The Purpose Of Life (Part One) - 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.One may substitute the word "Loving" for the term "Caring-for-Life."
Our Ultimate Life Goal is to achieve a Fullness of Life.
A Fullness of Life is a complete and perfect state of life, love, and happiness in which a person is exalted in his or her own knowledge and capacity for loving and affecting changes in others, for their betterment, and for being loved by them in return.
A Fullness of Life is achievable only through a Fullness of Caring.
Caring-for-Life is two-fold:
1. The Realization of Life.
2. The Perpetuation of Life.
Realization of Life Values:
The Realization of Life is concerned with Self-fulfillment and Self-gratification.
1. Self-fulfillment: The process of becoming what we want or were created to be (or do.)
2. Self-gratification: The process of stimulating or maximizing our senses and intellect to capacity.
Ultimately, 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.
Perpetuation of Life Values:
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, which is the greatest source of our joy and happiness in both time and eternity.No individual is meant to be alone.The family was created that by loving one's own family members, and by loving them with a love that exceeds even the love of the self, we may experience unbounded 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 life.Even when we act impulsively, our actions are based on a Caring-for-Life Conception about someone in need.A well-developed sense of Caring-for-Life is reflected in our own beliefs about the value of life and our own experiences in caring for life under a variety of circumstances.
When our Caring-for-Life Conceptions are realized, we feel happy.When they are denied, we feel sad. And happiness, though always desirable, is not always obtainable.
Daily, we think about all the things that we need to accomplish.
However, nobody can actually make a plan to be happy, as if happiness was an item on a check list.Rather, we think about what we need to do to show our love for others (and for ourselves.)In this way, happiness may occur as a side effect of our Caring-for-Life Conceptions coming true.
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 those 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 for life, but to cause harm.
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 persons are both agents and subjects, with limited knowledge and abilities, free to act and to be acted upon, we are often unable to affect our desired outcomes.The important thing is that we never stop caring, because when we stop caring we deny ourselves any possibility of ever being happy.Furthermore, we deny others the benefit of our love and service.
Service and Love:
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 goal is to achieve a Fullness of Life, we must love to serve, and we must love by serving.By knowing that people are meant to be happy, and that happiness is rooted in love, we are thereby motivated to give it.
Virtue and the Purpose of Life:
You might say that there are two kinds of people:
1. Those who seek immediate gratification.
2. Those who seek to do what is right in every situation.
Seeking immediate gratification does not require much critical thinking, but is merely a natural response to one's environment.It is easy to see why many people choose this path.The reward for doing so is instantaneous.This way of thinking is evident in the natural man.
To the contrary, the one who always seeks to do what is right is more concerned with living a virtuous life.This is the morally-conscious person.But doing what is right may result in great personal sacrifice and/or loss of valued relationships.Furthermore, doing what is right may not win you the praise and gratitude of others.The morally-conscious person may live a lonely and misunderstood life.
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 choose the right because he knows that by doing so, the greatest amount of good may occur.However, this greater good may take many years to come to pass.
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 in the present.
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 to the other.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.
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