“That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions, and, were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.”
– George Santayana (1863-1952)
“Is life worth living? This is a question for an embryo not for a man.”
– Samuel Butler (1835-1902)
Flipping through a book of quotes, I came upon the two above. I looked at them for a long while with that feeling that these words were stirring something in my head and my chest, but unable to discern what they were exactly. Have you ever given yourself cause to pause for a mere feeling? Where you recognize that this is something worth looking at, worth turning over for a few more cycles in your mind before moving on to the next thing in your mundane little life. You could take the blue pill: close the book, turn away, and let the feeling dissolve back into the cushy ether of your contented self.
Or you could swallow the red pill and stay, letting the wheels cough and wheeze back to life – a cerebral resurrection. I read them over and over again, each reading slower and more deliberate than the last. It is no surprise that I have wondered about killing myself – you must be honest; all of you have. It seems like something that is unavoidable to think about, even if you have no conscious intention of actually ending your own life. We are animals with vast curiosity. What does it feel like to die? Will people miss me? Who? What will the eulogy sound like? How will the obituary read? How should I go? What if I write a memoir in the place of a tacky suicide note? A suicide memoir. Death sells.
Ironically, thinking about the meaning of life puts one in a rather morbid mood. Even the religious types. All they can talk about is how they’re going to die, where they’re going to go when they die, what good they’re going to do before they die. Old and new testament. Death, death, death.
Thinking about life is just as pointless as life itself. And that is a-okay.
We need to stop worrying about what meaning this great and mystical Life has because there is no inherent meaning. You survived conception, wombhood, infancy, childhood… All you have to do is live. Make up your own goddamn meaning. It doesn’t have to be what I think is the meaning or what your neighbor thinks is the meaning or what your pastor thinks is the meaning. No one can explicitly tell you what the meaning of life is, only what the meaning of their own life is. And even that is perhaps impossible. Perhaps only our subconscious knows what the meaning or purpose of our own life is and all we have to do is listen.
What do you feel is your meaning of life? Is it possible to ever know what it is? Share how glamorous or inglorious your death would be in the comments below.
(Huh. That really was rather morbid. It’s just been one of those days…)