The Meaning and Non-Meaning of Life
Having been a very active contributor to the Forum section of HubPages over the past 3 months, I have come to realize that most hubbers have strong feelings, about God's existence or non-existence, man's accidental or non-accidental appearance along the string of earthly life, and the universe's begining or non-begining.
Roughly speaking, I could categorize writers on HubPages under the banner of BELIEVERS and NON-BELIEVERS, i.e. in separations of the human from the divine, in questions of humanity's part in the "grand scheme" of things, and in conclusions of the beginning and the ending of the universe.
I have had quite a time of it, so far, getting entangled with fellow hubbers who do not share my view of (1) God's transcendental existence which is as real to me as gravity's consequential presence, (2) Man's evolutionary creation, via the construction of all that is contained in the material universe, (3) the perspicacious connectedness of God-Universe-Man.
In the HubForum I titled The Universe and the Meaning of Life, I asked::: If, as is suggested by astro-physicist, the universe had its begining after the Big Bang (with the exact nature of what or who initiated it still up for a lot of conjecture), the questions needs to be asked-- Did the cascading events that emanated from the Big Bang that then ultimately led to life ( on earth, in the case of humans) have any direction, meaning or purpose beyond the happenstance and haphazard formation of "matter"?
If true, does man's existence on earth have any meaning or purpose beyond the material? Is man's creation (via the evolutionary process) no more than a "happy"(?)/"freakish"(?) ending to the unintentional mixing of atoms, that became molecules, that then spontaneously grouped together to become cells, then individual organs, then organ-systems that make up the human body?
If man's existence does not go beyond the material and the physical, then why even develop a multi-faceted, multi-layered organ (the human brain) of such complexity that it has made him a sentient, volitional, and creating being?
If the universe exist just for the sake of existing, why did its fomation led to the creation of an entity (humans) that is capable of being aware that he and a universe that sorrounds him exist?
Questions, that none of the non-believing hubbers could answer with any degree of assuredness and certainty. One argued that the topic of "The Universe" and "The Meaning of Life" should be tackled separately, because he thought that there is just no connection between the two, i.e. one does not need to understand the visible and non-visible workings of the universe to be able to put meaning and purpose into one's life. To which I agreed heartily, but with the added proposition that since humans are made up of "stardust" ( Carl Sagan's contribution to human thought) shouldn't it be reasonable for them to instinctually "reach" for the stars, trying mightily to untangle the mystery that is the universe? Another argued that man's presence on earth is akin to that of an accidental tourist that just happened to hitch a ride on a planet that just happened to be located in an area of the universe that he termed the "Goldilock Zone".
So the debate rages on. And what about this question: Should philosophical /spiritual thought and scientific empiricism find a common ground, so as to speak a common language when debating these issues? From the purely philosophical point of view, comes this quote from the novelist John Updike: "Ancient religion and modern science agree----we are here to give praise, or to slightly tip the expression, to pay attention. Without us, physicists who have embraced the anthropic principle tell us, the universe would be unwitnessed, and in a sense not there at all. It exists, incredibly, because of us. This formulation(knowing what we know of the universe's extent) is more incredible, to our sense of things, than the Old Testament situation of a God willing to suffer, coddle, instruct and even (in the book of Job) to debate men, in order to realize the meager benefit of worship, or praise for His creation. What we certainly have is our instinctive intellectual curiosity about the universe from the quasars down to the quarks, our delight and wonder at existence itself, and an occasional surge of sheer blind gratitude for being here."
On the other side of the chasm is this essay from an empiricist, the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould:" We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin antomy that could transform into legs for terrestial creatures; because comets struck the earth and wiped out dinosaurs, thereby giving mammals a chance not otherwise available; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a tenuous specie, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a "higher" answer-- but none exists. This explanation, though superficially troubling, if not terrifying, is ultimately liberating and exhilarating. We can not read the meaning of life passively in the face of nature. We must construct these answers ourselves--from our own wisdom and ethical sense. there is no other way."
My answer to the same question that the Updike and Gould tried to answer in their respective essays is simple enough:We are here because our spiritual essence (souls) were allowed to inhabit a material body so as to exist in a material world. where we are going is to the same place from whence we came from... the spiritual realm where the Divine resides. Now this answer may be anathema to some, a little bit more convincing to others, but to me, as truthful as the unconditional love God has for all of us.