Life’s Great Conflict
A Short Post for Contemplation…
Continually bothered by this issue, I’ve decided to write a short blog post about my thoughts on what seems to me to be life’s great conflict.
We hear them all the time, quotes and short sayings about how life is limited.
“Your time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” — Steve Jobs
“Life is short.” — Everyone, ever.
“Everyone parts with everything eventually, my dear.” — Time, Alice in Wonderland
“Fucking, YOLO.” — Again, Everyone, ever.
All true statements above. Your life is limited in terms of conscious time as we are aware of it. We don’t truly know what happens after our heart ceases to beat — how could we? This is the general assumption that this post is based on.
That being said, this raises some trying questions as to the point of human existence, if there is one. There are many ways you can interpret the above statements and even more potential reactions that you could have to this information.
Basically, your life could end at any moment, so does nothing matter and everyone should be apathetic to the short life around them, or are we meant to use this information as fuel to create the most “meaningful” life that one can in the short time that we have? And, should the answer be the latter, how does one even go about taking the liberties to decide what gives a life “meaning”? Do we create our own meaning for life, or rely on a constructed belief pattern to supply the generally accepted significance?
Does nothing matter because life is short? Or does everything matter more than ever, every moment of the day?
You see my issue here.
I have yet to figure out my own answers to these questions, which, on occasion, puts me in a distraught state of mind. However, it helps a bit to make a regular practice of the expansion and contraction of perception to keep my perception and emotions in check. Whether this is ultimately beneficial or detrimental to my health has yet to be seen.
What I mean by expansion and contraction of my perception is this: I sit for a couple minutes in the morning when I wake up and envision looking at myself sitting on my bed. This is the closest perspective: me, sitting silently on the bed, in the thick of all my day-to-day first world problems, worried about what I need to accomplish during the next 18 hours. I take a deep breath in, and on my exhale, zoom out, and I am above my house, looking down like a bird from above. I take another breath and blow myself in to an airplane, and I am looking down on the city of Cudahy, Wisconsin. Another zoom out and I have an aerial view of Wisconsin, then the United States, then the Earth, and then I am in the vast nothingness of the universe like a long lost satellite. Most times, I can’t make it all the way to the universe without a slip back into close view, and have to start over from the beginning a number of times before I make it. At farthest zoom, out in the universe, I don’t exist. My person is no longer a being, and there are no problems that are actually problems because the world itself doesn’t really exist as more than a half of a speckle in my view. This is the space where I find clarity in the uncertainties of universal existence.
Doing this exercise in the mornings allows me to accept this great conflict more and more, but I don’t know that I will ever come to a distinctive solution to it. Maybe this is the point, however — the complete acceptance of uncertainty in life— who can really say?