The Purpose Of Life - Poem by Bryan Norton
The Purpose of Life is to Care-for-Life.
Caring-for-Life means to care for and about:
To Care-for-Life is to love life.
Our Ultimate Life Goal is to achieve a Fullness of Life.
A Fullness of Life is a complete and perfect state of living in which a person is exalted in the totality of his knowledge and his capacity for loving and affecting changes in others, for their betterment, and for being loved by them in return.
A Fullness of Life is possible only by a Fullness of Caring.
Caring-for-Life is two-fold:
1. The Realization of Life.
2. The Perpetuation of Life.
The Realization of Life is concerned with Self-fulfillment and Self-gratification.
1. Self-fulfillment: The process of becoming what we were created to be.
2. Self-gratification: The process of stimulating our senses and intellect to capacity.
The Realization of Life is concern for the self.The forms of the Realization of Life are just as varied as the number of people in the world, according to the uniqueness of each person.
The Perpetuation of Life is a relationship between a man and a woman which (1) begins with the first indications of mutual tenderness and affection, (2) is formalized through marriage, (3) is viewed as an everlasting union grounded in mutual love and commitment, (4) recognizes the uniqueness of the male and female union as the fullest expression of romantic and sexual experience in humans, and (5) may produce children.
Perpetuation of Life values are eternal values.These values recognize the immortality of the soul and the need to nourish our spiritual self.No individual is meant to be alone.The family was created that by loving one's own family members with a love that exceeds even the love of the self, we may experience unbridled joy, even as we do at the birth of a child.
Each Caring-for-Life Action is preceded by a Caring-for-Life Conception.Caring-for-Life Conceptions are those thoughts and ideas that we have about caring for ourselves, for others, and for all living things.Even when we act impulsively, our actions are based on a Caring-for-Life Conception about someone or something in need.A well-developed sense of Caring-for-Life reflects our own beliefs about the value of life and of caring for others in times of need.
Daily, we think about everything that we need or would like to accomplish in the course of that day. However, we cannot plan to be happy, as if happiness was an item on a check list. Rather, we think about the things that we need to do that day to make our lives sustainable and fulfilling. In the course of a day, as we work on our tasks and goals, which hopefully include helping others, we feel a certain sense of happiness that is both physically and emotionally refreshing.This sense of happiness is not something that we directly seek but is rather a side effect of our caring-for-life conceptions coming true. Thus we see that our greatest purpose in life is to love and serve each other, and especially those with the greatest of needs, that they may be helped thereby, and that we might have joy in return.
Just as there are Caring-for-Life Conceptions that precede our caring-for-life behaviors, so also there are Life-Denying Conceptions that precede our life-denying behaviors.Life-Denying Conceptions are the thoughts and ideas that we have about harming ourselves and harming others.Such thoughts can never bring us happiness because our motivation is not to care, but to harm.Thus we see that somebody who dwells on hurting others is never truly happy.
Happiness and the Purpose of Life:
Happiness is the end to which all people should know and embrace.Fundamental to a fullness of life is a fullness of joy.Nevertheless, the process of caring may leave an individual equally prone to joy and grief.
Because life is meant to be joyful, some people with prolonged periods of unhappiness may feel that their lives are inconsistent with life's purpose.This attitude is incorrect.
Because people are both agents and subjects, with limited knowledge and abilities, free to act and to be acted upon, we cannot always choose our desired outcomes.The important thing is that we never stop caring, because when we do we deny ourselves the possibility of ever being happy.Furthermore, we deny others the benefits of our compassionate love and service.
Love and Service:
Service is the vehicle by which our Caring-for-Life Conceptions are implemented.It has been said that we love the ones we serve.While true, this observation misses the point: We serve to love.If our primary life goal is to achieve a Fullness of Life, then we must love to serve, and we must learn to love by serving! By knowing that people are meant to be happy, and that happiness is rooted in love, we are thereby motivated to serve each other, according to our own unique abilities and gifts.
Virtue and the Purpose of Life:
You might say that there are two kinds of people:
1. Those who always choose immediate gratification.
2. Those who always try to do what is right.
Choosing immediate gratification requires no consideration of what is right and the resulting consequences of one's actions.
To the contrary, the one who always tries to do what is right is more concerned with living a virtuous live.This is the morally-conscious person.
Doing what is right may occasionally require some degree of sacrifice. Ultimately, however, doing what is right always brings the greatest amount of good to the greatest number of people.
The morally-conscious person is bound by his personal code of ethics to always be honest and fair with others, to treat others with the same consideration that he affords himself, and to always try to do and to choose what is right.
There are many rewards to doing what is right.One of them is the ability to better assess people and situations and the cause and effect of things, to better predict future events, and to know how to deal with them when problems arise.
In contrast, the constant seeker of pleasure never demonstrates any personal growth, even throughout a person's lifetime.
Beauty and the Purpose of Life:
According to Merriam-Webster, beauty is "the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit."Indeed, without the quality of beauty, life would be meaningless.
The word "sensual" refers to the ways of sexual attraction while the word "sensuous" refers to everything else that appeals to the senses.The word "beauty" refers to both.Consequently, mentally healthy and happy people look for beauty in all aspects of life.
When you strip away the contributions that people have made to the earth, you are left with the original concept of beauty, which is the earth itself and all things that lie therein.Beauty is naturally associated with the goodness of things, and by seeking after the goodness in things, we seek after a more exalted way to live and to treat each other.More than just a concept, beauty is a way of living and showing our love for others, and of living a rewarding way of life.
Some people prefer ugliness over beauty.This is because ugliness and beauty reflect the way that we feel inside.For example, the music that we choose to listen to reflects the way that we feel.Beautiful music is the harmony of the body and the spirit; the sweeter song of life. Like courtesy and politeness, beauty is an attribute of the good.
Realization of Life vs. Perpetuation of Life:
When interests pertaining to the Realization of Life and the Perpetuation of Life appear to be in conflict, we should consider the benefits of both.
Realization of Life Values:
1. Benefits accrue to the self.
2. Benefit duration is uncertain.
3. Benefits may be real or illusory.
4. Benefits are insatiable.(The more we receive, the more we want.)
5. Overindulgence threatens personal and societal decadence and extinction.
Perpetuation of Life Values:
1. Benefits are mutual within the context of a Caring-for-Life relationship. (Unselfish by nature.)
2. Benefits are without duration. (timeless)
3. Benefits accrue by giving our love away.(Our love is returned to us.)
4. Benefits are satiable.(Total love brings total fulfillment.)
5. Society is rewarded and replenished.
As both the Realization of Life and the Perpetuation of Life represent Caring-for-Life values, we do not say that one type is superior.Rather, we say that Perpetuation of Life values must be upheld by necessity, and the fundamental unit of society, the family, should be honored, revered, and protected.
Every human life is lived differently.We were all born to different purposes.These purposes exist to teach us things that we never before considered, things that apply to us individually, and sometimes collectively.
Perhaps most beneficial is the knowledge that love is greater than happiness and charity is greater than both.Eventually, our happiness will match our charity in wonderful ways of thinking and feeling about ourselves and all others.
Finally, we must learn not to be offended by other's gifts, for everybody is the most passionate about something.
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