Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Meaning is Not the Answer

If anything in the world catches your eye, it means that it makes you ask questions: who, what, where, when, why. And the answers to these questions are stories.
Meaning is story and story requires causality.
If someone says they are looking for the meaning of  life, they are mistaken. Meaning is something you create, and you can make meaning out of anything, no matter how trivial.
What they are really asking is: what is the thing that I sense behind the stories? What is the thing with no meaning?
The thing with the non-meaning is too large to define. It is terrifying in its slipperyness, its everything-ness. It will not be boxed up.
It scares us. But if we face it down (and by that I mean face down our terror of it). If we sit with it for awhile, we may find that it has no beef with us.
Maybe we fear that if the root of everything is meaningless, everything is therefore meaningless. We fear that the no thing, the non-meaning will invade us, and wring the meaning out of us, leaving us dry little husks.
In fact, it's the opposite.
Meaning is not the answer.
Meaning is separation, division. Meaning is always superficial. A costume for reality.
Meaning is not wrong. It's just small.
When you are asking for the meaning of life, as Joseph Campbell said, you are asking for the experience of being alive, of being so swept up in the moment that you have no doubts about your place in the world.
When you ask for the meaning of life, you are asking to forget all of your piddly little stories and just feel.
And what you will feel will be joy.
Have you ever noticed that during some of the most joyful moments of your life, you weren't doing anything important?
On the other hand, perhaps some of your life's wonderful milestones were plagued by pain and doubt and fear. Perhaps you thought: I'd better take pictures so that I can save this moment and later I will feel the joy.
Now you know why.