Guest Author - Sascha Norris
Most of us have undoubtedly had moments when we felt that there must be much more to life than the daily ins and outs of existence. I know I am only one of many who has pondered that age-old philosophical question: what is life's meaning? If life is without meaning, then even the largest achievement is without significance. Yet if life means a great deal, then even the smallest of accomplishments must be worth something.
For those of us who consider ourselves "seekers" (or as I call myself, a "wayfarer"), this search for an ever-elusive sense of meaning will never end. Indeed, it may even become an obsession. Countless books - works by both the most famous and the most obscure authors will be devoured - all with what is essentially a single-minded obsession: to find the 'why' behind our daily lives.
There are those for whom, perhaps, the trivial satisfies - who seek nothing more than the commonplace existence where days flow and seep into each other, blending like muted shades of colors with no definite end or beginning. And, maybe, in a sense, they are the lucky ones. Because in reaching beyond what should make us content, we become increasingly aware of how discontented we are.
Sometimes, a temporary 'fix' in the form of someone or something may absorb our attention to the point where we find ourselves thinking, Could this be the thing - the person, the activity, the project, the achievement - that will finally give our lives meaning?
Then, when the compulsion passes, we are once again thrust into what almost feels like a void of emptiness - perhaps, even hopelessness - save for that insatiable yearning for something - some reason we must find to exist.
What we fail to see all along, of course, is that nothing outside of us can give us meaning. That is something we must find inside ourselves. And when I speak of meaning, I do not mean a feeling of superficial satisfaction nor am I speaking of what might be called happiness. For whereas happiness is not essential to man, a reason to exist is.
Thus, when I speak of a sense of meaning inside ourselves I mean a true regard for who we are as a human being - and a respect for the purpose we serve simply by being alive. And though we may search for this purpose in books and through abstract philosophies, unless we manage to eventually come to the realization that it is within us instead of outside us, it will never be found.
For can a man who perceives himself and his own life as meaningless find true meaning in anything outside himself?