The meaning of life?
WTF are we here for?!
I've probably heard every philosophical and religious answer under the sun, as most of us have, and they are all valid in some way.
Religion gives us the most succinct answers in terms of serving our deity(s) of choice. We are created to serve, learn and grow in wisdom, bring love, spread the gospel, conquer the infidels and brings God's rule to earth. All very tidy answers and for many, they are good enough to get on with life as best we can.
Others devote their lives to understand life within the confines of those paradigms, and are happy, and often ignorant of deeper truths, sometimes simply because here and now is too full on to give such things much thought. We perform the daily rituals of life and die hoping that we'll end up in the company of our deity unscathed.
But underneath all that, there is a driving force. A force that no matter how we wrap it up and disguise it, no matter how much philanthropy we throw at it, no matter how much love and sacrifice we struggle with, there is only one thing that we all look for, motivates us, and gives meaning:
Yes, Jim has lost the plot. All those years of being a passionate christian and serving God with all my heart have finally come down to this self-centred, egotistical, hedonistic cop-out!
But wait!! Of course I'm not going to write a blog as lame as that.
Here's the thing... everything we do and believe is with the ultimately hope of bringing contentment and happiness, which is pleasure.
I want to experience love because it's pleasurable.
I want to love others because it gives me pleasure when they respond.
I want a better world because I will experience more pleasure.
I give because it gives me pleasure.
I receive, because it gives me pleasure.
I help others in their pain because it gives me pleasure.
It's not dependent on the immediate response in any situation. The pleasure is derived from knowing that I have done something "good". I hope for "heaven" because there I will experience pleasure. I tell people they can also find pleasure here and now, because it brings me pleasure to do so!
The only thing that gives us meaning and purpose is pleasure. And yet we are taught that pleasure is "evil" or at least a "fleshly" pursuit that we must sacrifice to attain true holiness.
But even without the direct influence of religion, society has a concept of pleasure that is limited to sensual desire in some way, or simply having fun.
So where am I going with this? We cannot survive without experiencing pleasure in our deepest self. Our heart/spirit/soul craves it. Without it we become bitter and angry.
I'm not talking about the pleasure a psychopath experiences or other forms of severe mental illness. I'm talking about you and me, genuine people who mean well and want the best out of life. For us, love is the key - and why love? because it makes us feel good - it brings us pleasure, it brings everyone around us pleasure which in turn gives us more pleasure.
My greatest pleasure has been learning how to love myself - unconditionally. I'm learning that to experience that pleasure is central to me being able to love - on every level. I can't give until I have received. I can't give pleasure until I've experienced pleasure deep inside my heart!