What are we doing here on this dirt we call earth? Living in a sliver of timeframe… Being a fleck on a fleck in the unfathomably vast universe… What magnificence does our lives have to the grand plan of gods?
In a previous post, we discussed how to sensibly spend the time we have on earth and recover our personal time by managing all the tasks and chores. But why do we want to do that? Because you want to be happy? Why do you want to be happy? That’s where we get stuck; isn’t it? We want to be happy just because we want to be happy.
Dead Men Tell no Tales
My garden recently had a very bad ant infestation problem. They were everywhere, and it came to the stage that our dog even couldn’t get out to pee without its legs being severely stung. I might come across as a bad person here but — at the end, we had to control the ant situation by pouring hot water onto their colonies.
While doing this, I had a novel “perception” about life. Let’s talk about that.
Whenever I see an ant colony in my garden, I go to the kitchen and turn on the kettle. It takes few minutes to boil the water, but the instant I see the ants, their unfortunate future is determined. Now, this is the million dollar question. For the few minutes from the moment I saw the ants, to the moment they actually die, are they alive?
Biologically, they definitely are. But Mushrooms and Bacterias are alive biologically. We want a bit more sophisticated definition. How about philosophically? Are they alive?
You might say “of course they are. They have feelings, however primitive that might be. They feel things.”
Let me ask the question differently then. After ants are dead and their bodies are decomposed, what evidence is left for us to say that they were in fact alive one time?
Anything they felt is redundant because we can never know those. We can’t extract their feelings from the environment. It’s just as if they were never alive.
Even if they were to have, more complex emotions as we do (happiness, sorrow, love, hate, the feeling you get when the router suddenly stopped working), non of them matters because there’s no way to recover those feelings after death.
You might say that “Even though the ants are killed (by a degenerate), the castles they have built, the food they have collected will scream to prove that they definitely lived”. You are entirely correct. In fact, we’re now narrowing in on a better definition of life.
A small fact: You are going to die….does this worry you?Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
Not so differently to ants, our impending demise is written on the day we are born. So any feeling we feel during our lifetime will be erased from the universe, the moment we die. Your individuality is never safe from the vicissitude of the world.
So trying to be happy just to be happy, arguably seems not a very sound decision.
We stumbled upon on a valuable idea earlier which can rescue us from this void. We know dead ants can’t tell their story. But the majestic ant castle which remained, can. Every sand moved, every branch dug, every seed collected, will tell the story of each soldier who ever lived in the once prosperous and proud ant colony.
Any ant that contributed to the colony, will live forever. While the ones who didn’t, were never alive in the first place.
Your stature (and your stature alone) is your sole individuality and your eternal identity.
Live forever with 2 Simple Rules
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.Pablo Picasso
Wanting to be happy with your life is not a bad thing. But you will never have ever been lived if you didn’t leave a prominence behind. All of your feelings, your pursuits of happiness will die in vain along with you and no one will be able to notice.
Everybody is doing stuff and we just sit here. If I die, the only way people would even know that I was here would be by the ass print on this chair!Chandler Bing, ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ TV Series
I can’t tell you how to fulfil your life’s purpose. No one can. It’s yours to explore and uncover. That’s how you own your life. However, one thing I will ask is to follow the two rules below when exploring your unique purpose. You will live forever as our fellow ants did.
1. Influence your Society
Truly great people in history never wanted to be great for themselves. All they wanted was the chance to do good for others and be close to God.Muhammad Ali
Society (Here I’m using Society as a broader term for all of social surroundings. Thus, your family, your neighbours, your community as well as a reddit thread you commented on, can be categorised as a society) and the civilisation is the strongest armour that we posses against anything. Humankind survived, thrived and became the strongest species on the earth just by realising this. That’s why society is extremely important for any individual’s survival.
Humans are social beings and subconsciously each one of us knows it. Thus, any positive impact you make in your neighbourhood, your community, your workplace, and the world will never go unnoticed.
Do you know who Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin (or Charlie Chaplin) is? Of course. Even an infant knows who he is. Watching a film of his, you suddenly forget everything and dive into his world, to laugh with him, to cry with him, and to understand him. Charlie Chaplin will never die from the earth. Just as Mark Twain. Just as Martin Luther King. They will always have a place in our hearts.
Just as so, any positive influence you have on your society will live forever.
There are so many, completely different paths you can take to influence your society. You may choose to write a book, pursue philanthropy, politics, or do a comedy show, or even develop a mobile app. At the end of the day, make people remember who you were.
If you positively and genuinely influence your society, people will keep a place right in their hearts just for you to live forever.
2. Influence your Offspring
I could live a million years, and I could spend every minute of it doing important things, but at the end of it all I would only have lived half a life if I have not raised a son.Jeff Winger, ‘Community’ TV Series
If you are a parent or are planning to be one, you have the capability (and a responsibility as well) to influence the future humankind. You were given the opportunity to guide a person who has the potential to change the world one day. Don’t let that go to waste.
That’s how I will always remember my father and mother when they are gone. I will tell my children, how their grandparents escaped from a rural village where nothing ever happened and settled in a far city, just so I will have a better life. That one act of selfless influence changed my whole life and generations after me.
A sacrifice will never be in vain, if it is directed well. Ones who need to know, will know.
Make a positive impact on your children’s and grandchildren’s lives. Make sure they remember you as a role model rather than just a predecessor. Your offspring will know who you were even after centuries.
On the surface, it looks like a very tiring life to achieve all of this, isn’t it? Where does your sole personal happiness comes into the picture with all of these responsibilities?
Well, everywhere. A fun Saturday afternoon with your friends, a Minecraft game with your daughter, or even a ‘like’ on a facebook post will fit perfectly well into the above rules. Simply, try to be a good person just for the fun of it.
Also, even with all of the above, you will still have more than enough time to have some selfish fun times just for you. After all, we’re all just human; aren’t we? But time to time, make sure to tell yourself this –
“I want to live forever”
So, a better definition of life might be ***“The footprint you mark in the society”***. To live the life to the fullest, is to influence the world positively as much as we can (while enjoying some selfish pleasures as well of course).
We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?Steve Jobs