Neil Tambe

Let’s go.

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

If life were meaningless

If life was actually designed to be meaningless there would be no need for meaning to be made. At work, with family, or at play. There would be no “search” or pressure to make something special of this existence.

And maybe that’s freeing. 

If life were meaningless we’d be able to accept it as a gift, that’s what I would try at least. And instead of working our whole lives to show God we’ve earned it maybe we could say thank you, from the deepest parts of our hearts, and continue on.

Instead of feeling guilty about the gift, maybe we could just honor it then. Honor it by savoring it. Loving it and clutching it until it’s soft and broken in. Sharing it and cherishing it. Honoring it with graciousness and generosity.

If life were meaningless, our only obligation would be to pass ahead someday. Return to the dust and father we came from. We paid no ticket, no entry fee to get into this world. We signed no contract. By virtue of being here, we are free to roam until it’s time to go home.

If life is meaningless we haven’t failed if we don’t make it more meaningful or less meaningful than someone else’s. There would be no competition for meaning or need to be more special than the rest. I don’t think anyone, God or otherwise, asks us to demonstrate we’ve deserved this life. If we weren’t worthy of the opportunity, we simply wouldn’t be here.

I’m a theist, a believer in God, but please indulge me as I wax on this if you’re not. I think the point can be more broadly made.

What if we acted as if life were meaningless, or perhaps more specifically that there was no meaning to seek. We would not have to selfishly toil and klobber our way into finding meaning or torturing ourselves if we fell short.

If there were no meaning to seek, maybe that would liberate us from the suffering of its search. And maybe then, it would free our hearts to honor, cherish, and share life as the gift that it is.

Paradoxically, if we believed life were meaningless, maybe that opens a door for a purer, nobler, more virtuous way to live.


Please do say hello: neil.tambe[at]gmail[dot]com