No matter how deep my analysis, no matter how clever my arguments, and no matter how elegant my syllogisms…
… I have never been able to reason my way to a meaningful life.
In his vain attempt to analyze the unanalyzable, “the thinker” in me sees complexity where there is none– thus creating problems where there are none.
In his stubbornness, ignorance, and arrogance, the thinker in me persists as if arguing about the truth is superior to witnessing the truth.
But if the thinker in me is wise enough, honest enough, humble enough, and courageous enough, his repeated failures to think his way to understanding will teach him many priceless lessons:
He will learn that his attempts to think his way to the truth are stymied by the fact that the universe defies all explanation.
He will learn that even the most impeccable logic in the world will do him no good if he is asking the wrong questions.
He will discover that his intellect alone is too narrow, shallow, and crude to answer the most important questions in life.
He will learn that thinking alone leaves him paralyzed by a tangle of paradoxes.
He will discover that his compulsive need to explain everything renders him blind and deaf to so many simple truths that are right before his eyes and ears.
He will learn that true knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are acquired by superior experience, not superior intellect.
He will discover that thinking and consciousness are not synonyms.
He will realize that knowledge without action is a pointless self-indulgence.
He will learn that life doesn’t have to make sense, but it still needs to be lived.
He will learn that life doesn’t have to solve the mystery of life to live the mystery of life– with passion and conviction.
He will learn that certain secrets of the universe will be revealed to him only after he’s had the courage to leave the convenient, comfortable, safe, and predictable behind– secrets that logic cannot deduce, words cannot express, and thoughts cannot think.
3 thoughts on “Philosopher’s Cramp”
Ah yes, a meaningful life. Of what do we imagine it might consist? Good health and wealth? As a joke a friend once said, “All I really desire in life is wealth and anonymity… and I already have anonymity.” One must be appreciative of what they have, it could be worse. The primary “purpose” of a life is to survive. The secondary purpose of a life is to survive, and with grace, we hope.
Thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughtful thoughts with good humor, GROG.
In my view, the meaning of life is not something I believe in, not something I look for, not something that can be handed to me. The meaning of life is created by everything I do (or not) each and every day. And it’s not my job– or even my business– to answer the eternal question for all living creatures. It’s enough of a challenge– and enough of a responsibility– to answer the question of myself and for myself. And nobody else– no matter how learned, clever, experienced, or wise– can tell me the meaning of MY life. That is something I’m going to have to work out for myself… and will always be a moving target as my life circumstances evolve.
Very well said. GROG