Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Meaning of Life

This is just a rant that is an ongoing theme in my life. I have always wondered as to what is the meaning of life.

On one level I understand that life is meant to be lived and imposing more meaning to it then that is a method of building my own self importance.

Is life the quest for genetic immortality? if so I need to really get busy because my genetic offspring have not yet continued that quest, which means I need to get cracking and the wife would not like that. Honey - it is a biological imperative. Nope - that would be a quick end to my quest as life would be much shorter.

Is there a higher purpose to life? I feel that those who have strong religious beliefs are perhaps buoyed by those beliefs and it helps them to make sense out of a non-sensical world. My own path has been one of rejection of all organized beliefs and I believe in spirituality without a need for anything else. I also belief that morality is situational and that there maybe a time where it is okay to kill or steal based on the circumstances. A lot of my feelings and beliefs were crystallized when I read a book call Buddhism: Plan and Simple by Steve Hagen. Many of my other beliefs have been shattered by reading anything by Garth Ennis.

Is life just meant to be a relatively hedonist approach? I have often said that the meaning of life is to enjoy yourself as much as possible and do as little harm to others. It is clean and simple, but ultimately self-centered. In that thought where is duty to family, friends, country or humanity to play a role. Of course if I was rich the hedonistic approach would be damn tempting.

Then many of my thoughts also centered on what the hell have I done with my life? Have I done enough to make a difference in the world? Have I made every effort to leave a better place then I inherited? The headache here is that no matter what I have done, I could always have done more. I had a boss tell me I had unlimited potential and I said I guess that means I could always have done the job better.

My intense dissatisfaction and questioning the meaning of life is only fueled by the lack of leadership we have in this world. The Globalism that we are moving to may ultimately lead us to a better place, but right now I do not see the Star Trek future or Legion of Super Heroes (first series) future that I want to be moving towards. Right now I see our government (especially the Senate and the Presidency) all being a bunch of globalists, believing in one world order. This is being driven by the multi-national corporations who believe that by having cheap and free flowing labor they can make enormous profits and draw more wealth and control to themselves. The future that I see us building is a group of elites (maybe 10%-15%) ruling over a group of working poor. Now the trick will be to make sure the masses have enough bread and circuses to keep them from revolting, but otherwise a large peasant class. Corporations are soulless entities that are driven by profit motives and group decision making. The group decision making allows no responsibility to fall to any individual member making the decision and therefore the moral consequences of any action is not considered. I believe the corporate structure as it exist today controls much of the political system and needs to be overhauled. Corporations as they exist today are essentially anti-people.

A large digression from the beginning of this rant, but it is part of what fuels my dissatisfaction for what our world has become.

Still I will remain active in fighting to change the world and my backing of Ron Paul is one element of that fight.

The good thing to know is that right now the internet is the freest voice and most independent and open forum left to the world and hopefully we will find a way to join enough like minded people to take back our government and work to build Metropolis and start up the Federation.

Of course this post points out the danger of having a blog and it probably as introspective a post as you will see from me. Tomorrow back to our regularly scheduled discussion of the true meaning of life - comic books.



    It's our only hope!!!


  2. True.

    Of course I can always run in 2012 or 2016 also.

  3. As always, blanket statements are fraught with peril.

    Let's take a look at the best known candidates. On the Democratic side, we have Edwards, Clinton and Obama. Lesser knowns include my personal favorite, Bill Richardson. None of these people come from wealth. Yeah, at least 2 of them have wealth now (I don't know enough to say about Richardson, and Obama has some money from book sales, but not much in personal wealth beyond that), but neither Clinton nor Edwards came from wealth. Particularly Edwards worked his way to his wealth. Further, you could hardly call Edwards a friend of the corporations. He's about as populist as it gets this go round.

    On the GOP side, you have Guliani, McCain and Romney in the lead. The first and last are definitely allies of the corporations, but McCain has frequently been a thorn to them. Of course, the way he's been cozying up to the religious right these days, who can say what he'd actually adhere to when push came to shove. But, at least these 3 aren't flat earthers who think evolution is an optional religious dogma rather than a proven scientific theory. (But I digress.)

    So, anyway, you've confused me no end with this post. How does government imposed corporate reform comport with your libertarian beliefs? And, really, excactly what kind of reform do you have in mind? How about we just take the profits once they reach a certain percentage?

    By the way, there's a problem with your theory, with regards to the largely peasant class. It's against the corporate interest to have the bulk of the population be poor. Every economy in the world has been most successful with the development of a middle class. Middle class provides both stability and purchasing power. Corporations prize stability above just about anything else because stability fosters profits. Purchasing power also fosters profits. A poor population can't buy what the corporations produce nearly as well as the middle class.

    Don't get me wrong, of course. Corporations can often be short sighted and stupid (I work for one, so I see it up close and personal). They're run by people, after all. But, for the most part, corporations, if held responsible for their actions like individuals, are good for the country.

  4. Clinton was part of the whole Bush/Clinton/Bush era that have constantly sold out to corporate interest. It is all the one world crap that these people are buying into (Edwards, Obama, McCain, almost all of them).

    Coporate interests would seem to indicate that a middle class is important, but yet they really don't care. If they did why is it they look to have workers paid next to nothing. Reebok and whomever pay pennies an hour overseas to sell their products are ridiculous profits. The erosion of the middle class has continued unabated and the corporations really don't care.

    I'm not sure what the nature of the restructuring should take but when the coporate interest go against national interest, then the national interest have to take precedence Check out

    Plus I have a strong libertarian bent, but still believe government serves a role. I haven't made it to the anarchist stage yet. Although it has an appeal.

  5. Ok, you know I don't think you'd be too happy if you heard that either Jamie or I were about to "carry on" your genetic immortality atm =P

  6. What, you're not ready to be the crackpot old grandpa yet?

  7. Dagnabit - what do you mean crackpot grandpa???

    No not yet, but I'm practicing.

  8. I couldn't sleep this morning. My mind has been too preoccupied with purchasing things lately (mainly the new Vintage Star Wars figures). I'm hoping to get the new Snowtrooper figure this morning when Target opens. I've also been "planning" my upcoming purchases: toys, comics, HCs, camera equipment, etc. While none of these things are bad, my obession with them is not good as it (and it doesn't usually last too long) throws my focus out of whack. So, when that happens I go read my Bible.

    I've been reading The Bible through each year for several years now. I try to make a point to do my daily reading BEFORE I do any comic reading. Sometimes, I rush it just to get it done, I'm sorry to say. Sometimes, just getting it read in our busy day is quite an accomplishment, especially when we're traveling. So, I got up around 0400, which is early on the weekend for me (I usually am at work by that time during the week), and did my reading.

    It really did get me focused on the more important things in life, which is God and his purposes, not laying up for myself "treasures on earth". I read a passage in John where Jesus says "I and the Father are one" and then the Jewish leaders of that time tried to stone him for "claiming to be God". This reminded me of the polite conversations I've had with a few Jehovah Witnesses (Yohn, Andre'& Anthony) about the Diety of Christ. It also made me think of the security guard, Robert, at work who is a seeker and skeptic about some things. I've let him borrow "More than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowell and excellent book that addresses many arguments against Christianity. Josh was a skeptic who sought out to disprove the resurrection of Jesus - if he could do that then the foundation of Christianity would be destroyed - he ended up becoming a believer instead. He writes about the Historical evidence of the resurrection. Similarly, Lee Wallace the guy who wrote Ben Hur was set out against Christianity and became a believer. Then I read a passage in I Corinthians 10 that really hit me: "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" Christians are imperfect people and we screw up a lot, which is why you're probably so turned off by organized religion, Jim. I was thinking I should memorize this whole chapter, something I haven't done since I was a kid (memorize that is). Next, I actually read this week's Sunday School lesson, something I never take time to do. It was about the Song of Solomon and how it's a vivid poetic telling of romantic love. It's awesome, but I was thinking this is going to be difficult for the widows and divorcees in the class who don't have spouses anymore. So, I looked at last week's lesson, which I missed for two reasons: our church was having a combined service and there was no Sunday School and I had to leave early because Evy (5) couldn't sit through the combined service. The title: "When Meaning is Missing".

    Now, if you've made it this far, you'll see where I was going with this post. I wanted to respond last week about your topic and I was thinking of taking you to Ecclesiastes - well, the lesson does that quite nicely so I'll type in some quick highlights:

    " 'Meaningless! Meaningless!'
    says the Teacher.
    'Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.'
    What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?" [Eccl. 1:2-3]

    "I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.
    Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." [Eccl. 2:10-11]

    "Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:
    I saw the tears of the oppressed -- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors--and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun." [Eccl. 4:1-3]

    "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear [reverence, honor, obedience - not cringing terror] God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." [Eccl. 12:13-14]

    All scripture references NIV translation

    And here is the commentary from the lesson for May 20, 2007 page 87, David C. Cook:

    God and Meaning: Making the Connection

    Throughout recorded history people have explored the connection between meaning in life and a personal relationship with God. Blaise Pascal, the eighteenth-century French thinker, mathematician, and scientist wrote that there is a God-shaped vacuum in every person that can only be filled by God. The author of Ecclesiastes went a step further. He analyzed all of life only to find that nothing in life was meaningful to him -- at least not until he added God to the equation. He declared that life is utterly meaningless without Him.

    Of course, it is possible for people to keep themselves so busy for a time with such things as a job, family, or recreation that they fail to recognize the hollowness of their existence. But sooner or later, their substitute for God fails and they must face the futility that comes from excluding God from their lives. Even Christians may experience this in some sense if they try to go it alone in a situation, ignoring God's truth and guidance.

    However, if we are contemplating life's meaning at all, we are very near to the reality of God, and by His grace He promises to reveal the truth about Himself to those who seek it (Matt. 7:7-8). He can make our lives blossom, give us joy, and give us a reason to live -- a longing for a new day to come. The Word that became flesh can incarnate Himself in our lives [indwelling Holy Spirit] and fill every dark corner with light. When our hand is in God's and we are trusting Him to lead us down a wise and meaningful path, we discover the goodness and purpose He intends for us, and life is full.
    -end of lesson quote

    I probably would've killed myself in High School if I hadn't been a Christian. Even when I was down, I knew there was still purpose in life. I've seen God work in my life in so many ways, from the death of my Daddy eight days before I was born to the birth of my youngest daughter, Faith Promise Mann. There's a reason why you question the meaning of life, Jim, it's because there is something more out there.

    I hope I haven't offended any or worn out my welcome on this blog. I'll leave the evolution argument for another day.:) So McCain is trying to cater to me now - I doubt it will work. 2008 will definitely be about electing the lessor of two evils. That's an overstatement I know, but I can easily see having to vote for someone who stands for something I believe it but who also stands against other things I believe in or maybe I'll have to abstain from voting this time around. We'll see...

    Have a great day!

  9. Matthew- Nice post, very interesting and I appreciate you taking the time to answer so thoughtfully and you are always welcome on this blog. Love your daughter's name.

    The philosphical points that others have made are similiar to mine and I suppose that is why Action Philosphers is so interesting to me. My continuing quest to find a meaning of life I expect to be an ongoing and lefelong quest.

    As for voting I'm encouraging anyone who will listen to vote for Ron Paul. I believe his libertartian viewpoints are the best chance to have to US make a shift to a better tomorrow.