Now its time for the second part of the “Designing your Life” exercises. The first was about Workview; now…”Life”
REMEMBER, this is “my” exercise. My answers are not right or wrong. They are just how I view my world. The questions are designed to have any answer each person chooses to give; then reflect on the answers as its own learning experience. I also took an quick advance peek in the book. What comes next is to examine how one’s Lifeview may connect to the Workview for the same individual.
Why are we here?
No clue. I think it is much better to just accept that we are, and start creating some meaning and answer to the “why”–that is what humans have done throughout our known history. The results have been a real mixed bag of good and evil. I am hoping the meaning I create, or find, will be “better” as my life moves forward. Since I am not exactly a spring chicken, this becomes even more important, because time does not stop for us to find out why we are here–it just moves on.
What is the meaning or purpose of life?
We cannot be sure that there is “a” purpose–maybe many; maybe none, and life just “is”. I heard the following phrase is written in some form in the Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism. Though I am not certain of the source, I believe the words to be simple and responsive to this question. Leave the world better than we have found it; that is our purpose. I cannot find a better answer to why we are here. Anything beyond that will have no practical meaning, and I for one want to give some meaning to the world I came to before I leave it.
What is the relationship between the individual and others?
The different answers to this question have created every variation of society we know, or will create in the future. It has affected every aspect of our lives; especially our view of “wealth and economy”, and “spiritual” world views. I am among those who believe we are all connected together; including the animals, trees, even the stones and the earth we thread on. This means we are each equally an “individual”, but not, and we are each “everything there is”, but not.
I still pray though not quite sure if it has, or needs to have, a specific intended audience. I do it to satisfy a need that feels personal and has to be attended to. So, I make up my own prayers. My favorite one is, “I am no one, I am nothing; I am everyone, I am everything”. I think it grounds me in humility of always knowing hubris is evil, but we are all the most important thing that has ever lived, or ever will. We are each a link in a delicate and boundless chain-mail; we each hold part of the fabric of life together.
Where do, family, country, and the rest of the world fit in?
Family is about “love” and maybe “loyalty”; country is about “contribution, co-existence, social values, and moving the society forward to a better place constantly”, the rest of the world, I do not see as separate from my family or “country”. I have had more than one country in my lifetime. I have come to honestly feel like I belong to the world, while I value and promote the “living and evolving” nation-state. As a species we are not ready for Star Trek’s version of a unified planet yet, and so we have to protect the pockets and seats that represent our best human values in politics, civil freedoms, forms of government that answer to the people, inclusion of all humanity for what they know, do, and contribute, and not what they look like or color of their skin; diversity means fostering the peaceful and steady evolution of the humanity, promoting environmental protection and upholding value of the life of other species; and that includes trees, plankton, as well as that ugly cat in the neighborhood that needs some food and kindness when you can deliver it.
What is good, and what is evil?
As a student of ethics among other subjects, I would answer that “good and evil” are both distinct and discrete, like “right” and “wrong”, but connected by nature; and if we were to use a visual depiction to show this, it would look like a ring–half dark and half bright, but without either half you would not have a complete ring.
As sentient beings, when born humans are incapable of starting life as “good” or “evil” and do not know “right” from “wrong”. But, are each individually capable of both. How do we know “good” from “evil”?How doe we learn about them? That is a much better question. Our personal, familial, and societal values differ depending on the variables that place us physically in the world–somewhere. Thankfully, it seems, like the idea of “God”–even as we struggle, accept, or reject that concept in so many way–our better values are somehow hard-wired into our very existence. But, so are the seeds of evil. Unless we foster and “cultivate good stuff”, evil may fill the vacuum.
Is there a higher power, God, or something transcendent, and if so, what impact does this have on your life?
I do not know. Today I definitely think there is not “a” God–in that singular way it has been expressed in the most popular monotheist religions. When I say I do not know, I mean to describe this general lack of knowledge of whether existence came from “nothing”, and knowing that nothing is still something–something awesome and great I have noticed too–although my mind cannot describe it in my human ways. I have decided to leave that question alone. Not that I did not struggle with it, and did not spend years adhering to it in one form or another. But, in the end I have decided I do not need to believe in a “God” to struggle with learning what is “good” and “bad”. That should be enough–no matter if there is a God, or not. I just want to leave this world better than I have found it. Is that not as godly as anything can be?
What is the role of joy, sorrow, justice, injustice, love, peace, and strife in life?
Meaning. What ties all expressions of our existence together is our extreme need to find meaning, and our worst fear is the opposite being true. I choose to believe this life is here to allow us give meaning to the world we observe and reflect on.