We’re going to take a breather from religion today to talk about life. It is always astonishing to me that people don’t understand the meaning of life, because it is so simple.
The meaning of life is to live it.
Every person is given a finite moment of birth and a finite moment of death; and what you have in between is time, and what you do with your time defines your life, your influence on the world, and if and how you will be remembered.
If you bring life into this world, you may think that you are done: that your purpose is to be a bridge between the past and the future. But, that isn’t true; because if that was your only purpose, you could die after your last child is weaned, and the world would be the same.
Each individual is unique in the world, as is every snowflake and every fingerprint. We each bring with us a thread of the tapestry of life, which we, ourselves, direct the placement of; yet, we will never see the tapestry from any perspective but that of the thread. What do we touch? Where is our location? Maybe what’s around us, maybe not. And yet, with our every waking moment, we affect the whole.
If your spend your life eating and working and watching TV and sleeping, your thread, and what it touches, is very small, and, no matter the length of your life, your thread is short. But if you go out and influence the world, go to new places, touch new lives, your thread is long and is woven all over the tapestry. You will understand more of the tapestry because your little thread and woven its way through more of it. The wider your influence, the greater your understanding, and appreciation of the tapestry around you. The greater your influence, the thicker your thread becomes, and the more you stand out from your fellows.
The world is a large and interconnected place. Each of us has a sphere of influence. For now, imagine what a large community you have is all your Facebook friends, and each of your friends’ friends. Every day, something you say on Facebook goes to this population of people. If you say something funny or profound, perhaps one of these people would pick up your golden words and share them with another set of friends’ friends; until, theoretically, one catchy phrase might go viral and a billion eyes might see it. And this is Facebook: a gathering of pixels and electrons that, in the long run, means very little; but can be a vehicle for incredible change. What if, rather than your influence being in the virtual world, it was in the physical world?
Look, over the course of your lifetime, millions of people around the world will starve. That’s the nature of the world and the current distribution of wealth. If you are reading my little blog, the odds are very good that you will not be one of the people who starves, because you are in a part of the world which has resources and cares at least enough about its people to share things like electrical power and such. But any one of those people who will starve during your life time might have, had they been born in a place like yours, where people are taught to read and write, where people are given a floor under which they cannot fall or be born, any ONE of them might have done something astounding: cure cancer; find an alternate power source; dance like Nuryev. Multiply it out, and, the law of large numbers would kick in and the world would be a different place. And that’s fine. That’s the nature of the world we have. But. Every day, do something to earn the food that someone else will die for the lack of. Don’t just piss away your days, your years, doing nothing.
Some people believe that there will be a war between good and evil. I say that war happens every day. Every day, in a thousand places, there is a decision point where something good could happen or something evil. And good is a nice guy, and evil fights dirty, so the odds are always going to be with the evil. But, be a force that stands up. Whenever there is an injustice, stand against it. Add your voice to the fight. Whenever the weak are being abused, stand with them. If there *is* a fight between good and evil, stand on the side of the good. Because, if you are driving down the street, and you see some kid getting beaten up and don’t stop and help him, you’re on the side of evil. Someone far wiser than I once said that all that evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing. Don’t do nothing. Earn your food. Make your time matter.
If we all did this, the world would be a better place, starting right now.