Thursday, June 20, 2013

Without Meaning, Life is Meaningless

You’re probably staring at your computer screen right now, thinking, “Duh! That’s what ‘meaningless’ means!”

Well, I’m glad to know you understand English, but I promise, I’m not crazy. As self-explanatory as this seems, life is completely and utterly meaningless without meaning. Most of us understand this on a linguistic level, but think about it philosophically. What is the point of anything if it doesn’t have some meaning? Why do we do anything if it doesn’t serve some purpose and reflect some aspect of Truth? See, the thing is, no matter if you’re naturally a deep thinker or not, this matters immensely. Everything in life requires something beyond itself to be of any consequence.

“Meaning” is the “end, purpose, or significance of something.” [courtesy:] What is the purpose in each of our actions? Going out for coffee or ice cream serves no end in itself – it’s the conversations we have and relationships we form while we’re out that last. What is the point of going to work if we don’t have something important we’re working towards? For that matter, what is the meaning of money? By itself, having money serves no point. It’s the things we use the money for that give it value. So it is with everything in life. What gives our activities value? What infuses our lives with meaning?

As a writer, this concept is incredibly important to me. Why do stories matter? Are our words merely for entertainment, or do they serve some other purpose? I firmly believe that our stories are meant to mean something. They’re supposed to teach us lessons, warn us about Evil, and remind us of Truth. Entertainment is all well and good, but if that’s all that stories contain, something is wrong. Our words are the torches burning bright to show people the path of Truth. We must not let those lights be extinguished. We as writers are called to permeate our words with meaning. Make your stories point beyond themselves. Make them last. Make them mean something.

But what meaning can we impart to our words if life itself is meaningless? If there is no point to life, then there’s no point to writing. And without God, there is no point to life. If you believe that this life is all there is and that when we die, we’re done, what purpose does your life have? If you believe that God is not real and that there is no Higher Power out there anywhere, why are you here? What can your life possibly mean? What’s the point?! Why do moral laws matter if there is no Law-Giver? Why can’t I hurt you if I don’t like you? Why is it wrong for me to take your stuff? Why does it matter what North Korea or Iran is doing? Why do we cling to our American freedoms? Why do we get emotional about things if those things have no point? Why does it hurt when we lose someone? Why do we fall in love? Why do we care?

Quite simply, it’s because our lives must have meaning. Despite the live-for-today attitude we try to cultivate, acting like this moment is all that matters, we crave meaning. We as human beings need life to mean something beyond today. That’s how we were made. Life is meant to be overflowing with meaning. That’s why our laws are important; that’s why we want to fall in love; that’s why it hurts when we encounter loss. These things all mean something. But without God, they can’t mean anything at all. If there’s not a higher purpose we are living for that will transcend the grave, our lives have no purpose. If God is not real and directing my life, nothing I can do or say has a point. Why should I even be here if God isn’t real? Pushing God out the picture makes life meaningless.

We can’t live like that. Everyone knows that there must be a point in living. There must be something in our lives that persists beyond itself, that has a purpose. The question is: Does your life have meaning?

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