Boy, I love the smell of a twisted, alluring title in the morning, don’t you? I bet you came here after googling the exact phrase: “life has no meaning”. I know I did that quite a lot in the past. And I know the feeling.
But the second part of the title came out of nowhere, right? It’s borderline nonsensical. Life has no meaning, and that’s why it’s… I mean, c’mon: are you on pills or something? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time I’m perceived as being close to delusional, but stay with me. It will be worth it.
Life Has No Meaning
First of all, let’s clarify what I mean by “life” here. It’s not some deep, philosophical shit. It’s not like I’m gonna set up a lunch table for Kant, Schopenhauer and the gang. Nope. Life – at least in the context of this article – is much more simple than that.
Life is when you get up in the morning. It’s what you talk about during the day. It’s what you see. It’s what you feel like doing each and every moment of your existence. That’s the life I’m talking about. The first hand experience of reality.
And, believe it or not, this thing has no meaning. At all.
Are you still with me? Good. Then let’s dive into details.
Life has no meaning “of its own”. It’s not like there is a sand stone somewhere in the Universe holding the meaning of life. Or some complicated law astutely engrained in the dance of the DNA molecules or playing hide-and-seek with the quantum physicists.
There is no such thing. The more you think about it, the less you are able to see it. There is no meaning to everything that surrounds us.
And here comes the good part: we are giving meaning to everything that surrounds us.
We are giving meaning to every morning. We are giving meaning to everything we talk about during the day. We are giving meaning to everything we see and we feel like doing each and every moment of our existence.
And you know how I realized this? Because each and every one of us has a different experience of reality. What I see is different from what you see. What I think about when I talk is very different from what you think about when you listen to me. What you feel like doing is very different from what I feel like doing, even if we’re in identical contexts.
There are as many realities as people experiencing “them”.
And that means there’s no reality at all, otherwise we would all see everything identical.
That’s what I meant by “life has no meaning”.
Now, let’s get to the tricky part.
Life Is Disastrous, Wonderful, Sad, Happy And Great
Yes. And it’s also hurtful, complex, simple, beautiful, ugly, transparent, opaque, mysterious and, of course, tricky. And many more.
Because life has every meaning we give to it.
That’s so simple, it’s also impossible to comprehend the first time you actually get it. I know it took a few years to get my head around it. But in the end I really got it.
Simply put, life is exactly how we choose it to be.
Oh well, I may hear your voice form the back of the room: “I feel like crap now, I’m broke, my girlfriend left me and I’m unemployed. Are you actually telling me that I choose this?”
Hold your horses, step away from sharp objects and chew on this: “Yes. You made all those choices. If life has no meaning at all and you’re experiencing frustration and unhappiness, then who gave those meanings to your life? If you are the one giving meaning to reality, then why do you feel like crap?”
And here comes the most important question: “Who’s in charge?”. And then answer, my friend, is: “You. Always”.
Now, here comes something even trickier: I may agree with you that in this very moment, you don’t want to feel like crap. That’s true. Right now you don’t want to feel like this, you don’t choose this.
But you made that choice sometimes in the past. Because, you know, we’re inertial. We’re not processing life in real time. We’re like in a swamp of causes and effects and we’re wandering around, blinded by our own confusion. Decisions we took way back in the past are manifesting their effects now. We’re like a vortex of actions, pushed forward by our desires and needs, and we’re experiencing the constant effect of our decisions.
The more confused we are, the bigger and more chaotic the vortex. And the bigger the confusion, the bigger the force that makes things snowball more and more: for instance, we made the decision to give crap (to other people, or to ourselves, that doesn’t really matter) well, we get thousands times more crap. We don’t get the same amount. The effect is always bigger than the cause. That’s the nature of our lives here on Earth.
We’re vortexes of cause and effect and we’re navigating a subtle fabric that enhances our actions tens or millions of times. A small withdrawal from sport class when you were kid is now transformed by this fabric into a big phobia of exercising. And you’re overweight. And you are afraid to take risks. And these are snowballing each and every second.
So, the reason you’re feeling like crap now is that you choose it. Ain’t that wonderful? Ain’t that magical? Ain’t that the answer to all of our problems?
Because what you choose to do becomes reality. That’s why life has no meaning and that’s why this is a wonderful thing.
Navigating The Vortex
Oh yes, that vortex is strong. We’re talking years (maybe dozens of years) of chaotically spinning in confusion, accumulating eons of momentum and rotational force. We’re strong.
Or, in other words, just because you realized you’re in charge of your life right now, it doesn’t mean it will suddenly become beautiful (or even manageable). The force of effects you’re experiencing right now, in the present moment, won’t stop just because you had an “a-ha” moment.
The vortex is so strong, and we have such a limited perception of its boundaries and potential that we can barely survive.
But the good news is that even a vortex like this can be tamed. Because you give meaning to it, remember? It won’t happen over night, that’s true. But it will happen.
Small decision after small decision, the change will permeate the energy lines of the vortex and it will change its velocity, its power, its momentum. Small things done constantly, each and every day, with awareness, presence and joy, will redirect this energy away from darkness, from fear, from unhappiness.
We will still be a vortex, but we won’t be helplessly dragged away, at the mercy of our past, unconscious decisions.
We will ride it.