Sunday, August 17, 2014

Birth and Death, a Cycle Without Meaning

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The cosmic wheel turns, grinding down generations into the fodder for new life.  With every new breath there is a last gasp; each pair of eyes which opens portends another pair closing.  We think nothing of geological change, the erosion of layers and reshaping of land over millions of years, nor do we give a second thought to the nano-life of insects.

The unending cycle guarantees life, in the material sense, cannot offer any meaning.

At the moment of a child's birth, the mother knows only one thing: the child will die.  Parentage is the act of doing whatever we can to make the temporary material form, the decaying form doomed to die, as comfortable and safe as possible.  We know of nothing so certain as imminent death.

Our duration of material life is pitifully short, measured in double-digits, and filled with all manner of suffering and grief.  Moments of bliss are temporary (and so it is with suffering) and cannot be maintained indefinitely.  We must work, pursuing happiness to the grave and never grasping lasting joy.

Are we born with meaning?  At the moment of birth, meaning is meaningless to the undeveloped brain incapable of comprehending the symbolic language necessary to express meaning.  Since meaning--if there is any to be found--cannot be understood, there is no way to know if we have meaning until we can express it.
When we do claim to find meaning, a purpose, and a reason for why things happen, we are already well into the slow march to death.  Many fall into the maw of the grave without grasping meaning in life; they do not why they lived or died, only that death brings pain and separation from the things of life.

How can we say life has meaning when it is fleeting?  Is meaning only present for a moment?

A recyclable container does not contain meaning.

Our body is the equivalent of plastic milk jug.  For a short time, it houses the substance in which life is perceived--in which we strive to find meaning.  Then, after this brief existence, the container is destroyed, discarded, and sometimes transformed into something else.

Once the purpose, the meaning, is used up, the container no longer has any purpose, it's meaning is expired.  We don't assert that a recycled milk jug (now a soda bottle) still has meaning as a milk jug; likewise, we cannot assert our material form has meaning when it no longer serves to contain something.

Is meaning bound up in our short lifespan?  Once dead, is our meaning no longer a meaning at all?  Where did it go?  In this sense, meaning is meaningless because it is transitory--it becomes meaningless.

Just as in birth, death looms, so in meaning does meaningless loom.

Look beyond the Cycle of Birth and Death to find meaning.

Within this closed circle, we find nothing to lend meaning.  Birth means death, purpose means purposelessness, and all things begun also end--the first and the last are one cycle, guaranteed and sealed to each other without recourse or alteration.

How then do we find a meaning to life if that meaning is assured to expire?  When everyone who knows us no longer exists in this world, all memory of our life, our meaning, our purpose will also cease to exist.  At that moment, what meaning do we have?

Search for your meaning within life and you will fail--we all fail.  There is no meaning in existence, no purpose to be found in the biochemical machine called a body; all will decay and die so others may take its place.  Fleeting experiences beheld in the body expire, fading into the darkness of death, and leaving behind not a single trace of its existence.

If meaning is to be found, it must be found outside the Cycle of Birth and Death.

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