Here are the revelations of an ex-Engineer, and they are hard won: The universe isn’t a machine you can build or fix. It’s wide-open, completely invisible and immune to outside interference. It scoffs at our attempts to defy this convention. Whether you overanalyze or quality control it to death or not, things will be. Meaning is proferred to us everywhere, and we lap it up like the dogs we are.
These words are for some crackpot who will try to milk meaning from a cow that is dry from the truth. The truth is that there is no meaning where there should be milk. There is no time to find answers when you are alive. It’s like asking to make piss from milk. We can’t do it consciously like an act of magic, but we are more than capable of figuring it out given a little time.
Besides, I may have milked myself dry of meaning like most adults have already. Unselfish giving, of which the cow is a symbol, is definitely not the crux of the meaning of life. If this were the case, our existences are already meaningless given our inherently selfish natures. Self-actualization, not charity or faith, forms the apex of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. Even the Bible reminds us that God could never force men to do something they didn’t want to do themselves, whether that be war, thievery, punishment or penitence. This is part of why I am such a bad Hindu – I ate beef to get closer to God, but in the end I was only slightly above Her as She splashed into the John.
I would guess that makes me the prophet of the sewer mutants living under Michigan. Not just your garden-variety prophet, but the homeless kind with placards on busy street corners who decry the end of the world, and claim that the righteous will be saved. I don’t know how I feel about that. Did Mohammed or John feel like this? Did they feel like sinners and blasphemers pandering God to pieces of shit? Did they feel blushes and pangs of guilt while insisting that people be better heirs of the Kingdom of God? If guilt was no concern, did they simply use religion as a tool to make the masses subservient, as Marx put it? Did they subvert the truth and their faith in return for power? The answer to these questions are different for different people, and far from uniting us, sow discord within us. The existence or non-existence of God does not have a thing to do with the meaning of our lives unless we let it. We cannot blame God for what we are.
Heaven may or may not wait for the righteous. It is not only the life of sinners that is a gamble.
The crazy Islamonazis might blow us up in their holy wars, or perhaps the hypocrisy of crossfuckers is going to steer us into the Rapture. If we dodge them, the United States will steal our oil/maize/water, or maybe it’ll just be a meteorite or a solar flare that will sterilize the planet and cauterize its wounds. Maybe the Milky Way is shifting from the hospitable zone. Soon, enough, the Sun will be going one way and the Earth another. If that doesn’t get us, the Mayans ended their calendar in 2012 for a reason. Man is fascinated with the Apocalypse because his end in the future reveals the potential for meaning for his life in the present. The all-too-plausible death of his race offers a perspective on its existence now.
If meaning is physically present somewhere or in something, it is present in the details and chaos. The meaning of life, if you will, is that chaos is the infinite sum of disparate coincidences that are a textbook example of perfection only on being integrated.
Think of a random number. Can I predict what you randomly thought of? Mathematicians will say yes. They will say that everything can be explained in math, if one just uses the correct variables and methods. They will insist that mathematics is the language of the universe, the very syntax and underlying structure of creation.
If this is true, then no one has written textbooks for the requisite mathematics yet. We might as well be kindergarteners from Medieval times seeking the solution to a multivariable differential equation. Like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so blithely suggests, perhaps our universe was created as a computer to calculate the solution to this infinitely complex equation. God is in the details of chaos, and entropy pushes the entire universe toward godliness. This current of the underlying universe is one of God’s original axiomatic processes – monads – that run the Universe – belonging with the speed of light, Gravity, Maxwell’s electromagnetic theorems and like charges attracting unlike charges. These monads, and the ones we haven’t picked up on yet, are the prime tenets upon which God’s creation is run.
On that note, here is a corollary truth from an ex-Engineer: If there is indeed a God, we would be as incapable of understanding his structure as a cockroach would be of understanding how the Golden Gate bridge holds itself up. Simple monads cannot predict the outcomes of greater and more complicated ones. If we haven’t even been able to replicate how human beings think in artificially intelligent computers, how can we expect to understand the programming of a greater intellect?
The meaning of life is proportional to the obsession with the meaning of life, and inversely proportional to how much that being doesn’t think about what he’s doing while he’s doing it. To the power of everything is going to die eventually and how can you have meaning where there is nothing? Even the meaning of life is as fleeting as our time on this Earth and just about as relevant. We are pea-brained birds migrating south out of an ancient and instinctual need, rotting slowly but staying succulent for a while. Down south, the trees won’t be naked anymore, we’ll be all thawed out and there won’t be any need to think about it.
While we’re dying slowly, we might as well do the stupid shit we aren’t supposed to do so when we’re done, we can say, “Hey, I did that on the flight in!” Life is the only journey there is. Do interesting things. Let go and surrender to another human being. Engage each other. Take pictures. Regret nothing. Care about everything. Grow your home into a leafy fortress against inevitability. Don’t dwell on your mortality. Live and immortalize everything you can.
With that mantra, I suggest you walk yourself down to your local burger joint and order a hamburger with fries. Yes, American style – with beef. Four stacks of it with some bacon on top. Be a Pluralist. Choose to believe in many truths, instead of the one that is omnipresent. Even choose to believe in truths that oppose and contradict each other. One truth does not always negate another. The universe is not dichotomous in this aspect, but is more like Shrek’s onion. For now, I can still see a church from my balcony, and I’m sure the toilet in that church will serve me well in the future when my own is clogged.