Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meaning and Value

The meaning of life is one of those fruitless amusing questions that people like to toy with to pass the time, because of course, there is no meaning to life.

What does our life mean? What did Van Gogh's life mean? Katherine the Great? Galileo? Marie Curie? Carry Nation? Edgar Cayce? Pamela Coleman Smith? Beethoven? Mozart? Michaelangelo? DaVinci? Darwin? Johnny Appleseed? Martha Graham? Aaron Copeland? Aradia? Chief Seattle?

We recognize these people as significant in history because they did things. We assign the meanings. We always assign meanings.

When people talk about what does it mean that a person died young or in a bizarre accident, it doesn't mean anything. It just is, and our minds like to toy with puzzling facts.

When people speculate on what it means that a person dresses a certain way or drives a certain vehicle, all it means is that they bought that stuff and they like using it.

Meaning is one of those overrated concepts. Why did so many people grow up with an aversion to poetry? Simply refer back to those teachers who asked what a poem means? That was the kind of question that will drive a person batty. Funny, but they didn't used to ask what a symphony means, what a painting means, what a sculpture means, what a tomato means.

Funny how that question gets in the way of simply appreciating things, appreciating life. There is truth and beauty to be derived from everything, but finding meaning is sometimes like that other old saying about those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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