“ Man-a being in search of meaning’ Plato.
Its has always been a most intriguing question. A puzzling question that persistently call attention to itself, even when one would wish to ignore it. It’s a question, that has preoccupied the minds of greater men. A generations of philosophers , sages, intellectuals and even the ordinary folks like ourselves have pondered over it. It’s a question that intrudes on us , now and then, when we try to understand the intrigues of life, the reality of our being . And the question is this; who really, is Man? This one is the most perplexing question that has always gone unanswered. At least not yet fully.
Man, indeed has always been a curiosity, and also a curious creature. If the question were for example posed to an anthropologist , he might tell you that man, is a bipedal hominid, of the genus Homo Sapiens sapiens possessing peculiar cogitative skill who is to be found on planet earth. But surely, man is more than this! This academic answer is not satisfactory to us. It does not tell us, the answer to the deeper question about man. This question, about man, is also a philosophical one. It’s also a spiritual one. It’s a question of being. What does it mean to be human? One of the reasons why this question has persists, is because this question, is also about life. And just as life is most of the time intrigues mystifies, and confounds, so is any question that attempts to prod the mystery behind our own being, and our own purpose.
It so happens, that each one of us, has his moment in life, a moment of reflections , when one finds himself looking back from whence you have come, where you are and what the future hold, and even about the hard question of death, and hereafter. In some of these moments sometimes out of sheer frustration, or nostalgia, one may find some of these questions prodding the mind; Who am I? Where am I, and what am I doing here anyway? Is there anything beyond death? One of Greek philosophers, Plato, tells us that; Man, is a being, in search of meaning. Yes. We are always searching for meaning. Yet, this rationalization leaves us still unsatisfied. If man, indeed, is a being in search of meaning, what is this meaning he is searching for? Is it the meaning of the reality? Is it the meaning of life? Is it the meaning of the universe unfolding around him? What is this, that is in us, that craves, to be known?
A simple life full of Struggles
“A man, is rich to the proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone”. Henry David Thoreau ( And conversely, he is poor in proportion to the number of things he can’t afford to let alone: Peter)
In the cause of our many daily preoccupations, that we are immersed in , from time we are born, to the moment when we pass on, the moment we die, in the end, all this busyness sometime, does not seem to have any purpose, or meaning. Consider this, that there indeed, are many successful people who we would deem as having made it. To the ordinary person who is daily hassling with his daily struggles, these people would appear that, with all their wealth, they have escaped this rat race of the ordinary life’s struggles. They do not struggle to feed themselves, or their family. Theirs, appear to enjoy, an idyllic life. And yet, in some moment of personal reflection, some of these people, look back and actually wondered whether all their wealth and success was worth the pain, the sweat, and the frustration. Some feel, a lingering unfulfilled void, almost a feeling of nostalgia, as if, in their busyness, they missed the most important things in life.
It were as if, the pursuit of wealth was a mare distraction, which made them miss an opportunity to unravel the real purpose of life, at least on a personal level. But this feeling is not confined to the rich and the famous. None of us, is immune from such reflections. We all have those moments, which each of us look back, and reflect on these hard questions of life, things you did, or failed to do, your moments of regret and your moments of joy. It’s in such a moment of reflection that life’s peculiarity stands out, almost mockingly, demanding you answer for all your busyness. In a flash of profound clarity, an underlying truth about human life, which lays mostly undetected, becomes suddenly obvious. And what is this truth? It’s that life is basically simple, and yet, we are always immersed in one struggle after another. Consider that when one compares the toils, of men, with the toils of the rest of creation, one notices that there is a familiar and rhythmic simplicity of life, common to all , which runs through all creation, man included. And yet, despite this apparent simplicity being the truth of life, man stands out, as a unique creation, a peculiarity or even an oddity. He is the only creature that does not seem to fit in, in this rhythmic matrix of a simple life. Think about it this way, that if one were to reduce life, to its very basics, and then, observe, and follow the daily toils of men and the toils of all other creatures on earth, from the simple animals like ants, the mice, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, or the simple flies, that are here today, and is no more tomorrow, there really doesn’t seem to be anything spectacularly unique, that man accomplish here on earth, different from the rest of creation.
Despite his peculiar intelligence, human life, has one statement that it seems to make, about us. It’s a rather blunt and honest statement . Ever since Man appeared here on earth, his history confirms that in all their drudgery, and preoccupation all their life, fundamentally man strive to achieve the same simple basic life goals as every other creature, despite his superior intelligence. Well, Man, might stand out with his achievements, and the marvel with which he has created by his use of intellect, but, basically, Man, is in reality, a creature , probably suffering from an exaggerated sense of his own self importance, a superiority complex that makes him the worst of all creation! In spite of his apparent superior intelligence, there is nothing he can show, which is fundamentally different from what other creations have accomplished.