"Meaning," she said again. This time, with scorn and a sneer. "Is a luxury. One that I can't afford — and probably never will be able to. That's reality outside the gilded cage and ivory tower. Get it?".
one in which meaning isn't merely a luxury, but a necessity.
it's equally — if not more — vital that we should fill, to the very brim, our lives. With the searing sense that they have counted in human terms; with the mighty grace and quiet power of meaning.
As citizens, we reduce our civic selves to "voting" for the "candidate" who represents our most immediate, narrowest, perhaps self-destructive self-interest — the common good be damned.
And so our economies, societies, and polities; our cities and towns; our culture and principles; our imagined future and intended present begin to fray and buckle and crack. That, of course, is the timeless parable of right here, right now, the dismal, failed status quo.
It is the act of investing in what we profess to care about; in caring about what we profess to love; in not merely "expressing our values," but valuing that which is worthwhile in lasting human terms, and so arcing the trajectory of not just our own tiny lives, but those of the people around us, towards the just-glimpsed sunrise of mattering.
Meaning, then, is something like a responsibility — not merely a need.
you and I, homo sapiens, search constantly for tiny flickers of meaning in every tangle and buzz of the world around us, and it defines our experience not just as living things — but as human beings.
It isn't a first world problem — but a human challenge. Should one see it as a luxury — and McFood, mega-malls, and debt payments as the necessity — one is mistaking the cubefarm for the open road; the kiss for the feeling; the price for the point.
Not for the sake of our own evanescent self-gratification, but for the enduring obligation of fulfilling, one tiny act of furious purpose at a time, the humbling privilege of life.
If you and I, despite our iStuff and internet, our wealth and tranquility, are oppressed — not merely relegated by the failure of our institutions to McFutures, stagnation, and lost generations, but subjugated by a broken paradigm of what it means to live well, to becoming emotionally stunted, socially blunted, willing to embrace, like an old friend, the diminution of the fullness of our potential — then perhaps it's by denigrating meaning, the essence of the human experience, to the status of a sumptuous handbag or a shiny watch that we became something like our own perfect army of oppressors.
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when it comes to life, especially in the teeth of great adversity, one must be savagely pragmatic, relentlessly realistic, hard-nosed, tough-jawed. And there's little more pragmatic than, especially under the Medusa's gaze of misfortune and hardship, looking up, just for a moment, and breathing in the sky.