Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life is a philosophical question concerning the significance of life or existence in general.  It can also be expressed in different forms, such as "Why are we here?", "What is life all about?" or "What is the purpose of existence?"  It has been the subject of much philosophical, scientific and theological speculation throughout history.  There have been a large number of proposed answers to these questions from many different cultural and ideological backgrounds.
Pagan wisdom traditions have no consensus on how to understand human nature or the meaning and purpose of life, other than for each individual to forge his or her own sense of self-understanding, meaning, and purpose.  Within this broad framework, there are several ideas that can be found within the contemporary Pagan community.

When some think about the meaning of life, they love the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who said, “Just to be is a blessing – just to live is holy.”  For others, life’s true meaning is found more truly in the sentiments expressed by others:


Henry David Thoreau:

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”


Kurt Vonnegut Jr.:

"A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved."

A. Powell Davies:

"Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

Old Norse poem Havamal:

"Cattle die, kinsmen die, the self must also die; I know one thing which never dies: the reputation of each dead man." 


One Wiccan belief statement:

"Wiccans believe that the spirit of the Goddess and God exist in all things.  In the trees, rain, flowers, the sea, in each other and all of natures creatures.  This means that we must treat 'all things' of the Earth as aspects of the Divine."


In Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, there are several allusions to the meaning of life.  At the end of the film, a character played by Michael Palin is handed an envelope containing "the meaning of life", which he opens and reads out to the audience:  "Well, it's nothing very special.  Uh, try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations."


Listen like the Dark, Dance like the Maiden, Laugh like the Mother, Think like the Crone.  And Do No Harm.



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