Searching for a Reason


I have found myself thinking about “the point of things” recently. I’m not sure what brought it on.

My father in law died a couple of years ago. Throughout his life he collected things – books, jazz and folk music, stamps, even silly things like scout memorabilia. When he died the family shared out some of the things he collected, but sold the majority of it. I get it – during his life he enjoyed the things he collected – he listened to each album that arrived through the post, and filed stamps from all over the world carefully away in orderly volumes. I can’t help feeling that it all came to nothing though.

I’m not sure, but I think the pattern of thought that questions the reason for collecting things – be that knowledge, or experiences, or material things – borders on nihilism. If life is meaningless, what is the point of trying? What is the point of carrying on?

A few days ago I made an offhand remark about blogging to a fellow blogger – that I sometimes wonder about the value of any of these words we publish. Who will really bother to look back over any of it and find any worth? Of course, this particular friend immediately rallied, and started re-building the wall around me that most of us have – the wall that allows us to just carry on without surrendering to futility.

It occurred to me today that the close friendships I have forged while sharing words with the internet have become my reason for continuing with this idiocy. They are the reason I keep landing each foot in front of the other, typing in the dead of night, and hitting the publish button. It sort of makes sense, looking around me. I’m not a material person – I never have been. I’m sitting in the junk room at home writing this, surrounded by detritus dumped by the rest of the household. I’m using an eight year old Windows PC, and have a middle-of-the-road Android phone in my pocket. I don’t drive a car – I cycle everywhere. The only jewellery I own are two rings – my wedding ring, and an engagement ring bought from a gift shop for a few pence.

While watching the latest episode of the rather wonderful “Halt and Catch Fire” late last night, one of the characters stopped another mid-conversation while they worried about the future, and explained that we are here – we are in the future right now. We should enjoy the now a little more, and question what might happen next a little less. I think he may have been on to something.


6 thoughts on “Searching for a Reason

  1. Fascinating insights, my friend. You’re headed down a path of asking “why?” and “so what?” does all this mean. I think it’s a bigger spiritual argument because everything here is so temporal. If there’s no meaning past the here and now, it pretty much gives everyone freedom to do as they please because it won’t matter. But what if it does? I’m not ignoring good deeds and kindness. But those qualities are limited in value if this is it. Just saying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to admit that whenever any discussion veers towards spirituality, I kind of switch off. I think perhaps the scary thing for people of faith is that research has never found any evidence at all of the existence of any sort of creator, or server of justice – which leads me to think that it was all made up to keep the uneducated in check. You might perhaps point towards the Bible as so many others have – but it’s just a book – one of many – that all tell different stories, and are believed by different groups who have historically fought each other (and continue to do so) for their beliefs.

      Maybe I need to write a series of posts about just how contrary and messed up the world appears to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww I love your willingness to expose your soft – under belly . For me that is the true connection . I would rather be a dog exposing my ungroomed , mangled fur than be fresh from the groomer .
    Those we love & care for us want the REAL us . That is the beauty & the meaning to life .
    To meet someone where they are , not where they THINK you want them to be .
    Keep doing you – and the right people will GET you .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My mind is always quite finely balanced between Nihilism and… something else. I choose to do something constructive rather than nothing. Sometimes making that choice is a struggle.

    You choose to write your blog. I suspect doing so has value to you and it has some value to those who read it. In some sense the universe is slightly improved.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this post the other day, but am finally getting back to comment. I just finished reading “The Power of Meaning”by Emily Esfahani Smith. To condense the part that resonated after reading your post is that throughout time we have asked “what is the meaning of life” and the book delves into how we want to know that we mattered…that we existed…that we were heard.

    Perhaps that is why we keep writing the words.

    Liked by 1 person

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