Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Question of Purpose

I'm picking a cerebral topic to write about quickly during my last hour here at the Applebox with Rebecca and M, so that the photo I posted last time will roll down a bit. (Why did I do that, anyway? So unflattering…) So I probably won't do the subject justice. But perhaps like me you're a bit weary of my "here's what I did recently" entries of late. I hope you won't be horrified at my indolent, heathen thoughts, though most of them seem to be questions rather than conclusions.

"What am I here for?" was a question fellow Pointy Pal Julia asked recently on her blog, a question she poses regularly in celebration of both her birthday and continued cancer remission. (I think it's a wonderful tradition to use one's birthday--or any other occasion--to ask big questions rather than to just celebrate mindlessly as I so often do. If I celebrate at all. That would be a good item to add that to my list of resolutions.)

So that of course got me to thinking a bit about what I'm here for, too. It seems to be entangled in the Is There a God and So Why *Don't* I Want Kids Anyway questions. (Children give you purpose, right? As does serving a Higher Power? Both result in some version of eternal life, so you can just stop worrying if you're following one or both of those paths, eh?) Mortality, as in fear thereof, also seems to be part of the equation. But I don't think I want to live forever, particularly since my body is on the downward slope. Um, even if I had the choice, which of course I don't. Those Charlaine Harris books I'm reading featuring vampires are giving me ideas, I think.

Is there anything wrong with *not* having a purpose? Isn't it OK to just be a fairly helpful, happy, respectful, grateful, loving person who does no harm? If I'm fine with not believing in God, does it mean I don't have to believe that a Purpose is necessary either?

But wouldn't having a purpose make me a happier person? I'm tending to think so. And just what is a purpose anyway? Seems like defining it is half the battle. And defining if it's necessary at all to even have a purpose. If my purpose is to knit lots of inconsequential things, for instance, or procrastinate bigtime on all writing projects of worth, I think my life is pretty well complete. Maybe just the awareness of wanting a purpose, or the process of searching for it is good enough, a qualifier for any rewards due for living uprightly. What if I could have a series of mini-purposes? I think I'd like that. Seems more attainable. Though maybe that's just letting myself off the introspection hook.

Anyway. Something to ponder.

In "here's what I did" news, cuz it's just such a habit: M and I took in a live theater performance last night: Doubt. Maybe it was the fact that the movie version is in theaters, but there weren't many people in the audience, despite the fact that it was only the second performance. I was sad for the actors--M and I agreed that it was really well performed. Nice set too. It was great to do something different for date night. Audience watching in the lobby was also amusing. Plans to see the Yves St. Laurent exhibit in the City have been postponed. Zumba class was better this week-- we just started asking the teacher questions and giving her "helpful" suggestions (me included) and it flustered her a little, but she tried, so I give her props. And I got a better workout. I've been most grateful for the recent rainfall, minimal though it is. I have proposed that M and I undertake some sort of culinary challenge this weekend. Perhaps mozzarella cheese making. Suggestions welcome.


At 9:06 AM, January 25, 2009, Blogger bren said...

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At 11:42 AM, January 25, 2009, Blogger bren said...

My comment was about happiness as a goal. The Dalai Lama wrote that if everyone was happy the world would be a good place, or something like that. Even in my 'good life'it's hard to be really happy.

At 4:36 PM, January 26, 2009, Blogger Kamala! said...

On the day you posted this, I watched a TED talk by the father of a former student of mine who is now the President of the Rhode Island School of Design (the dad, John Maeda, not the preschooler). His talk was about simplicity. What struck me the most is that he concluded by saying there is just so much to enjoy every day about being alive. He is a graphic artist and illustrated this with beautiful photos of things we see every day in the natural world as well as the man made world.It really struck me that perhaps our purpose is to appreciate the beauty in being alive-as in The Color Purple where it is said that God just wants us to notice and appreciate the color purple. Not sure about the God part, but I like the idea of being here to recognize the beauty in our existence.

At 6:36 AM, January 27, 2009, Blogger Rebecca Patrascu said...

I don't know what your purpose might be (or even what mine is!), but I think a life spent without asking about or pondering such things is indeed a waste. So in my book, you're fulfilling a purpose just by writing your introspective post. And besides, the things you make and give, and the way you treat others -from the rose bushes, to your friends, to total strangers - those things are all blessings you share in this world. Glad you're here.

At 8:47 AM, February 02, 2009, Anonymous jerilu said...

If we expand our definition of god, it allows for some interesting possibilities. Sartre said "Hell is other people." Maybe god is also other people, and the way we treat each other determines whether we live in heaven or hell on a daily basis. Living our lives in a loving, grateful and committed way is more than enough of a challenge for most of us.
I love this kind of stuff!


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