When our professor first told us that we could, for our final paper, answer either all the vapid questions so common to exam scripts or try our pen at a single “what is the meaning of life”, I felt immediately as if my choice had been made. After all, how hard could it possibly be to write about the philosophies guiding your own life? And can we not deny a certain desire within us to share those philosophies with others, to permit them a glance of the web of our world and all its warps and wefts?
But as I began to think more about life as it is, attempting like the mere mortal I am to grasp an immortal answer, I realized that the mess of ideas, which I had believed if properly organized and made sense of would quell my curiosity, was no more than a mess of ideas. We often confuse ourselves with profound ideas, hoping that if we were to bring clarity to the confusion, we shall find the eternal truth drifting just beyond the shores of our current acumen. Therein lies the peculiar problem – our tendency toward the profound. We think of the ultimate meaning of life as something all-encompassing, timeless, perfect, and so we reason: surely, there has to be more to it than what we think it actually is. And we proceed thence to think even harder, and in an effort to reach that drifting truth, we fill the shorelines with soil of profundity, ignorant of the fact that the truth will be pushed only farther. We shall never be able to reach it.
I have thus contended myself in the thinking that there is no quintessential meaning to life, or if there actually were, it will continue to elude me until I have mustered all there is to know in this universe; a task virtually impossible given the ordinary span of life. There is, however, no reason to despair this lack of ultimate meaning; for why ever should we have to satisfy our existence when we need only satisfy our self?