Thursday, March 25, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, March 26, 2010

Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it.
The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.
Being alive is the meaning.

Joseph Campbell, mythmaker, teacher, mystic, born
on this date, 1904

Ah. Now that’s what today needs: something to really mull over! Here are some of my thoughts.

Most of us, if we think about it at all, tend to think we have to “discover” the meaning of Life. As if the meaning of Life was somehow established “in the beginning” by whomever, and will be handed to us from “out there” if we are diligent and lucky or smart or whatever. Personally, I think that Campbell is correct. Be that as it may, his boldly saying “Life is without meaning” is like a koan, or a parable of Jesus: it gives us a whole different perspective, opens new doors.

I think the “gods/goddesses/divinities” people have are reflections of what they have decided the meaning of Life is. It’s hard on monotheists: they have to deal with everything in one, and that can make for some very challenging theology! Polytheists have it better; you can choose a nice one or a powerful one or a loving one or a fun one!

I would also say that “Being alive” is critical. The shallower your experience of Life, the shallower the meaning, and the shallower the Divinity you adhere to. Campbell once said, “I don't have to have faith, I have experience.” Perhaps that’s why his God was so expansive.

One of the sad things in our World is just how deprived so many people are from “Being alive”. At least, that’s what I see in our World today – and it applies to both the poor and the rich.

And yet: both the so-called privileged and the so-called unprivileged can and do Experience Life and add to the meaning of Life. They are special blessings.

I choose the good, the lovely, the kind, the generous, the simple. That’s what I try to bring to Life’s meaning. I wish I were better at it!!


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