Survival And Meaning

(Dan Pedersen)

Toluse Francis

We spend a lot of our time maintaining—eating, hydrating, cleaning, sleeping, exercising, repairing, working—it’s all maintenance.

Society is maintained on a daily basis too. The electrical grid is constantly being repaired, water is constantly being sanitized, waste is disposed of, new food is grown, children go to school to replace retirees, the list goes on.

We maintain so we can survive.

But why do we survive in the first place?

Part of it is because we fear death. And part of it is biological—our bodies are in a constant state of maintenance and repair, periodically compelling us to eat, drink sleep, procreate, etc. Survival is inherent in nature—it’s not entirely a conscious choice. We just do it. As do other living organisms.

Is survival important, or does it just seem import? Or are we supposed to transcend the apparent importance of survival—to see beyond it?

If life is nothing more than the result of random events, we’re still left with unanswerable questions: How is it possible that there was once nothing and then something (the thing which started the random process, i.e., Big Bang, God, etc.)? If the thing which started the random process always existed, how is that possible? And how could either of those possibilities be meaningless?

If we conclude that survival is meaningless or that it’s not as important as we think it is, how do we convince people to be compassionate? How do we convince ourselves to be compassionate?

Here’s what we know for sure:

We exist (“I think therefore I am”).

Survival through regular maintenance is an inherent part of our current existence.

And that survival for the mere sake of survival isn’t enough.

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