Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it.
The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.
Being alive is the meaning.
This is a quote from Joseph Campbell and, as with so much of his writings, these few words have an import way beyond the face reading of the four sentences. Why am I called to this introduction? Let me explain.
The last few days have been unusually hectic, almost as though my senses have been deliberately targeted by a whole variety of messages. Not planned, you have to understand, just the way it’s been. However, when reflecting on the way these messages have moulded my emotions, it has been very clear that conflicting messages have produced conflicting emotions and that getting to the heart, as in the meaning of it all, requires quiet, contemplative time.
So what I am going to do over the next few days, not over the week-end, is to present each of these elements in the order that they were presented and then, at the end, offer what I hope is a more balanced perspective, i.e. the core meaning.
The first ‘message’ came from watching a 90 minute video highlighted on the web site, Top Documentary Films. The film explored the ways that six prominent Americans thought the ‘American Way’ was heading. Deeply gloomy except for the last 10 minutes or so.
Here’s how that website described the film.
Today’s world has troubles unique to its time in history, from the global financial crisis to technological meltdowns to full scale, computerized global war.
Observing the convergence of such events, contemporary prophets have begun to emerge from obscurity to suggest that these conditions might be signs of the demise of the modern world.
These men are historians as well, using all manner of information and patterns from the past to provide context for where we are going.
Their predictions interpret the current state of affairs in our world as evidence that the America we know may come to an end.
The men proposing these ideas are not crackpots living on the streets of New York; they are intelligent, learned men who come armed with the evidence to back up their claims.
I am now going to include the film, in all its parts, as found on YouTube. Don’t suggest you watch it all, unless you feel so inclined, but try and get a feel for the various aspects of American life that are portrayed as unsustainable.
Just as important, make a note of your emotions as you watch these excerpts (and commenting on this Blog even better!)
More reflections tomorrow.