A friend was having a talk with their kids and the question of what’s the meaning of life came up. The kids (teens and young adults) wanted to know. Awkward silence. Sputter. It is …
Anyway, here is my two cents worth: Meaning and purpose are not the same.
‘Meaning’ is meaningless without realizing that it is something we do not choose. We are chosen. Our parents chose to bring us into the world, notwithstanding the fact that not all things are well planned. We are a continuation of the past with hopefully the intent to look to the future. Our meaning is to continue the human reach to the future … and along the way to find our purpose.
It has been said that there can be no meaning without love. I’m not sure that love has anything to do with it. Love helps. Love nurtures. Love is craved. Love does many things … but pragmatically: love just makes our day better although the day that we live life within will happen with or without love.
‘Purpose’ is something that we choose, or don’t … in which case we usually spend time pondering the meaning of life. Add in love and mentoring and usually finding our purpose becomes easier and occurs sooner.
My son Kevin is now in his 5th week of military basic training. They call it ‘Beast Week’ — it is supposedly the most challenging week.
When I went through basic training (Army, July 1974 — hotter than hell!) every week seemed challenging to me … but then, I have always felt challenged.
Kevin will do well. He is smart, smart, smart … but not to be confused with the Ever Ready Bunny!
BEAST WEEK inspirational quotes that I sent to my son.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
— Dr. Seuss
“A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.”
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
— Will Rogers
“Life is like a sewer… what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.”
— Tom Lehrer
“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”
— Roger Staubach
“Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.”
Modern insults can be so crass and in your face. Cheap insults are so common that they are as predictable as a country song.
For those that yearn for the good ol’days when insults were well thought out and full of sarcasm, my friend Bill Case offers the following classics:
A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.” “That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”
“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr
“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill
“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” Clarence Darrow
“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).
“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas
“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain
“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends..” – Oscar Wilde
“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill … “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second … if there is one.” – Winston Churchill, in response.
“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop
“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright
“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb
“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson
“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating
“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” – Charles, Count Talleyrand
“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker
“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain
“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder
“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx