Why Meaning Is So Important

Unless we’re a college hippy or some sort of activist(that same college hippy years later) chained to a tree, the thought “what is the meaning of life”, probably rarely crosses our minds (except for Monte Python references, or having really bad hangovers). It seems irrelevant, some sort of philosophical rabbit hole with no satisfying answer outside of Disney movies, and that will just make us depressed thinking about it(think Nietzsche). Yet it is one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves(by the way if you ever see me chained to a tree don’t freak out). Why? Exactly ‘why’..  Humans are weird to ask ‘why’, to find meaning. “Why should I get up this morning?”, “Why did I get married?”, “Why am I chained to this tree?”. We want to know if our actions and decisions mean anything, if they matter, and by extent if we matter. If we can’t find meaning in the things we do, we quickly become depressed or  and when it becomes to much quit. Why do people get divorced? They stop finding meaning in their marriages. Why do people hate their jobs? They stop finding meaning in their work. Why people commit suicide? They stop finding meaning in life. Even if we’re not actively thinking about what is meaningful or important in our lives, how we feel, and a lot of the time how we act is dictated by how much we perceive our lives mean.  Henry David Thoreau once said “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” So how do we find meaning? I think the problem is a lot of us feel we have to do something incredible to having meaningful lives. Like saving the rain forests, becoming famous or some other incredible feat. Yet the mundane can be extremely meaningful as well. Raising a family, writing a song, helping a friend through a rough time, or even paying for the person behind you in the check out line’s groceries. We forget how meaningful the small everyday moments can be, and spend our lives wondering why we’re not famous or saving the world, and give up on finding meaning at all. The thing is we’re the ones creating all of this meaning, and if we decide that the most important and meaningful in life is teaching preschoolers about volcanoes(my mom) or sending you’re kids to college(again my mom), you are going to be just as happy and fulfilled as that crazy hippy that chained himself to a tree to save the rain forests.

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