The meaning of life

July 16, 2008

Why are we here? What is the reason? What is the purpose? What are we supposed to do, now that we are alive? As I walked in the evening, few days ago, I thought about the space I’m in when I create my designs and compositions. I am a designer but I don’t have design books, magazines, snippets with ideas that I look to for inspiration. I am a web designer but I don’t look at websites much, I don’t track what other designers do, I don’t know the newer “design trends”. My workspace has only a computer and a monitor on it. When I design I open, hold the project present and wait for images to come, ideas to show up. And they do. I realized that in this space, this open, boundless space, space not restrained by “how it’s done”, the current “look”, the design guidelines – in this space I am myself. This space is me, and the images that show up are me in relationship to the subject I’m illustrating. Design is not something that I “do”, it is something that I “am”. It forces me to remain who I am, to hold this open, empty space from which shapes and pictures emerge. It is me, an expression of me in 3D reality. As I continued walking the other evening I realized that this is the purpose of my life. Design, creating, art, is the purpose of my life. Not because this is something I should do because I’m good at it, because it makes me happy – but because this is what I am. This is a direct expression of who I am, this is how being me looks like in reality. The purpose in life, I realized, is not about “doing” something – it is about being. It is about being who we are only and completely. Doing is a result of that, action is an expression of it. “Being” is the key. I watched a movie few days ago. A movie about a young man who had no clue who he was or what he wanted. He drifted through life, from day to day, doing what one “should do” according to the current idea agreed upon by society. He was miserable. All of a sudden he found his father who abandoned him when he was few days old. The father was dead but his world remained, his associates, his things, his path in life. The young man decided to follow in his father’s footsteps – now he had a purpose in life, he had a definition for himself, he had a role model. After doing that for a while he was told that the guy he thought was his father really wasn’t. It was all a trick – another guy was his father now. And so the young man decided to follow in this other guy’s footsteps now, become just like him. He had a purpose, again. It really was a silly action movie but I thought this element of it was interesting, I remember thinking: so you were like this guy, now you are like that guy, when are you going to be like you? When are you going to be yourself? I could enter the mainstream design world, start working for a design company, with luck it would be a big design company. I could start making a lot of money, make a carrier, be rich, buy a mansion and few cars. If I did all that my life would be wasted. I could drop all I’m doing and engage in a non-profit that helps people, that focuses on social action, that makes the world different, that changes it for the better. If I did that my life would be wasted. It would be wasted not because I didn’t “DO” anything worthwhile – it would be wasted because I wouldn’t “BE” who I am. I wouldn’t be me. A totally unique being with a totally unique perspective on reality, a totally unique way of expressing who I am in reality – would be lost and wasted. A new perspective, a singular way of relating, a unique expression of what it looks like to be alive would be lost and wasted if I was not myself. Only myself. This is true for everybody.

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