“What is the meaning of work?” a guru asked his friend.
His friend replied, “Well, son, it happens when your wits have reached their end.”
Life is work. Work is life.
Some people, I like to think of them as motherfuckers, would have us believe shit like this.
What is work? Is it something you do in order to survive? Or is it the meaning of life itself? It seems to me that maybe, just maybe, your perspective might be based on who you are. For example, if you are The King and lounge around all day with your turkey drumsticks, your opinion that servants should pursue a life of labor just might be biased. Ya think?
Me? I’ve never been all that enthralled with money and I was born and raised into a culture where work is something exclusively done in the pursuit of money. To me money is something that enables a standard of living and some of the stuff I want. Beyond that? Who gives a shit?
So I guess it’s not too surprising that my work ethic follows suit. I don’t work for fun. I don’t work because it is its own reward. I work because I have to. Period. No other reason. Zip. Nada. Bupkis. I simply see no other choice. How many non-work life paths are there and which of them could meet my needs?
Basically the only reason I work is so I can enjoy the times I’m not working.
And, right now, at this moment in my life as a citizen of the United States, I currently enjoy the maximum number of vacation days as required by law.
Meaning Of Life Discovery
Dad used to say, “No one ever said life is fair.” I’m pretty sure that’s a lie. Someone, no doubt delusional or hopped up on drugs, must have said it at least once. Duh.
Dad got a lot of shit wrong. Dead wrong. But he was right about this one. And how. Dad wasn’t always a liar. Sometimes he was a master of understatement.
In fact, dad didn’t go far enough. Not by a long shot. Allow me to take a stab at it.
Life is completely unfair. In every possible way. And humans deliberately do what they can to obliterate any residue if it ever accidentally exists. Period. Bar none.
Oh yeah. Dad also like to say “bar none.” A lot. And, for some reason, “burlap,” but that’s another story.
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No Good, No Bad
When one is an atheist in small town conservative America, one learns to play things close to the vest. Maybe later, after getting to know someone, the truth may be divulged. But it is known that premature sharing comes with a significant amount of risk. It’s a lovely place where the wrong bumper sticker will get your car keyed.
One company in that small town, named after a biblical location no less, asked about my religious beliefs during a job interview. That was my first clue that the game was afoot.
Later, when applying for another job in that same small town, my due diligence ended up freaking me out. I didn’t particularly get a good feeling from my research and, thanks to the internet, learned the owners of the company were flamboyantly religious. I was on a quest to get out of the frying pan and into the fire, so naturally I didn’t let this slow me down.
Despite shouting his religion for all to see, the man was one of the most unethical business people I’d ever met. And that’s saying a lot. He was no slouch. Yet there he was, up on the high ground, at least in his mind, looking down his nose at everyone else. Compensate much?
When office discourse finally turned to matters of politics and religion, I defiantly let fly with my disclosures. His reaction was one of thoughtfulness and class. “Atheist, eh? I have a question. Why don’t you kill people?”
Although flabbergasted by the audacity, I still think I handled it with style and aplomb, especially considering the source. “You don’t kill people because God forbids it,” I said. “I don’t kill people because I choose not to. It’s my decision.”
Right and wrong. Good and evil. Yin and yang. Night and day. Black and white. Betamax and VHS. DVD and Blue-ray.
But now, after assessing more empirical data, I now think, perhaps, I was a bit hasty. It’s time to bust out with yet another theory. I got a million of ’em.
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Theorizing About You
Sung to the tune of Old Toy Trains:
Existing in a jar
A theory not disproved
No matter who you are
A theory from a man
Messin’ with your head
Little fool, can you even know
If you are alive or dead
The wife is out of town so I finally got to watch some Stephen Hawking on Netflix. (Sorry, Northern Exposure. You’re officially on hiatus.) I promptly wrote the song above. Thanks a lot, Steve.
Actually, without even knowing it, I twixed the mind master of disaster a long time ago. You see, I’ve long had this theory of my own.
In my version, I am the only person who really exists. An evil all-powerful genius creates a bubble of reality, with me at the center, that follows me around no matter where I go. Places, things and yes, even people, are all illusions created to torment my existence. Apparently the meaning of life is to torture me, the humble innocent. The most probable explanation is that He’s writing a sequel to the Book of Job.
If my theory is true, that means I’m talking to myself right now. Touché, touché!
The point of the brain in a vat thought experiment is that the theory can’t be disproven, therefore, it’s possible. I like to think probable. It also shows that scientists will gleefully rip from the inventive world of Hollywood for their own selfish means. Isn’t there some way to protect us from the scientists?
Oh, almost forgot. They aren’t real, either.