AN: Pretty short chapter here. Lots of information about the subject though; I've wanted to write about this subject for a very long time and now I finally have the chance so be prepared for some stuff that doesn't make sense.
"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."
― Albert Camus
As you all know, there are many different views in the world. Far too many to count. There are different traditions, religions, cultures, you name it. That's what makes our world work so well, in my opinion. If all of us were the same, there would be no excitement in life. We wouldn't really be living; we'd just be looking into a mirror until we died.
Our purpose as humans is debatable. In fact, many lives have been ended because of this debate. Many people have lost their jobs or been discriminated against. Opinion and fact are two separate things, but purpose is the area where they are meshed together.
Buddhists want to end suffering caused by things they can't let go in life. Hindus have four purposes: dharma (fulfilling one's purpose), artha (prosperity), kama (desire, joy) and moksha (enlightenment). Muslim's goals are to create harmony between oneself, Allah and other human beings. Judaism believes in preparing the physical world for the spiritual one. And finally, Christianity fights to seek divine salvation through the grace of God and intercession of Christ.
If you look at all of these, they are relatively the same. None are selfish and are focused on finding their creator or themselves. So why is there such a fuss about it?
Once again, I'm drawing knowledge from my CIS class. We were focusing on the purpose of life according to different cultures, particularly Native American ones, and we watched a video where a man interviewed the famous Joseph Cambell. I don't know if any of you have ever seen or listened to him talk, but the man is a genius, and one that is very hard to understand. I had to rewatch his videos several times before I could even grasp some of what he was saying.
But one thing he mentioned really stuck with me: there is no purpose to life.
And despite my lack of religion, even I had a hard time believing this. No purpose? Then what they hell are humans doing here? Whether God, some other divine Creator or the Earth itself created us, why would they go through the trouble if we were to just sit here and slowly destroy our planet?
Well, I looked into this more outside of school. I found that what Cambell meant was that there is no purpose, only the journey. If you find you've reached your goal in life, or if you've finished your journey, you haven't truly lived a life of purpose simply because there is no purpose. Confusing right?
Goals are what get us through life, at least for me. If I hadn't strived to get good grades, I wouldn't be where I am now, with all the advantages I have. If I didn't want to get into college, get a degree, get married and have a family, why would I even attempt anything in life? I didn't believe in Legalism, the idea that the purpose of life was to gain knowledge and that is what makes a person valuable. But it was pretty close; the things we strive for are our goals, our dreams, and when we reach them, we make new ones because there is always something else to do. To use the words of one of my favorite Disney characters, "Well that's the good part I guess. You get to find a new dream."
There are so many different ways to think, that I'm now very confused. Being in CIS, where you have to think outside the box and from multiple different viewpoints, has made me rethink everything I believed in. Which belief is right, if any? How do I know? What about the other people who are wrong? Is anybody truly wrong?
I've never been conflicted about this before, even as I was surrounded by people who don't believe the same as me; my aforementioned friend Katya is extremely Evangelical Christian; my friends Shilvi and Sanjana are Hindu; my ex-boyfriend is Buddhist. I know several Jews, but not very well. I'm surrounded by cultures of all sorts, yet I'm confused about this. Now I'm confused about my confusion!
I think this is why our society is changing so much, and why we are having problems. People don't know what to believe anymore, and in the recent United States Presidential Election—since Mitt Romney incorporated a lot of religion into his campaign—surveys revealed that more and more people, not just young ones, are saying that no religion, or atheism, is the way to go.
I'm not a very deep, psychological person, but I think this is because more and more people are doubting their own beliefs. It's shown in the fact that 52% of Latinos in the US voted for same-sex marriage, when they are mostly very extreme about their Catholicism. It is shown in the fact that 9% of self-proclaimed Republicans voted for Obama, and 63% of the votes for Romney were women, when men usually hold the majority when it comes to voter gender, even if it is a small lead.
Beliefs are what hold many people together, what gets them through life, so why are they changing all of a sudden? Even for those who don't really have any, like me?
There may be a purpose to this life, there may not be. There may be one creator, many creators or none. Nothing is concrete, at least not to me. I guess all we can do is wait, and hope we figure it out in our journey.
Points to anyone who can tell me the name of the Disney movie/character that said the quote. I'll review your story if you do.