The Search For Meaning (and other stupid human compulsions)


I really shouldn't own photoshop... 

The search for meaning is the stupidest, most meaningless (see what I did there?) endeavor in the universe (unless you count The Amazing Race). I blame farmers.  Farms gave humans enough food that they weren't using every minute of every day trying to find some way to stave off hunger.  That meant that they had time to think. And talk to each other philosophically. And THAT, my friends, was the beginning of the search for meaning.

"My mother's hut was on fire- what does that mean?"

"My hair is falling out- what does that mean?"

"That french phrase you just said- what does that mean?"

It's all a worthless pursuit.  And yet we humans are compelled to pursue it. Doggedly. Religiously.

Is a life without any over-arching meaning really so horrible? If nothing actually means anything, are we any worse off? I look at my life (such as it is), and I can see nothing cosmically significant about it. Sure, I have an effect on the world in the arbitrary "butterfly effect" sense. My actions have ripples of consequence that, I'm sure, could be quite important somehow, but nothing that would change anything in any "meaningful" sort of way.

What kind of consequence? What's a "butterfly effect"? Well, dear reader, I guess I'm thinking of the kind of action/reaction sequence that follows small, seemingly inconsequential doings as they cause larger and larger repercussions, until some grand thing has resulted. Por ejemplo (and I want to be clear that this is totally hypothetical):

I choose to write some claptrap on this dumb website, and some poor schlub reads it. The schlub, then despondent that so much of his or her time has been wasted, grumps at their co-worker who, until that moment was having a pretty good week. That co-worker, now quite annoyed, decides to channel that annoyance into writing a particularly scathing review of Bill O'Reilly's Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder.

Take THAT, Billo! 
 Don't read this book

This review, (which, let's be honest, was more motivated by a hatred of the author's politics than his "clunky prose") is so clever in its snark, that several popular blogs reproduce it, and it goes viral. This delights Mr O'Reilly, who knows that any publicity is good publicity, but manages to positively infuriate one Ronald J. Lupinski, a middle-aged ex marine living in Florence, KY. Ronald (Ronny to his coworkers at the "Steak and Shake" off Houston Road), who loved the book, decides he's fed up with all the damned liberals thinking they're so much smarter than everybody else, and is finally ready to do something about it. So he drives his beat-up Ford Festiva across the river into Cincinnati, OH (which he has always thought was way too "uppity" a city), and plants the bomb that he believes will knock some sense into the liberal media, at the building that houses local ABC affiliate WCPO, Channel 9 ("WCPO: On Your Side").

With the bomb he leaves a note, outlining his political views, his reasoning behind the bombing, and his absolute hatred for WCPO's anchor man, Clyde Gray. Ronny's triumphant excitement as he drives away, however, is interrupted by his realization that nobody will be able to read his note if the bomb blows it up. Panicked, he grabs his cell phone and calls the station telling them that somebody should go read that note, and maybe broadcast it, before it's too late. This, of course leads to the calling of police, and the deployment of the bomb squad, who, after four hours of extremely careful work, realize that the "bomb" amounts to little more than a gym bag full of gasoline cans and a crude (and, it turns out, ineffective) timing device meant to cause a spark at exactly 11:00 PM, the moment when Clyde Gray gives his cloyingly cheerful greeting for the nightly news.

Mr. Lupinski is subsequently arrested and quickly imprisoned. His note, entitled "You Are All Hores [sic] And Deserves [sic] To Die" is published by the station, and itself goes viral. Becoming both a leftist anti-violence rallying cry and internet humor meme rivaling "all your base are belong to us," "you are all hores and deserves to die" takes off as a popular catchphrase. 

The End.

So now you can see how one innocent little post on a blog can lead to a popular internet catchphrase. Or… I mean… I suppose there are less roundabout ways that could happen, too… but… um…. What point was I trying to illustrate? The butterfly effect? Why the hell was I on about the butterfly effect? Jesus, now I have to go back and check what the hell I was trying to say in the first place… Hang on…

MEANING? I started this whole rant as a "there is no meaning" thing? How the hell did I get that off track? You see?! This is what happens when I just let my mind run free and write without paying any attention to what I'm trying to say! Just writing for my own enjoyment, with no worrying about making any sort of real statement. 


I kind of like it. 


3 thoughts on “The Search For Meaning (and other stupid human compulsions)

  1. I totally agree, that the stupidest thing someone can do, is the search for meaning. But I thank God/Evolution that it brought farming into existence. It is much more fun to sit on a beach with a sixpack of beer and do stupid things,than “using every minute of every day trying to find some way to stave off hunger”.

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