[What follows is an unstructured reflection on the human condition. I have not edited the paragraph structure.]
This is the human condition: To rebel. To live this most miserable life, where we are specks upon specks upon specks, where nothing we do really matters, and yet we enjoy life anyway. The point of life is to tell this indifferent universe that we do care. The greatest joke the universe plays on us is that we exist; the greatest joke we play on the universe is that we live anyway.
This human universe of meaning can only be found in the act of doing. To sit and contemplate will leave you in the indifferent universe. You will find no truth in meditation or prayer. This only cuts you off from the human universe and leaves you with the tricks of your own mind. The human universe is the realm of other people. This is where we find love, fun, and yes, sorrow. Because the human condition doesn’t mean we are pleasure-seeking machines.
Even though the universe has no meaning, the fundamental unit of the human universe is “meaning.” Does meaning exist? In the grand scheme of things, your loves mean nothing, but at the very moment, your children, your friends, your family, your partner, your crafts… all of them mean everything. Even upon reflection, within your lifetime, they still mean everything. Yes, meaning exists. Where do we find it, though?
Love, real love, though, isn’t pure happiness. To take care of children is a Herculean struggle. We don’t find meaning in the moments of pure bliss. Pure bliss is emptiness. That’s why I spit on your heaven, and spit on your nirvana. The true meaning of life can only be found in human struggle. When we love a craft, we must struggle and suffer to achieve a level of mastery. Without the struggle, there is no happiness. It’s empty. That which we can achieve with no effort is empty. We find meaning in both the happiness and sorrows of life.
It is rebellion that defines the human being. The universe tells us that our struggles mean nothing. What does a man gain from all the toil at which he toils under the sun? We gain nothing, except the toil itself. We must tell the universe that the struggle is where we find our meaning. We must constantly create our own meaning in this meaningless universe, and the only meaning to be found is within human activity.
I understand it better, that myth of Sisyphus. What is the human condition? When Sisyphus pushes that rock up the mountain and it falls, everything seems to be for naught. Yet when he struggles with all his might to push that rock up, he rebels against the universe. Sisyphus is condemned to a meaningless existence. But how can one be condemned if one exists at all? To exist is to be granted the ability to rebel against meaninglessness. To toil is to find meaning.
The myth is incomplete, as all myths are. In the human world, we find humans interacting with other humans. A real Sisyphus would go mad. He would be alone. But perhaps if there were another Sisyphus, struggling alongside him, then they could both find meaning.
If you were the only human alive, you could not prove it. You only exist in your own mind. Whatever you do, does not really matter. When you shout at the universe, it does not hear you. It does not answer back. It is only other people who can hear you. Any theory or ideology cannot prove itself. It is only when you transcend it that you can see if it makes any sense. Similarly, no human can prove her own existence. She must interact with other humans to prove that she exists. Living is the greatest act of rebellion against the universe, and it can only be proved when other people are around. All our toils mean nothing when there is no one to share them with.
No, maybe living itself isn’t enough. We all live, and yet it seems like a lot of us sleepwalk through life. We are caught in the same patterns. When we are locked in these patterns, life loses its meaning. We become like unthinking particles. We do not rebel and we do not live. It must mean that only by shaking things up that we truly live, right? We only exist when we can prove that we exist. We can only prove that we exist by showing others that we are alive, that we can do things.
What I mean to say that there is always the danger of indifference. When we are indifferent, we are no longer human. Where there is indifference, there is no meaning. We are like the meaningless universe. It is only when we care that we can find meaning. Yet to care requires more than just a thought. It requires hard work. Caring means struggling. Caring means rebellion. This is why we find meaning within rebellion, because we can only care when we rebel against the indifferent universe. The toil of caring also, from what we have found in the past, means that we will find heartbreak and sorrow. These things are inescapable, and therefore also bound up within the notion of caring. You can’t care without being bound up in our human imperfections. Thus, we find meaning also in our sorrows. In the end, we prove that we are alive by caring, or by loving, if you prefer that word.
Yes, the human condition is to struggle to care in an indifferent universe. I hate to sum it up in one sentence because to be human is to encompass so many other notions. However, this seems to be a big part of my interpretation of human existence.