“Hilts are unconscious of the strain to which the blades are subjected.” – Yoruba proverb
Life belongs to itself. But life also belong to us as much as we belong to it; and out of this mutual belongingness arises our desire to understand life in the grand sense-making experiment we call living. Fundamentally, living is the essence of being alive. But why we live is the interesting and difficult question many of among us often avoid asking. We know that before we knew who we were we were living, and so it makes sense to continue living without asking questions. Sadly, those who do that live miserable lives – because they will never know ‘how’ to live and what to live for.
We all have different reasons for living, but the intelligence in life is too orderly for it not to have a purpose for us. Unlike the “who came first, chicken/egg” saga, our first awareness was that life exists. And the way it unfolds directs us toward a source – the Creator. Thus, life in its natural form mimics the life of its Creator. This is to say that life minus humans is perfect. The animal will always be an animal; likewise, a plant will continue being a plant. Humans, created with free-will are the variables that sway life to the right or left. We affect life differently because we can be human or inhuman. We can do the right things or the wrong ones. We can be good or bad; industrious or lazy.
Humans are the only beings who have a sense of ‘duplicity’. Thus, our presence affects life’s equation in as many ways as there are humans. Because we can be anything that we desire to be, it logically follows that if we desire a harmonious relationship in this life then we need to understand the role that has been planned for us from the beginning; otherwise, what would we really be doing? Doing that which we were purposed to do is more like our gravity. It defines us as in our fineness, a poet would construe. For if we do not know why we live or what we live for, we cannot even say we are living – because we would have no idea about the concept of living. We would be doing something else.
So, as long as we are living we must have an understanding of why we live: this is the drive that has led many to observe our existence for years and years. However, because our interpretations of our observations are as many as possibility will permit, we have conclusively agreed that we can understand better the ‘why we live’ if we understand “what we live for”. This is because if our decisions and actions are set on what we were purposed to do, it will lead us along the path of appreciating “why we live”. We will be enlightened.
The entire essence of our lives is not to merely live, but to live right; so that we can expand the worth we perceive of ourselves and therefore enjoy living this life. To achieve this, we need to undertake those actions that will concretise the thriving of our humanity. That is why we are fundamentally seekers. And deep within that vocation is the question of whether we live to float with the tide, or if we should live swimming for a goal. These options are the choices we make in the moment of our lives; whether we are conscious about it or not. And it is these options which make the individual the most important element in this consciousness we call life.
To know what we are to live for, the wise of old looked at how life unveils itself to us. It beckons us to seek truth, enchants us with her beauty, and inspires us to be good in our acts. So, they agreed that our thinking faculty, our emotions and our actions, should be the pillars upon which we can perfectly understand what life requires of us. Our days should be centred on seeking that which is true, feeling or desiring that which is beautiful, and undertaking actions that are good for our own good and the good of all humanity. The first concept has to do with what our ideal thoughts should be composed of. The second deals with what our purest feelings should be centred on. And, finally, what should be the ideal outcome of our actions.
As many among us may have learned, three is normally referenced as the perfect number. And it is used to represent the Creator God – so, the three attributes are those of the divine. Interestingly, truth, beauty and goodness are intertwined in a manner that can only be divine. If we can undertake them properly, they will give us a resemblance of the divinity we were created with.
For starters, we seek truth because we desire a true knowledge of all things in all things, so that we are empowered to know that which is good and beautiful. Knowledge of the good is defined by truth, not our wills. Something is not good because you desire it to be so. It is good because the truth has revealed it to be so. Goodness conforms to the truth of its being good. Where goodness thrives so does beauty, because it flows from that which is true and good – our purest feelings.
Our purpose in a given situation should flow from whether what we are doing is true, and whether it is filled with goodness and will invoke our purest feelings to appreciate the beauty of the moment. If we can do this, we will be living purposefully everywhere we find ourselves.
Kodwo Brumpon inspires individuals and groups to aspire to think that which is true, positively respond to that which is beautiful, and nudges them to let goodness govern their actions. Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org