Every now and again I like to distract myself from the day to day silliness of life and actually sit down in contemplation and thought. To work through, in my own mind, some of the larger questions and topics that mankind has and continues to face. I figured, what topic to start on would be better suited than probably the most important topic there is? Love.
As it happens frequently in life there are answers to questions which are so obvious, so plain, and so constantly in view that they are hidden. A camouflage cast upon them from our mind’s eye that no level of intentional deceit could ever achieve. It’s a glamour brought on by life’s distractions and the human mind’s insatiable appetite for debate and imagination. It is hard to do but stripping this away, examining yourself and the question you seek the answer to, is the best way to reveal truth to yourself. Only then will we see that telltale detail which, when followed to its origin, releases a torrent of realizations and ideas that shatter our previous misconceptions into an almost unrecognizable mess on the floor of our consciousness. These quiet truths are then the genesis of theories and practices which, once unleashed upon the masses of humanity can create a cascade of new thoughts that causes us to listen and propels our race ever forward.
I make no pretense that my own quiet truth, which broke as a worn and cracked dam in my own mind, will be remembered with the likes of Newton’s observance of an apple’s fall or of Priestley’s recognition that a mint sprig needed air to survive. What I will say is that since my own epiphany that my soul has never been more calm. That my mind has never been more at peace with my place and, indeed, with humanity’s place, in the universe. Amid the swirling cosmos, great empty places where no human eye, voice, thought, or foot will ever tread, I am confident in our design and our goal. It is something that has shaped humanity since our rise. I believe it will forever continue to shape us, to define us, and to be with us until we, as a race, cease to be.
The answer I have found is alluding to the question that man has posed to himself for generations immemorial. Why am I here? The answer is as simple as it is complex. We are here to love.
Humanity, for all it has achieved and created, can be boiled down to one common denominator. Love. Love is the genesis of every single endeavor the human race has undertaken beyond the base instincts of survival. It is the driving force behind art, behind politics, behind music. It has caused persons, cities, and civilizations to rise and fall and will continue to do so. It is love, not the ability to reason, not the pose-able thumbs nor the complex political and economic systems that separates man from animal. Our ability to feel love, to express love, and to practice love is our greatest attribute as well as the ever available tool of our downfall.
Sure, love is sometimes masked by other motives, other emotions. Ambition, greed, pride, fear. These are nothing but pebbles swept up in the strong current of love in all of its iterations flowing across the human soul. Sometimes the current will carry one further than the others, perhaps causing one emotion to become that with which a particular person is defined. The impetus to carry on and accomplish endeavors both great and small are never carried by an emotion that stands alone. Love, or the want of love, must always accompany it so as to transmute the thought into action.
Love and the wanting to be loved are two sides of the same coin. Both can carry a person just as far and that sometimes the lack of love, as much as love itself, can drive the greatest or most notorious of actions. The human soul yearns to be loved and this desire is never far from the surface. This struggle to create and be loved erupts in art, poetry, and prose. That in every building you see, every monument you pass by, every word ever written, every play ever acted, that it is love and the want of love driving the creator to pull into this world, this universe, that with which his fellows may share, comment, and love themselves. That we yearn, more than anything, to leave an impression on our fellow man and that every action we take is driven by this single desire.
We have been gifted so many things that I cannot but feel sorry for the rest of the dark, cold vastness of existence. That we, on this world, enjoy love freely. That we have the chance to inspire love on a daily basis. And could, by chance or by our own design, fall in love nearly every waking moment of every day that we draw breath and think. For if our purpose is not to be loved and to inspire love, then why would this emotion, this feeling, be paramount in all the others in existence?
It is because we are meant to be the beacon. The light in the dark where the warmth of our hearts and the kindred play of our souls light up the darkness that lays beyond our skies. That we may create and become enthralled in our own works, our own lives. That each man should feel he is loved and shall strive to be loved even more because, while our bodies may become full of water, or food, or air, our souls shall always have room for more love.
Our individual time on the world is untenable. Every person ever born, living now, or that will live will return to the darkness from which they sprang. Our time of sharing, giving, and receiving love is limited. We can leave things behind for other generations to love or marvel at. Things that will inspire and be enjoyed for generations. We can leave warm and loving memories for our families to carry on through their lives and pass that love they share for you onto their children, onto their families, and into the every advancing future. We are, despite our shortcomings, despite our jealousies, despite our evils, despite our failures, despite our vices and our mortality, the only source of love in the known universe that can express itself. This has been known since the Age of Man has dawned. Of all the plants and animals, in all the forests and the deep seas, man can alone can feel love and in its presence he can do marvelous things. Things no other beings we know of can do. Our purpose has been ever present, it is simply waiting to be recognized for what it is.
The destiny of mankind is not to conquer the stars (though I hope we do), or to find God (though I hope you may in whatever iteration gives you peace). It is not to discover life everlasting, to cure all disease, to travel through time or to shout across the great expanse, “I Am Man!”. It is simply to love and to be loved. To take that all powerful force and to create that which will inspire love for future generations in a cycle that cannot and will not be broken until the cosmos deems an ending to existence.
We are guardians. Protectors who’s most important task is to keep the beacon lit in an otherwise cold, dark, lonesome existence for as long as we can, as brightly as we can, and to proliferate it as far as we can across the vast tracts of immeasurable space and time so that, hopefully, the seed of love can find purchase elsewhere and continue on. That new beacons can be illuminated the otherwise cold and sterile dark that occupies so much of known existence.
I know in the tedium of everyday life it is hard to remember how much is truly out there. However, if you find yourself in doubt, when you find you are beset by calamities and setbacks, when the trajectory of your life seems to fall short of your imaginings, your goals, your dreams, fight to remember that you exist here, on Earth. That the chance chaos and probability has given you to breathe, to think, to feel, to see, to hear, to dance, to taste, to laugh, to cry is so astronomical that it beggars all mathematics and description. That you are here, now, and that the greatest gift you will ever have given or have ever received is the greatest in all of known universe;
That of human compassion and love.