On the Meaning of Life

I was asked by the Excellence Reporter to answer the question: What is the meaning of life? No small query, to be sure, but one we have to answer at some time or another. Here’s my shot at it.

7 thoughts on “On the Meaning of Life

  1. This beautiful sentence is going in my book of collected quotes. “It comes with a sense of seeing life as a risk, as an attempt, as a dangerous gamble on bringing the new and “not yet” into being, and with the unmistakable recognition that life itself needs us to ask these questions, and to confront these mysteries, not with the hope of arriving at some final, calculable answer, but with the assurance that the mystery and questions are of the essence of life itself.”
    Thank you. I needed to b reminded of this.

    1. I don’t think it is a question of it being necessary or not.Necessary for what? Many people go through life without ever bothering about its meaning. They live, work, have a family, grow old and aren’t troubled by the question of what it was all about. If you don’t think life has a meaning, that’s fine. Some of us do, however, and we can’t accept our existence without having some idea of why we are are here and what we are supposed to do now that we are. I don’t decide that life has a meaning in the way that I decide what I will have for dinner tonight or what film to watch. The need for a meaning strikes me as palpably as the need for food and drink. I don’t decide that I need food and drink; I just do. Meaning for me is the spiritual or existential equivalent of eating and drinking.

      1. “Necessary for what? ” So I think you gave the answer yourself…if meaning is the spiritual or existential equivalent of eating and drinking as you state, then obviously for you, a meaning is essential, i.e. necessary to fulfil your existence. For me, it is not…to be honest, I don’t think life as such has a meaning per se…you can, however, GIVE it a meaning or define a meaning if you want. At the end of the day, it makes no difference.

  2. I think your closing statement pretty much nailed it, Gary.
    My initial thoughts are that one first has to start with a definition of life. Do we mean that of the individual, that egocentric worldview or do we mean life per se, the whole chaotic but determined cellular tree of division that spreads out in all directions on this rock?

    They are very different in nature and I think one could argue that the individual is, in many ways, irrelevant when compared to the whole majestic backdrop of Universal evolution. And yet, maybe not. Because it is the individuals ability to witness the magic played out, and to play its part within this physical realm, and to reproduce, and talk, and share, and interact, that enables the universe to go on experiencing itself, so to speak.

    It thinks, therefore it is, perhaps. Conciousness becoming aware.

    I should have introduced myself. I’m a 50+ UK guy who grew up during punk and adopted a Diceman approach to life. I have lived in Manchester, London, the Caribbean, Hong Kong and currently find myself in Yanbu, KSA, where I ponder the mysteries. I’m married to a Finn and have a flat in Helsinki. I followed a trail of crumbs here.

    I was at Heathrow last week and I found myself listening to a HQ recording of ‘I am always..’ on a decent set of cans. I’d like to say congratulations for writing one of the best pop songs of the last 40 years. The best thing Blondie ever laid down, in my opinion. I was leaving my wife and my daughter for a four month spell here and it brought tears to my eyes, and euphoria too. A levitating wall of sound. Thank you.

    I’m ordering your book on the NYC scene this evening. I’m looking forward to it.

    1. Richard, I’m glad “Presence, Dear” eased your separation from your family. I am always touched myself when I hear from people about it. I hope you like New York Rocker. It was a splendid time of my life and I remember it fondly – and with a certain gratitude that I managed to survive it… All the best, Gary.

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