The epitome of intelligence, high-powered energy, and grace, Blaise McCarthy is an icon in the world of television news, asking the tough questions and taking on the emotionally charged issues of world affairs and politics with courage and insight. A single mother, she manages her well-ordered career meticulously, always prepared on the air or interviewing world-renowned figures and heads of state.
To her audience, Blaise seems to have it all. But privately, and off the set, there is another untold story she has kept hidden for years. Handsome, accomplished, thirty-two-year-old Simon Ward, with strong opinions on every topic, questions how mother and daughter view themselves and each other. If you would like to live your perfect life, the first thing you must do is give up your pursuit of perfection.
How's that for double talk? The main challenge with perfection is that perfection almost always lies just out of reach, sort of the impossible dream that can't be had. Indeed, perfection cannot be had, at least not how you might typically think about it; however, it can be experienced.
In order to get to the heart of this idea, you need to distinguish between three key elements: the outer world, your inner experience and where you place your focus. If you're looking for perfection in the outer world, then you may be out of luck. The outer world just isn't designed for perfection -- perhaps you have noticed. Things out here tend to break, decay over time, or simply become outdated.
Even the Rock of Gibraltar is in a slow state of decay or change. Everything in the outer world is in a constant state of change -- nothing, as in nothing , is ever stable or unchanging. Even the best ideas will be supplanted sooner or later, so striving to make the outer world conform to some standard of perfection will surely be doomed.
Even if you can make something in the outer world appear to be perfect today, that perfection will be short lived, as the natural process of change continues to take place. Nature is perfect if you choose to experience it that way, but it can also be oh-so-imperfect if you focus on the outer "flaws. If you are one who appreciates the "natural order" of things, then you will celebrate that state of dynamic change, which can be its own form of perfection. Sunsets start in one hue, change many times over their short-lived time, and in that state of constant change, sunsets are truly "perfect.
If you can watch a sunset and experience the perfection in its constant state of change, might you be able to do the same thing with your experience of life? If you're still tracking with me, you are probably aware of the paradox -- nothing is perfect in the outer world, and yet much can be experienced as perfect. It all depends on your attitude, on how you choose to view what is happening around you. The same applies to how you experience your inner life.
Learning to discover the good in what is present opens the door to the experience of perfect. Even when we introspect on who we are, we are thinking about who we are in relation to other people. You are who you are because I tell you who you are. It may make you feel a sense of wellbeing when I, or someone else, tells you your life is meaningful.
But that is not sufficient to truly make your life meaningful. Meaning is an inner value judgement, much as status is an external one. That is to say I can confer status on you but not meaning. Only you can confer meaning upon yourself. Only the meaning you find in your life matters, not the meaning someone else sees for you. Well here are some obvious candidates:. Remember these confer status not meaning. I would wager that quite a few on that last list constitute what is considered ideal today.
We could say that the zeitgeist today suggests being an androgynous, vegan, conscientious abstainer from political activity or traditional religion, non sexist, non racist, non fascist, spiritually enlightened, Tantric practitioner, pseudo easterner, non materialist of moderate habits who consciously works at saving the planet whilst still looking good in the process- may not be too far from the mark.
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I come back to the point; meaning is an experience not a badge. Looking like you are leading a meaningful life is not the same as actually living one. Giegerich suggests that the very search for meaning is of necessity doomed to failure. That to search for meaning is not to find meaning. The very essence of modernity is meaninglessness. A meaninglessness that is expressed in the search for and aspiration to meaning. I suspect that Giegerich is onto something he usually is. But one must look not only at what he is saying but what he is not saying.
What is the meaning of meaninglessness? Where does the search for meaning lead us to if not meaning itself?
One worth considering in the personal sense. It is the kind of question that has the potential to lead you away from ignorance and unconsciousness into a more conscious way of being.
You have based your life on certain ideals whether or not you are consciousness of this. Becoming conscious of these ideals offers liberation from the bondage of unconscious compulsion.
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Stephen Farah. Hello Stephen, Someone said we generally ask about meaning when we are unhappy or feeling disconnected. Perhaps it is the fact that we are in some way unhappy or disconnected that prompts the question. Frankl is a case in point. So now we may even compare meaning or compete on significance.
At some point it becomes almost impossible to ignore the internal value system. Thank you for your thoughts. Your email address will not be published. This is a guest post by Ryan Parker. I was recently privileged enough to spend two weeks on holiday Frequently in life and in the pursuit of meaning we find ourselves frustrated. Despite the best of intentions and The issue of science versus spirituality is a dilemma which many people around the world have been grappling with
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