The Quest for Meaning - Part 1
Family is the cornerstone of civilization. Perhaps the highest purpose is to be found in building a better world for our children.
“As individuals we are mortal, but as a species we have a chance at immortality.”
There is a fundamental problem with existentialism: it relies on the individual to create their own meaning and teaches that each individual consciousness is a totality. This prescription is particularly nefarious because it attaches itself to our inherent desire to create. Rat poison is 99.5% good food, it is the 0.5% that kills. Similarly, existentialism on its face provides meaning to its adherents. As supposed masters of their own minds, existentialists are able to feel as if they have conquered death by laughing at the absurdity of life. In actuality, life provides only one sure path to immortality: life and consciousness can only be perpetuated through reproduction.
Reproduction is the only form of physical immortality that is known. As individuals we are mortal, but as a species we have a chance at immortality. Thus the command from the Torah, “be fruitful and multiply”. Family is the cornerstone of civilization because there is nothing more sacred than consciousness and up until this point the only way to create consciousness is through reproduction. This is not a religious belief, it is simply a fact.
Of course, reproduction is not the only method to find individual meaning, but the underlying principle must be understood. It is the future that we must sacrifice the present to achieve. It is by sacrificing our present to make a brighter future for the next generation that we build meaningful things. This sounds trite, but it is important. A society that denies its responsibility to the generations that come after it can not survive. The First Principle of any new story must be that the present is not as valuable as the future and that building a better future is more important than momentary pleasure and comfort.
“The future does not belong to us, but to our children.”
A new story is needed. One that provides a sense of purpose and meaning with a commitment to manifesting a better tomorrow instead of obsessing over yesterday. A philosophy that promotes the planting of trees whose shade we will never rest in. Vision for a future of humanity that is neither dystopian or utopian, but is incrementally better for each generation. This narrative must inspire people to the point of sacrificing their comfort. It is through sacrifice to a cause greater than ourselves that we find meaning.
It is for our children and the future generations that we must have faith. There is no need for meaning or purpose if all that matters is our individual lives. If personal self actualization is the highest form of subjective truth, then comfort and self preservations will become our highest ideals. The future does not belong to us, but to our children.