It is common for people to ask: What is the meaning of life? Such a question assumes that life is like a word which symbolizes something other than what it is. To get your head around the idea that the question about life having meaning is quixotic or nonsensical, replace the word life with something from nature, as in: What is the meaning of a flower? What is the meaning of a tree? What is the meaning of a duck?
A flower flowers. A tree trees. A duck ducks (especially when a stone is tossed at its head).
What is the meaning of quack? A duck may have an intention for saying it but to our ears, it’s just a sound. To us the meaning of quack is the sound it makes. In like manner, the meaning of a duck is to live as a duck – to be a duck. To duck or to flower or to tree is an action that happens in and of itself. The same holds true for you. You, you. You’re a you-you!
Science can explain the what’s and how’s of a species of duck – its behaviours and interconnectedness to other living things – but as to why there is a duck at all, science is mute.
Religion provides explanations as to why there are flowers, trees and ducks, but those explanations depend on belief systems. Belief, no matter how entrenched it may be, is not verifiable by one’s senses and although science may be verifiable, it cannot explain the why’s. When it comes to explaining why there are flowers, trees and ducks, science and religion are inadequate. That’s where you come in.
When someone walks into a landscape alone and takes the time to smell a flower, to touch a tree or to hear the melodic song of a duck, the meaning of these things is meaningless. This is not to be dismissive of the existence of a flower, tree or duck, but to physically sense that these things exist and that in their existence they are enjoyable, that’s what matters.
What they mean is what you experience as yourself with them.
The more you can use your senses to get them into yourself – to get their beauty and significance – the more your enjoyment of them becomes what they are for you. In your selfishness you can appreciate them for the betterment of your life experience and personal enjoyment.
The only other creature that can enjoy a duck quite as much as you would be another duck or maybe a fox, but that’s another story.
The great big huge secret is that your will can make you enjoy what surrounds you. Every organic thing has its own secret reaction to its surroundings. This is its living purpose. This is your living purpose too. It has nothing to do with achievement. Humans have a habit of substituting unimportant things and strivings for what matters which is to react to living and to enjoy that reaction. You can make yourself take the time to take in your surroundings.
Happiness is not based on circumstance. A bum can enjoy life more than a millionaire. It’s in the attitude. That is what those old silent films of Charlie Chaplin were about. Through humour, a fighting spirit, and loneliness, anyone can experience life as utterly enjoyable. With this attitude, even when it’s bad, it’s good.
Everyone has to endure what he or she has to endure. We must bear pains as well as we can for the sake of enjoying the pleasures. The huge secret is that you are able to enjoy what we are able to enjoy. A person is a universe of one. Happiness is not any kind of happiness. Happiness is never any feverish, vulgar or superficial pursuit of pleasure. Go outside and give it a try. See if you can enjoy flowers, trees and ducks.