Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is the Meaning of Life?

Yeah, like I know the answer to THAT question. But I can tell you what we have made life into. A race. Yes, we have turned it into a race.

We're all born at age zero. Then we grow up, learn, achieve, have careers, travel, get married, have kids, grow old, and die (not necessary in that particular order, except for the dying part).

We all seem to be racing to go the furthest before we die. How far we are perceived to have gone depends on many things the society uses to judge a person's worth. Wealth is an obvious gauge. Health could be the less obvious criteria, but it translates into longevity and that means more time to achieve more i.e. go further in the race. Many other things are used to judge how "successful" we are in life, like how well we marry, how many places we've traveled to, how popular we are, and how irreplaceable we are at work.

But hold it. Who set all those scales? Who decided that if we make more money, if we know more people, if we published a book, we go further in life? It's us. The society. WE made it such a way that if you get promoted at work, you go further in life.

If we're totally honest to ourselves, we'd all rather be living only for ourselves, without having to worry about what our families, friends and the society think about us. But that's not the way it works, is it? Imagine if everyone lives for themselves, the world will be a total wreck. There'd be no workers to keep the factories running, no supervisors to keep the workers working, no managers to keep the company functioning, no CEO to set up companies.

So in short, we live to contribute to the society so that the society can support us. And those lucky ones who found a way to do what they are truly passionate about, living their dreams, without any care to what the society thinks of them, are there to provide hope for the rest of us. It's like when you see the judges on American Idol keep telling all the failed contestants to never give up on their dreams. Yet, we know it's not possible for everyone of them to be successful in the entertainment industry, because part of the attraction and glamor of the industry is the very selective nature of it. The winners are there to give hope to those who are trying, and the industry needs people who are trying, or hoping, to keep it glamorous.

According to my very rough (and random) estimation, only 1% of the total population of the earth can be considered truly happy in their lives, in the eyes of everyone else. This 1% includes the wealthiest, the most popular, and the most powerful. But what is the point of being happy "in the eyes of everyone else"? So that when you die, you know you are a leader in the race. But then after that you still end up dead and none of what you've achieve would matter to you. It would to the people still living, but not to you. That's selfish thinking right there.

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