Today my friend posed a very philosophical question over dinner. It is one that has been pondered over since man was born and one that has no definite answer. She asked, “What is the meaning of life?” I would like to respond to this through explaining what I have done this weekend. Let’s go on a journey.
On Friday, I had a normal day of classes. I learned more Python programming and discussed vector fields. So perhaps life is about gaining knowledge. Accumulating information, but for what purpose? To make money? To attain a job, be productive, and contribute to society?
Continuing my day, I went to Pulver where there was an Oreo tasting. SPB provided a snack break for the end of the week, which was a variety of scrumptious, circular, cream-filled cookies. Milk’s best friend, indeed. Of course I sprinted over and tried each flavor of Oreo from birthday cake to lemon and strawberry to coconut and mint. They were magnificent, to say the least. So life can be about eating food. You can see this in the biological perspective, how life is about the series of actions to sustain your body’s health. However, you can also see this as life is doing things that make you happy. If that is food, then go ahead and EAT (just what I want to hear)!
Following stuffing my face with Oreos, I participated in the Evening Sandwich Program to prepare and serve sandwiches to people in the community who need an extra meal. Perhaps life is about helping others and devoting your life to giving back. You have been granted life and the power to create change, so why not put it to use?
Then, I watched the show Cabaret (SPOLET ALERT). This was a story of an American writer visiting Berlin to try to find inspiration for his novel. However, instead he finds a beautiful woman who he falls in love with and must try to find a “real” job in order to make money to support their family. So maybe life is about finding love….or falling in love. It’s about being able to say that you want to spend the rest of your life with that one person (awwwww). On the other hand, another relationship is shown between a poor German innkeeper and a German Jew. They also love each other but she chooses to refuse his marriage proposal in order to be safe. Then is life about survival (of the fittest)? Nevertheless, the show was spectacular, with marvelous dance numbers and beautiful songs while also provoking many emotions.
To end off the night, I played the ukulele with my friend who recently bought herself one as well. We learned new strumming patterns, attempted to play I’m Walking On Sunshine, and had a blast just hanging out together. Then life can be about the connections you make with other people. Your friends, enemies, teachers, and families are all a part of your life and a part of you.
Finally, today I watched a film for my Heroes of the World literature class. It was a Chinese classic, depicting a hero reaching the end of his quest and unsure of whether to choose enlightenment or love or perhaps revenge against the murderer of his master. Another protagonist was a young girl deciding which path to embark on, whether it be love with a desert bandit, marriage to a rich aristocrat, honing her skills as a warrior, or running around strutting her power. Depending on what each character decided alters what is seen as important in life. Is it love, revenge, fame and glory, knowledge, or power? I did not enjoy the end of this film but it was interesting overall and quite comical at times. Older Asian films tend to have…..unrealistic action scenes.
So which is it? What is the meaning of life?
I leave you with this quote from Gilgamesh, a very old translated novel I read for one of my classes. In the story, Gilgamesh struggles to obtain eternal life after watching his close friend die.
“Man’s life is short…And yet we build houses make contracts, brothers/ divide their inheritance, conflicts occur-/ as though this human life lasted forever.” (Mitchell, 178)
“Humans are born, they live, then die,/…But until the end comes, enjoy your life,/ spend it in happiness, not despair./…That is the best way for a man to live.” (Mitchell, 168-169)
My other friend responded with, “Life is about doing things.” And in the simplest terms, I agree.