The Meaning of Life?

When Jean-Luc Picard is faced with his mediocre new life after travelling back in time to fix a “mistake” he made when he was a young man, we all understood the significance of his epiphany. It is better to live a passionate life full of experiences, mistakes and opportunities than it is to play it safe and end up in an uninspiring life of drudgery.

In this particular Star Trek episode, Q sends Jean-Luc back to address a regret. Jean-Luc decides not to battle a Nausicaan this time. This saves Jean-Luc embarrassment and gives him a new lease on life. All of this is occurring during open heart surgery to replace the artificial heart that was required because of the initial fight with the Nausicaan. What Jean-Luc discovers is that his new life, as a low level technician, does not inspire him and he decides that he would rather have a meaningful, albeit shorter, life than a safer boring one.

Even though we understand this concept, our current preoccupation with “safety” at all costs is in direct conflict with this entire notion. How many people do you know who take any risks at all?  The mantra, “Better Safe than Sorry” is unquestioned, as an almost religious belief, which begs the question, Why?

Over several centuries, we have gone from believing that everything is in the hands of a supernatural being to worshipping science as the be-all and end-all answer to every conceivable question. There is a comfort in knowing that facts can be determined, numbers can be added and used to prove points. It is defensible to state knowledge and support arguments, but is that all that there is?

We all need something to be passionate about. That is how we were designed. A quick look around will reveal that people stand up against injustices, fund raise for medical research and put their energy into things that are important to them. Problem is, without recognizing that this is our very nature, many of us take the latest snippet of news, research or gossip and become passionate about that. This causes our passions to be paper thin and as changing as the wind.

Have you noticed the current obsession with kale and avocado? If you missed the initial scientific announcement that these are the new “super foods” you must have at least noticed that you can get avocado at almost all of the fast food places now. It is a topping on burgers, an ingredient in salads and included in beverages—yes, beverages.

We have internalized this notion that doing all that we can to avoid death, or prolong life gives our lives meaning. But does it? We understood what Jean-Luc felt because a life without passion and purpose is, not only depressing, but it misses the point. Could it be possible that the purpose of our lives is to find joy and live in passion?

Jean-Luc had the opportunity to re-live that part of his life and he went back and got into the fight again. For us mere mortals that have to live linearly I guess we should just follow our passions more and do those things that bring us joy, but more on that later.

6 thoughts on “The Meaning of Life?

  1. Ditto….and about the avacado, most people miss the point that it should be eaten alone (or in a salad) instead of as a condiment on charred cow smothered in cheese.

    I love this post. I think people become passionate on a whim, as you mentioned, because they feel a connection to something, but they just can’t figure it out. People don’t do enough soul-searching, so they latch on to whatever appears in front of them. I am guilty of this myself and have to go under the radar for a few days to figure out WHY I’m connected to the things that strike a chord with me.


    1. It is a topic close to my heart and I’m struggling with writing about what I am trying to say, so I appreciate your feedback.

      We all need something to be passionate about. I need to find a larger, more meaningful focus than the minutiae.

      Obviously, still struggling with how to say this….


  2. I wasn’t trying to be critical 🙂 I was just saying that I find myself doing the things you mentioned in your post. It’s close to my heart, too, and I can’t really move on to any other projects until I’ve fulfilled my purpose on this. I’m actually writing a book about it, which wasn’t my original plan. I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but I can’t focus until this is out of my mind and in a book so i can hopefully help others avoid the devastation I endured…


    1. I didn’t take your comment as critical. It is one of the posts that I wrote that got very little feedback (I write about very different things).

      Say more about the devastation (or am I too nosey?)


      1. No, not at all….well, the short story is that after visiting several counselors, no one seems prepared to deal with victims of Narcissistic abuse. I don’t like being around other people very much because I don’t have any more patience, I don’t like background noises, and I’ve started working from home so I don’t have to deal with politics at the work place. Basically, I get overwhelmed very easily. I’m hypersensitive, though I’m usually pretty good at hiding it. In addition, I’m having dire financial challenges based on the fact that he never helped out with any of the family expenses while we were together…plus, I was on my own for a year before getting re-married, so I accrued some debt. My body is messed up from the chronic stress and I suffer from adrenal fatigue, no metabolism, and the years of high levels of cortisol have left me with a bit of a pudge around the middle. But, probably the worst part is, he won’t leave me the h*ll alone, even though I’ve remarried. i wish I could go No Contact, but we have a son together. It’s like living in purgatory all the time….BUT, I’m learning various ways of self-healing, including the mind and body. I’m also working on a book and I hope that will help my recovery process…


      2. I still suffer some of the run off from my narcissist and my children are between18 and 26. I deal with it by restricting my contact to matters about the children. I created a special folder on my email and all of this emails go directly into that. I only open it when I know that I have resilience to deal with him.

        For instance, I do not open it in the evening because there is a chance that I will not calm down before bed and then I’ll lose my rest.

        I do not speak to him on the phone and I will simply say, “send me an email” and hang up.

        You do not have to discuss parenting issues with him. He will do whatever he wants anyway. Your son can learn that the rules may be different between his parents. Children get that the same way that they learn that the acceptable behaviour at home, at grandma’s and at school is different.

        All you need to discuss is when you have your son and when he has him. Child support –if applicable–can be done through lawyers and is worth the money because living in contact with an abusive person is very expensive to your health, your happiness and your well being.

        Stop saying mean things to yourself. Treat yourself, in everything you say, the way that you would treat a dear friend, someone you love — because that is who you are.

        Take care of yourself. By this I mean do things that you enjoy. Eat well, get out into the fresh air and get enough rest. Nature and sunshine do wonders for how you feel.

        Mind/body stuff is very powerful. Take time as often as possible to check in with yourself and honour what sensations are in your body. Simply by paying attention to these messages, you will become aware of what you need and that will definitely help with the healing. Good luck.


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