What if life were in fact empty and meaningless beyond any meaning you gave it? Chances are the meaning you give it is largely someone else’s; a religion or philosophy or pithy one-liner some bloke down the pub once told you; anything that minimises you thinking for yourself or living in the inherent ambiguity of this glorious mystery we reduce to ‘Life.’ You may have accepted what your parent’s told you as they were awfully nice people or, they were not so cool, and you have chosen a belief system as far from your parent’s as possible. Or a bit of both which can get confusing. Perhaps you really like the idea that all this infinite complexity and majesty is just some random event and that the miracle of your awareness of it requires no explanation. This is fortunate because the same guys that tell you it’s all just Big Bangs and atoms colliding by chance have no explanation how this body and brain, for to the scientist of old you are just a body and brain, experiences this remarkable (no)thing called consciousness. Do you mind? If such a thing as ‘should’ existed for me I would suggest you should do. This is the most glorious miracle and right now there’s approaching 7 billion collections of 75 trillion cells somehow communicating in perfect effortless harmony experiencing the inexplicable marvel of this being aware, this sense of I am, this invisible mystery that nothing in neuroscience, biology, physics or consciousness studies of any sort can adequately explain. How are you? That is, how are, an apparently physical being, you, a clearly non-physical experience? Nobody knows. In fact nobody even offers a suggestion, as distinct from reductive escape, much of the time for it is truly a hard problem.
I invite you to ponder this when people ask the ubiquitous question ‘ how are you?’. You could just respond ‘fine’ or ‘not bad’ and, in failing to use your ever present capacity to give the world meaning and define yourself, act indistinct from a rudimentary robot.
Or perhaps, just maybe, you have learnt to be secure amidst the inherent insecurity of life; whilst happy to try on hand me down belief systems and ideas you remain conscious in the process of finding and ever- refining what life is for you. You can use the scientific lens, love a bit of logic yet are capable too of full feeling and expressing, tapping into that mysterious wisdom of intuition. Maybe you have even made peace that whilst in language ‘this’ cannot be ‘that’, reality is clearly one huge pavlova of paradox. Just maybe you are aware that in each moment, you are a co-creative being, a conscious force and one which is defining and creating itself and its world moment after moment.
If this is so then you will not answer ‘fine’ or ‘not bad’. Has there ever been greater mass profanity?! 14.5 billion years of evolution (allegedly) and that’s all we offer! How about ‘I am alive’ or ‘brilliant’ or ‘good’ or even ‘caught up in despair right now actually but no doubt it will pass, thanks for asking old chap.’ If you cannot yet bring joy to the encounter then at least start with truth. The naked truth is better than dressed-up lies someone said. May it be true for ever more people.
Consider the possibility that you are never merely defining reality but rather perpetually entwined in a moment to moment cocreative dance. So, how are you now?