Date of Birth: May 17, 1934
Date Submitted: June 27, 2018
Religious Affiliation: Atheist
What is the meaning of life?
The question of “What’s the meaning of life”, is only applicable, of course, to conscious, sentient life – life that’s specifically “self-aware”. It an inevitable question, and one that would enter the thoughts of any seriously conscious mind.
As with man people, it’s a question that I’ve periodically contemplated, at intervals over my span of 84 years, always to arrive at the same conclusion. I call that conclusion “appreciation”. That is, appreciation in the sense of acknowledgement. By this I mean, that within current understanding, this universe had existed for more than thirteen billion years before I was born – a span of time through which I had no consciousness – no awareness of any kind. One second or a million years were both the same. Then, through a miraculous turn of fate, I came into existence with a level of consciousness which enabled me to influence – and to be influenced by – the physical reality of that universe. At the same time, I also became conscious of my own mortality – a point in time beyond which my perception would fade once again – along with any capacity for influence, by or onto my surroundings. Armed with this understanding, the question then became, “How to effectively appreciate – and exercise – that perception, within the incredibly trivial span that was so miraculously granted to me”.
To put the answer most simply, the “meaning of life” for us all, in my view, is first to exercise our gift of life, in the most creative, humane and meaning manner possible. And second, to exercise one tenant of the Hippocratic Oath – “Do no harm”.