Monday, January 17, 2011
Post One Hundred and Nine: The Meaning Of Life.
My ex boyfriend was and is a genius. He likes to talk about life and suffering ad nauseum. He is a crazy nut by today's contemporary societal standards; but a genius none the less. He holds social rules and manner systems with next to no regard. In fact, he is somewhat like a younger, more aggressive and scientifically obsessed Larry David, but without the charmed life and sardonic wit. I am yet to meet another person quite as annoying, but quite as brilliant.
This gent was a questionable partner for me, but I reflect and realise that amongst our relationships faults he taught me my most valuable lessons to date.
Working in a medical imaging clinic, he spends a substantial amount of time scanning dying and close to dying people. He is the guy that takes people in for their MRI's to see if their brain tumour has returned, or if the lump in a patients breast is malignant (a considerably more stressful position than the average $18/hour unqualified position).
Instead of blocking out the emotions involved in treating these patients he engages them introspectively. In his patients moment of naivity he encourages them to not be afraid of asking important questions about life and their own suffering. I can't imagine being one of his patients. I'd half want to smack him in the face, but then have him hold my hand through treatment to tell me that everything was going to be fine (although he'd probably say something wiser like, however it is it will be. That's not actually comforting in the slightest).
Anyway, I write about him because he asks everyone he meets, from the check-out chick at woolies to the dying patients in his hospital, "What has been the best day of your life?" and "What do you think is the meaning of life?". He asks everyone and anyone, weaving it into normal conversation as if he was complementing an outfit or commenting on the weather. Most people look at him and laugh, but he gets the information he needs and adds the reponse to his data.
It's interesting, because the majority of people (especially the dying) say that the best day of their life was either their wedding day or the birth of their first child. Then, when asked what the meaning of life, most will answer "family" or "alcohol".
So what's going to happen to me if I never marry and have children? Are my days any less sentimental than Bettie Crockers? I think not by comparison, but I guess I'd be ignoring a fairly significant statistical result if I valued this particular samples data.
Maybe it's those moments in life where we stop and say "oh fuck..." that we see meaning in what we do and why we do things. When we are challenged by illness and pain, we cling to those we love. When we lose someone, we reach out for help. When we are sad, we look to others to cheer us up. Maybe thats it, the meaning, maybe it's just....others.
One man sailing in a ship in the high seas, what does he have to live for if not for a return to share his experience one day with others? The whole theme of immortality in vampire fables is made all the more tragic because of loneliness and unshared introspection on the vampires behalf.
Am I on to something? Have I had too much coffee? OTHERS. That's my tentative meaning.
Add life to your days and not days to your life. (I don't know who wrote that but it's goooooood).
Peace and Love.