The following post will not tell you ‘the meaning of life‘, but is an attempt to dissect our psyche as to where we went wrong. And why?
So my 13 yr old son got a new iPod, OMG! Now we do not see him or hear him. There is just a presence in the house, one we cannot interact with for fear of ‘the nod’. At meal times (only when his favourite food is available) we actually hear monosyllables and my husband and I delude ourselves into thinking we had a conversation. During one of these conversations my son says, “Mom, Siri is amazing.”
Naturally I ask, “Who is Siri?” Secretly trying to formulate a question that will ascertain whether Siri is a boy or a girl.
“Oh! mom,” roll of eyes.
“Well,” I respond, Even I am learning to appreciate the art of monosyllable conversation.
“Hmm, I asked her the meaning of life.”
“And, what did she say?” Yes, I now know Siri is a girl. One point for me! I do a happy dance in my head.
“Wait I’ll show you.”
Show me how? Is Siri in the house? Another presence we do not know about. What next, alien invasion. Then the voice of reason, my husband.
“Ok, show us.”
Out comes the iPod (which is banned at meal times) and he proceeds to ask Siri the meaning of life.
Oh, so Siri is a robot? This actually got me thinking about the meaning of life. I figure there must be a meaning to our existence right? I remember reading in the Quran that “worldly life amounts to nothing more than play.” Analysis was definitely needed, following is what I think the meaning of life as we have made it is. This is not necessarily what it should be, but it is increasingly what it has become, unfortunately.
I realised that our pursuit of happiness or meaning of life for us is actually a confusion between our needs and wants. The better defined our needs our, the happier we are and less likely to delude ourselves into thinking we are failures. I look at my kids and see the stages of increasing needs, that are actually wants.
Stage 1 – Games: A baby only cries when he needs to be fed or changed, these are his needs and wants very simple. Up until about 3 months that is. When your baby is attracted to voices, colours, mobiles hanging from his car seat, being held – his needs are now wants that he is too young to identify.
Stage 2 – Entertainment: A toddler or young child, their wants are that new toy. Remember the conversation: Mom I will never ask for anything again if you get me the My Little Pony walking Pinky Pie. I promise. There are tears and chores done on time, even politeness! When they own the toy/book/ whatever I give it 3 hours, then it’s just lying around somewhere. You ask: I found this Pinky Pie in the dryer, what was it doing there?
“Oh I am tired of it all it does is talk and walk, like ponies can really talk, Mom!!!!” comes the reply. Remember those MasterCard ads, where the child ends up playing with the packaging the expensive toy comes in. Next time I am just buying packaging! I will bid on it on eBay, really I will.
Stage 3 – Beautification: The dreaded teens and twenties, where looks and clothes are all that matter, or the latest smart phone. The phone probably won’t work, but its the latest. Hours in the bathroom fixing non-existent facial hair. Now we are old enough to identify a want from a need, but are too involved in this world and it’s ‘play’ that we just act out our part thoughtlessly.
Stage 4 – Materialism: When you are a parent and start showing off your kids and their achievements. Oh my kid got into Harvard on a scholarship, she is in law school, and firms are already asking her to inter with them. The stories go on. Cars, houses, vacations, jobs, it’s all about money!
Stage 5 – Realisation: We realise that whatever we pursued actually was of no significance. Once we attained it, we lost interest in it. The toy, the new car, the coveted degree all of it. So, what should we do?
Very simple, analyse our desires, are they wants or needs? If they are wants then do not make them the focus of your life. Enjoy life, peace to all.