What gives meaning?


To the Editor:

To better expound upon the point I was attempting to make in my last letter (Jan. 18, “Lack of rehabilitation due to meaningless alternatives”), where I was positing the purpose for lack of drug rehabilitation due to the loss of meaning in life, let’s consider the following:

The issue as I see it is our autonomy as a nation — “autonomy,” deriving from two Greek words, “auto,” self, and “nomos,” law: self-made law. Our nation (whether you agree with it or not) was founded on the principles that we were “created beings” who were endowed with certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which no government or other human being has the authority to hinder or deprive you of.

The whole reason life had meaning to our nation’s founders was that we, as humans, had intrinsic worth as individuals because we were created for God’s purpose in whatever capacity or avenue he saw fit. That is the entire bedrock of Western political science that led to the founding of our nation. So as an individual, there were certain things that were considered wasteful to that life that was given to you, even if it did not affect anyone else. Being a drunkard or living a lethargic lifestyle was considered a waste of that life.

One has to be careful, though, with addressing “usefulness,” because it is a slippery slope to utilitarianism, which boils down to your worth being how much you “contribute” to society; that’s not what they thought. The Founders thought that, for your sake, to work and to provide for yourself and others is crucial to human fulfillment and health. In our time, though, we have bid adieu to the Creator, while still trying to hold fast to the value we once obtained from belief in him.

So what I am suggesting is the replacement of our current reasoning for the drug programs from the self-defining jargon they suggest now, which is how people find themselves in these predicaments, to the overarching purpose that we once held as a society, that we are made in the image of our Creator to fulfill his purpose in our lives.

This is not without reasoning either. To suggest to believe in something even if we “know” it to be false is no solution. I’m saying that belief in the divine is no “pie in the sky,” no dream, but something that actually reflects reality as we know it to truly be. Whether it be biology, physics, mathematics, philosophy, or logic, to name just a few, the evidence for God, the evidence of that “something more” we all long for, can be found.

“So you’re saying we should believe in some Creator to trick ourselves into a better lifestyle?” No. The trick is that we have fooled ourselves as a nation by doing that which you claim was a farce. If you hold to an evolutionary framework as your guide to life, isn’t that what you are doing anyway? Life is meaningless; we have to create it for ourselves? To trick ourselves into meaning when we know deep down there is none? I’ll say it again, how can we even begin to suggest improving one’s life when there is no measurement of progress? No guide for standard — just that which you make.

It is unlivable. The only way out of evolution is to lie to yourselves that there is purpose or meaning. To trick yourselves so you can sleep at night. If that is the truth. I believe it not to be.

Myles Goodwin
West Tisbury