Meaning & Meaninglessness

I’m adding Max Richter’s The Blue Notebooks here not because the thoughts pertain to the music, but simply because there is no reason why any thought or moment shouldn’t have a soundtrack. The Blue Notebooks works for many thoughts and moments. Richter said once it was about whatever war was happening back then when it was composed. It was the invasion of Afghanistan if memory serves. I didn’t hear it until long after that so the connection is lost on me, and I’ll assign my own associations. Why not?

I was thinking this morning about meaning, or more so about our human tendency to assign meaning to everything. To put everything in an order or phylum. To classify things and give them some significance or another within our own understanding of the world around us. At the end of the day though I believe what we’re really trying to do is to make every little thing about ourselves and that’s futile and sad. The entire Universe is pretty much indifferent to our existence in it and all these things we see and think about would be very much the same were we never to lay our eyes upon them. These meanings we assign to things are little more than our own personal fictions. It’s all micro-mythologies and don’t even fully exist to those who are standing next to us, loved ones maybe, looking at the same thing.

Personal fictions.


You may or may not consider the meaninglessness a bleak outlook. Either way, it’s on you. You may see it as a great liberation. What is it The Crocodiles say? Freedom from self? “For it is in self-forgetting that one finds.” Yes, all that stuff.

It’s amazing how much more peaceful most days are, no matter how chaotic or even violent, when we stop looking for meaning and sense in every little thing. There are billions of people on this little rock. Chaos and meaninglessness are all that really make sense, in that light anyway.

So what does it mean to me when you say you had this moment when you felt your life had no meaning? I know what you’re saying and I do feel your anguish, but at the same time there is more. You say you felt your life had no meaning? It would be easy to say, how wonderful for you that you’ve come to that conclusion. Don’t you feel peaceful now? Doesn’t it feel good to stop struggling? Isn’t it freeing to know that it’s not all about you?

Or maybe you don’t get what I’m saying. I’ll just offer you the music.

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