Tagged: meaning of life

Ripples and Currents

You may, by way of even a slight movement of your hand, cause a visible ripple or splash upon the surface of the sea. The effect will appear before you immediately — and disappear just as quickly. In that moment, you will see most palpably that you have affected the vastness of life, however minutely and superficially. For some men, this minor and...

Letting Go

The need to believe, once detached from all rational hope, becomes a dangerous breeding ground for many vicious and growth-stunting spiritual traps: confirmation bias, idolatry, paranoia, moral compromise, intellectual dependency — and ultimately cynicism, nihilism, and despair, as the disparity between what one needs to believe and what one increasingly realizes will never materialize becomes overwhelmingly obvious. Here is the solution to this...

Living Forever

If the purpose of life were simply to be alive in the biological sense, then every human being would have fulfilled his purpose at birth, or rather before birth, and would therefore stand to gain nothing by going through with the rest of the process — nothing but more time. But who would carry on merely for the sake of carrying on, without...

Random Thoughts: Life, Death, the Living, the Dead

A student sent me a text message today consisting of the following questions: “Why is it important to try to think and find the existence of my soul? Why do you live?” Interestingly, the second question implies that the terms of the first question — thinking and finding the existence of the soul — are coextensive with the question of why I live....

Fear of Death, Fear of Life

The single most universal and inescapable necessity of all human life is death. In principle, though not in subjective experience, it is known from the very beginning of life that this outcome is inevitable. This awareness, to the extent that it is achieved, colors every aspect of life, and increasingly so over the years, until its certain, though temporally unpredictable, arrival. It would...

The Finish Line

As soon as you concretely identify the finish line you are seeking, you begin to tire, until the last stages of the race, as your mind increasingly anticipates that approaching line, come to define exhaustion itself. For upon telling yourself, “I only need to make it to that point,” the soul immediately calculates how much of its energy will be needed to travel...

Happiness by Comparison

A student who frequently writes to me about her efforts to overcome self-doubts and develop a more moderate, reasonable way of life, told me of an exchange she had recently with a friend who was trying to persuade her that she ought to be happier. The friend offered three specific arguments, which my student summarized as follows: 1. You have no disorder in...

Guidance and Independence

It is not weak, nor any contradiction of the desire for independence, to look to others’ opinions in assessing one’s own thoughts and behavior. The mistake or weakness is in looking to others’ opinions at random — looking to the crowd, or to the popular, or to the powerful. One has already made a great advance in self-knowledge and independence who is able...

Reflections From A Great Distance

As you back away from a mirror, your reflection becomes smaller, and therefore less minutely detailed — but also, in another sense, more complete and true, due to the widening context. For a man seeking the truest image of himself, the goal is to hone his eyesight and maintain perfect focus, while viewing his reflection in ever more distant surfaces. The smaller he...

Spiritual Substitution

Feeling small compared to the cosmos is not an illness, but rather a sign of higher health, the strong soul’s humility. Seeking smaller surroundings to insulate oneself against that feeling of cosmic smallness is an illness. The need to feel “big enough” for one’s environment at all costs indicates a fundamental fear of the beautiful, the rare, and the great, which is to...