Why are we living? LO30761

From: janlelie@planet.nl
Date: 11/06/03


Replying to LO30754 --

Dear At,

I feel relieved to hear that you've recovered and i'm glad to have the
opportunity to share some thoughts with you again. Although the
question deserves an answer, I cannot give one. I've always had
trouble answering "why" questions. Why is that?

The most important reason i can think of is that it belongs to the
class of undecidable questions. Every answer one chooses - and you
give some - works up to a point and then - when put to its extreme, or
after some time, or in hind sight - breaks down. We just get caught in
cycles like a tragedy of the commons, fixes that back fire etc. Your
question is one about of the many paradoxes of "this life", "this
world", "this universe", "this being there", whatever you prefer. And
- i had missed it the first few times when i read it in Watzlawick - a
paradox cannot be solved by any choice. And even the choice not to
choose cannot solve it. Altough it might be called enlightment. The
why of living is living and that's why.

Here are some further aspects.
 
For one thing, i treat living as a "given" and our conscious as a
greater gift. I must stress that i do not think that it has been given
to us literally, by a god or higher being. One might say that my
mother gave life, made me living to me, that's true, or that it is my
wife wh i'm living, which is also true, and even that my children is
the reason for my living. True, true. And of course, i'm living to
write these words.

An external being, Gods - later reduced to one - seemed a very good
answer, but it broke down. Now for many people one God is a very good
answer, but it is braking down. The choice of life is a personal, an
ethical, choice - I'm choosing living. For simple people, there are
the simple answers, provided for in the manuals called the holy books.
Some fathers assumed that their children might choose irresponsibly -
children tend to do that - out of fear, perhaps, out of care, out of
love of live - and decided to write down some reasons for living.
These were taught - and are still being thaught - to children. And
also people have been and are being taught that you cannot choose
differently. Some even think that there should be a death penalty for
people who choose differently. They forget - or don't realize - to add
that it always is and remains your choice to choose, even when one
doesn't seem to have a choice. In teaching - and it is also in a lot
of organisations, choice is reduced to the extent that there seems
only one choice, one way.

At, you call yourself reborn, many happy returns of the occasion,
because you have made an important choice: it is your choice, and
yours only. My question to you is, in this light, "why are you asking
the question "why are we living?"". Please also give an answer to the
question: "why did you give this answer to the question "why are you
asking the question "why are we living?""". Und so weiter, until you
reach the turtles.

SecondIy, i assume that one can decide any purpose whatsoever in this
universe. If one feels that there is a purpose - and everybody does -
the universe will accept that and behave according to your choice ....
a kind of success to the successful .... until there is something that
stops the success. Fixes that backfire, your solution is my problem,
the choice from hell. One reaches a kind of limbo - or - my favourite
- the most average of all possible worlds. Such is life, and it is
getting sucher and sucher every day.

A few weeks ago i was driving to a session and heard on the radio tell
somebody that, in order to survive, we have to co-operate. If we must
or want to co-operate, we have to have a purpose - keep on living will
do - and we have to assume that the behaviour of others also has a
purpose. We have to negotiate, or agree, or accomodate, or make
compliances to what common purpose or goals we have. When we assume
that others also have a common goal, it is easy to assume that the
whole world has a purpose. We might even assume - based on the
assumption that this significant other has a goal - that there is a
being out there that made this world with a goal, a purpose, a reason.
That we have a purpose, a goal, living, is easily translated into the
idea that we must have purposes outside ourselves. We hardly noted
that we made the decisions, our choices, ourselves - mostly perhaps
without knowing - and are only confronted by our own projections. Like
Don Quichote we're fighting the giants we ourselves created. Perhaps
out of love of life and with the best of intentions # i'm the Walrus,
chachacha #. The question "why are we living?" is - in my eyes - a
result of our way of living: co-operating.

I've been busy preparing a number of axioms - or paradoxes - on
learning. Learning is - i think - a kind of behaviour aimed at
changing behaviour. Life is behaving is living, for practical
purposes. Behaviour, as everything in nature, tends to develop
routines. Life is a routine. A routine can be seen as the answer to:
"what are we living?". A routine did bring life somewere but it lacked
adaptability. And even a routine has to be learned, so why not make
learning a routine. Learning to live and living to learn. Adaptation
to the adaptables. This learning brought us "how are we living?".
Organizations - from ant hills to New York City - are just
manifestations of life, living, behaving, learning. A learning
organization seems a pleonasme.

We're now entering the third stage of learning: learning to learn
learning. That's about the meaning of learning and life and so the
question "why are we learning?" comes up naturally. Remain practical:
choose life, change your routines daily - an answer a day keeps the
doctor away - and support others to make their own choices, what else
is there?.

I must say that i agree with Jung who writes - i think in his
autobiography - that our purpose, our goal, our destiny, our reason
for being there is to bring consiousness to this world. Why are we
living? To pose that question.

Have to attend to routinezed behaviour, all my love,

Jan

>Since i could not put my thoughts into script and thus paint a rich
>picture, i weighed my thoughts against each other. Eventually they
>converged into one single question:- Why are we living?

-- 

janlelie@planet.nl

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