Disclaimer: This is merely a compilation of my own opinions and ideas. They are subject to change and are merely here for your reading pleasure.
The age-old question; “What is the meaning of life?” One question, many different theories.
Well first off, what do we mean by the “meaning” of life? When I ask what the meaning of a word is, I could be asking for a definition. So do I mean to ask “What is the definition of the word ‘life’?” I could, but I am not in this case. That’s not usually what people are referring to when they ask the question “What is the meaning of life?”
No, people who ask this question (whether they are seriously pondering it or are doing so light-heartedly as a way to break the ice) are really trying to ask “What is the purpose of life?” “What is the point of life?”
In order to answer that question, I must first ask, “What is ‘life’?”
And to find that answer, I need to back-track and ask “What is ‘not life’?”
What do I mean by “not-life”? Well, in simple terms, you would say “dead”. The characteristics of “dead”, or of “not-life”, are primarily biological. To be dead, your vital organs cease to carry out their bodily functions. Your heart no longer pumps. Your lungs fail and you cannot breath.
So in that sense, the opposite of “not-life” would be the opposite of the ceasing of vital organs. In other words, “life” consists of your vital organs performing in such a manner that you are not “dead”.
You could then make the argument that the meaning of life is to merely allow for your organs to function properly. To keep you from being dead.
That is, in a way, a view that certain people hold. I’ll refer to them as the “Flesh-and-Bone”s.
The Flesh-and-Bone’s tend to believe that the meaning of life is merely to prolong the arrival of “not-life”. There is no great purpose to our Earthly life, it is only by mere chance that we happen to be alive right now. We live and we die. It’s as simple as that. In the womb, our vital organs begin working. On our deathbed, they stop. Everything in between, “life”, is merely what we choose to do in our flesh and bones. When we die, our organs stop. Then nothing happens. That’s it.
This is quite the depressing outlook, though seemingly realistic to some. Flesh-and-Bone’s often believe that we as human beings do not have souls and/or that we do not carry on to a sort of after-life. It would then follow that they often hold the view that there is no real point to this Earthly life. We live and we die and the cycle continues.
I believe this is true for most animals. Worms can be used in certain greenhouses to break down certain materials into a type of compost that can be used to create home-made soil. Every animal has some sort of purpose that, in some way, benefits us humans while we are on Earth. But then what? As far as we know, animals do not have souls. They cannot reason. They do not have a conscious. So the Flesh-and-Bone view is actually rather accurate for most animals. Though animals contribute to society, they live, they die, and then that’s it. (I’m sorry if you’ve lost a goldfish in the past and am angry that I don’t believe there is a fish-Heaven. Feel free to believe whatever you’d like. I’m merely stating my insights.)
But then there are humans.
We are no ordinary animals. We have a conscious. We have reasoning abilities.
I’ll refer to the people who believe that we are more than just flesh and bones as the “Package”s.
The Packages believe that the soul resides within the flesh and bones of a human. They believe the flesh and bones of a man give way on his deathbed, but his soul lives on in the after-life (whatever that may look like).
Now let’s go back to my earlier definitions. What is “not-life”? The vital organs ceasing to have the ability to function. What is the opposite, “life”? The vital organs are working properly.
A Flesh-and-Bone will believe that when the vital organs cease to function, that is the end.
A Package will believe that when the vital organs cease to function, it is the end for the flesh and bones, but merely a part of the journey for the soul. The soul’s “vital organs” remain working properly.
I’m afraid I have nothing more to say to any of the Flesh-and-Bones out there. If my description of your view as a Flesh-and-Bone is accurate, you no longer need to bother reading this as it is now being addressed to the Package’s.
The vital organs for our flesh and bones typically function for eighty years. Many of us believe our soul continues to exist for all of eternity.
I believe the purpose of our time on Earth is to keep our souls “healthy” and “functioning properly”. (Of course I use these terms loosely here as there is no way to operationally define the “health” of a soul.) We keep our flesh and bones healthy to avoid diseases that threaten to harm our bodies that could lead to our bodily deaths. We must keep our soul healthy to protect us from the evils that prowl about the Earth that threaten to “severely damage” our souls.
How do we do that? How do we keep our souls “healthy” in order to ensure we take full advantage of our time on Earth to prepare us for the after-life?
I will let you answer that one for now. I’ve written enough for one post