (Ingersoll). The end is really near, not brain dead End of times fundamentalist doomsday, but simply because life is naturally short, and even shorter if misfortune strikes, which is never unlikely. And, if you are old, well, do I really need to press this point?
The later years: special tips for seniors
If, like me, you are approaching the other side of middle age, you are aware that the only way to avoid aging and suffering the loss of valuable bodily fluids is to die young, and you have managed not to do so, to the virtue of good fortune. chance, genetics, and maybe even the right decisions.
His reward is a difficult age of trials and tribulations. Make the most of it: Life as a senior has its own quirky rewards, plus movie discounts and special early bird dinners. Sixteen at every opportunity. Face the slings and arrows of growing decrepitude with grace, panache, and a sense of humor, wherever possible. (Every now and then, go ahead, whining and whining and mad as hell, most will understand.)
Move as much as your joints and other parts of your body allow. Listen to the advice of others, but follow yours. Don’t give ground without a fight, but don’t sink with the ship either. While all of your senses will be less keen than decades ago, see what remains as treasures and put them to good use.
Pamper yourself Get as much sleep as possible, within limits. Get massages every now and then, and if you enjoy those things, take a dip in the cold water, enjoy the hot tubs, and learn to snowboard, skateboard, and surf the big waves of Hawaii! Haha, it’s a cold dives joke. It’s probably not a good idea, but if you want to try new things and feel playful enough, go for it.
Make a special effort to keep learning new tricks. Consider writing your autobiography – your children, grandchildren, and descendants throughout the centuries will love it. Doing so can be a challenge that brings you pleasure. If your life has been totally boring, make up some crazy things and have your autobiography seized for 100 years. After that, your descendants will know no better and your life will become a proud family legend. What is the harm in a small literary license?
No matter your age, fully accept the fact that no one lives forever, at least not on Earth or anywhere else we can be sure of. Decide how you want to transition back to stardust and celebrate as much as possible, every day, every hour, why you are still here.
So, my friends, sixteen a day, all the days that remain. If from time to time you forget to think and act positively, cheerfully, and joyfully, get yourself an hourglass. Put it on your desk or next to the bed. Make it a subtle reminder not to put off the good, in ways big or small.