I, THEM; WE, US. And the meaning of Life.

We’re all on a Journey. And that Journey is called the human experience. In the sense that we’re all having a human experience; we’re all moving in the same direction on this Journey.

Imagine this Journey as a diverse landscape. A landscape that includes hills and mountains, streams and rivers. A landscape that includes cold and warm climates, and every different season at every different time; exactly like the world we live in.

We all start at a slightly different place on this Journey. And there are many different paths, some well-worn, others yet to be mapped-out, that stripe the landscape, and they all seem to be headed toward the horizon. Nobody knows why we are all walking toward the horizon, but we are compelled to keep Journeying.

As I see it, there are two ways to approach the purpose of this Journey should existential questions arise.

Some understand the Path to be the purpose of the Journey. If I understand the path to be the purpose, I’m going to devote all of my energies to determining the right path toward the horizon; the path that’s going to get me there. But first, I need to adopt a criteria by which I can discern which is the right path. I find a map one day. The map becomes my key to discerning the paths and which one will get me safely to the horizon. I resolve that, according to the map, there is a certain path that is the right path; the only path that will get me safely to the horizon, while all other paths lead to disastrous destinations. I become obsessed with quantifying my pathly plodding. I collect gadgets to help me discern and predict weather patterns; gidgets to track my pathly progress, and whatsits to keep me informed on the latest map updates. When I interact with others on another path, because I understand the purpose of the Journey to be about finding the right path (and I have good reason to believe that I’ve found the right one), I am compelled to convince others to consider the path I’ve chosen. Because I genuinely want the best for people, I see the need to present to them their options: the benefits of leaving their current path and transitioning to mine OR the consequences and repercussions that they’ll experience if they don’t make a course-correction. This either has the effect of pushing people away, which subtly works to reestablish my conviction that some will not choose correctly, but I have chosen correctly, OR it causes folks to abandon their path, having been convinced that they might be on the wrong one, and start traversing the right one, again validating another conviction of mine that I have chosen the right path. 

Others understand the People to be the purpose of the Journey. If we understand the people to be the purpose, we’re going to devote all of our energies toward forging authentic and healthy relationships with those that we’re headed into the horizon with. The basis on which we discern the quality of those relationships is our connectedness; our unity with each other. Anything that would cause division within our unity is undesirable and unwelcome. We understand that the only cure for division is union, not separation. We recognize that there are many paths, but there is no right or wrong path, because we know that the path is not the way; the people are the way. The people get you safely to the horizon, not the path. The path is subject to change just as we are, but there is no unity with the path, there is only unity with each other. When we interact with others on another path, because we understand the purpose of this Journey to be about people, we have the freedom to join others on their path and express our oneness on another path. We are not bonded to a particular path that is determined to be the right one. The map that we use is not based on terrestrial topography, but on anthropological anecdotes. We share stories and talk about our Journey together. We create new language by which we can adventure through each others prototypical ruminations. We have no need to stay fixated on a particular path because the path becomes irrelevant when you understand the purpose of the Journey is the people you’re Journeying with.

As I’ve attempted to illustrate above, in this thing called life, we sometimes think about what it all means!? And, as I see it, there are really 2 places we can look to find answers to this question. Is it about finding you in the right path or is it about finding you in people? Is  the path the ultimate arbiter for Truth or are the people? Does one paradigm cause division? Does one manifest unity? Would Truth divide or unite?

I’d like to suggest that Truth isn’t found in the right path on the Journey; Truth is found in the people you’re Journeying with. The answers we get are often determined by the questions we ask. To ask who am I? might lead me to construct an individualistic sense of self. But to ask who are we? might lead me to a universal sense of self. The illusion that we are individuals will sentence the human race to death by division. Individualism necessitates that we construct a sense of self that is based on our ego; our self-concept; which is made up of our beliefs, thoughts, opinions, etc. We will be damned to constantly seeking but not finding, because what we are looking for cannot be found in our dogmas, which we need as an anchor for reality. However, as we realize our inherent unity as a species, we will find our sense of self rooted in others; in a universalistic paradigm. We will realize that who we are is who everyone is and anything that expresses that is meaningful. Truth unites. Truth is found in our relationships. That’s the meaning of life.

 

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