The Forgotten Definition of Meaning
I get to do some pretty cool stuff, and I never, ever, for one second take any of it for granted. I wasn’t born into money, so I have no idea what that means, although I’m sure that it doesn’t make one immune to suffering. I can say that I had a wonderful childhood in a small town that was nonetheless tortured, as so many American towns are, by its own provinciality. Dreams were discouraged. I was, and remain, too stubborn to allow my imagination to be circumscribed by others, well meaning or otherwise. I put a premium on self-understanding. Not necessarily in spiritually aspirational way, but it’s cool if that’s your thing. In a basic human way, where one manages to connect to some kind of purpose. I know that it’s ridiculous to imagine that complex global economic systems can magically provide for meaningful lifestyles to an individual extent. But if we are to find any fulfillment in this short human lifespan, or have something of our humanity to pass on, then we must diligently tend to a purpose.
I should probably reiterate that a pursuit of self-understanding and knowledge need not be for glory. I should also make clear that “pass on” can apply to post-human (or even non-human) recipients.
So what is important? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I encourage those in a position to do so to: identify interests and pursue them fearlessly; recognize the basic dignity in others, regardless of their differences; be wiling to share knowledge and wisdom; and be willing to consider outside knowledge and allow others to do the same, provided it is sensitive to human dignity.
I’m every bit as misanthropic as I was when I was 5 years old. But I’m also clear on some important things. Life is hard and life is long, unless it ain’t. (And it’s always hard even when it isn’t.) All we have to draw from is individual perception (which is not as fixed as we might believe, and certainly not eternal), along with the nature of our external relationships (which inform perception, but aren’t necessarily limited to).