Monday, March 7, 2011

The Meaning of Life

This is a big post for me. It's the product of a lot of reflection, disappointment, and confusion. Here it goes:

The Meaning of Life is to Make Beautiful Moments


Yeah. I actually think it's that simple. Let me try and explain how I arrived at my conclusion.

I've always been kinda interested in fashion. To be honest, I sucked at it for most of my life. My style has pretty much been the same since I was in 6th grade: plaid shirt, jeans, tennis shoes. As I got older I became envious and curious about people with really great style. Great style is like great poetry or a great musical riff. You can try as hard as you can to boil it down into its components and replicate it through formulas, but there'll always be something missing. Real art is mysterious and it just works. It communicates and inspires.

Seeing people convert their bodies and clothing into works of art was amazing. It's still amazing.

Resolving the Existential Crisis

I've drifted in the existentialist fog for a pretty long time. My dilemma, as I can best articulate it, came down to trying to reconcile my understanding of nature with my personal goals. Specifically, how could one objectively look at the universe, it's unfathomable size, and it's patent randomness and declare that one thing--one circumstance--has any more value than any other circumstance? How could one decide that one goal is worth pursuing over any other goal? Aren't all goals just different arrangements of matter? Isn't one arrangement just as cold and meaningless  as the next? If so, can there ever be anything in life worth pursuing?


Life & Art

I think the answer would be "yes, it's all the same" if it wasn't for art. The fact that some arrangements of stuff yields beautiful results, while others do not implies that some arrangements are unique. Are they unique enough to matter? Maybe. I don't know. Right now, I don't think it makes a difference. Art is interesting. It's amusing. It seems important. And if it isn't, who cares. It's nice to be moved to be moved spiritually once in a while. Art and its byproduct, beauty, elevate some organizations of matter over overs and it gives us something to aim for, even if we're only aiming for something because it's lovely.

The universe is our cosmic wardrobe. We can take the pieces we have--the matter, the particles, their interactions--and arrange them in beautiful, pleasing ways. We can make art out of life itself by bringing people together, helping them find meaning and peace, guiding them towards understanding, sharing joy with them, and/or helping them live in harmony with the planet. We can rearrange matter over and over, creating sequences of beautiful moments.

That goal is something I can aim for and I don't have to feel like a total fraud for pursuing it. I don't have to lie to myself and pretend something is meaningful when I can't understand why it's the case. Beauty is neat. Art is neat. Fashion is neat. Something to master.


Making Beautiful Moments is Easy

Creating beautiful moments is easy when you feel a sense of beauty and peace inside you. Be watchful because it doesn't always look the same from person to person. For some people, it's quieter, for others it's more playful. And then on top of that, each person changes from year to year, month to month, day to day, and even hour to hour. But the root is always the same.

Finding beauty is easy. You practice honesty with yourself, which is another way of describing meditation. You're honest about your experience and compassion and understanding blossom naturally. You can also collect truly beautiful things. Watch beautiful things and be on the lookout for beautiful moments.

It would be great to see an army of soldiers who dedicated themselves to fashioning beautiful moments. I suppose that's what it means to really be religious. 

Click to enlarge.
This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
Feel free to share your own in the comments.
Longest. Caption. Ever.

1 comment:

ANJALI said...

Lovely post Edhan...
This article reminds me of a conversation I had recently. It made me realize that art is not always created deliberately and sometimes others can perceive beauty where it wasn't even intended. It makes it all the more interesting. Even flattering. It certainly made me more aware of it.
The concept of fashioning beautiful moments appeals to me and will probably appeal to many of my friends too, so I'll share this with them :)