We are creatures of meaning. We are totally different from the beasts of the land and the birds of the air, the fish of the seas and the insects that crawl on the ground. We are, in fact, different from other mammals for one major thing—you and I are creatures of meaning.
The interesting thing about these other creatures is that they have wired inside of them some kind of code or instructions. In fact, one could easily say that these animals, insects and fishes follow that code or those instructions to the latter. The same cannot be said of human beings who are supposed to be the creatures of meaning.
Irvin Raphael McManus has said in one of his wonderful books, The Final Arrow; Saving Nothing For the Next Life:
For the human, it is different though. There is an element of choice. Our meaning is not necessarily hard-coded in us like the computer firmware. It is not an instruction like it is in the ants and wildebeests. In the human, meaning is a function of the spirit as well as conscious choice.
This means that the human must want to do this consciously. That’s why we need to inject meaning into our activities. If not, we will always have the option of living our lives as if the most important thing on the earth is our pleasure and comfort. These are important but they are not the meaning of life.
“Our meaning is not necessarily hard-coded in us like the computer firmware. It is not an instruction like it is in the ants and wildebeests. In the human, meaning is a function of the spirit as well as conscious choice.”— Lawrence Namale
In the previous article, we saw that to inject meaning into our lives, we need to consider a rebirth. Let us look at another thing that we can do to inject meaning into our lives.
Again, the responsibility of a human is different from that of an animal or a fish or an insect. For the other creatures, responsibility is dictated by the need for survival and it is also hard-wired in them. That’s why the wildebeests migrate and the ant stores up food for the summer. They don’t do this because they are responsible; they do this because it is in their nature.
Responsibility is a conscious thing. For the human, one of the better ways of injecting meaning into our lives is finding some form of responsibility. I tell you, the greatest stress on the earth is that which comes because there is no responsibility. Lack of responsibility directly creates a life of no meaning.
We have already seen how difficult it is to lead of meaningless life. That’s why when people are through with school in Africa, they will be looking for just about any kind of work to do. It makes no difference if the work they will end up doing is what they were trained to do. That nature of responsibility is inherent inside of us.
We have a silent-loud cry inside of our hearts for meaning. That’s why even when the fridge is full of food, the phone of data, the car of fuel and the bank account of money, as long as there is no responsibility, we will still feel that tinge of meaninglessness. Of course, we can use these filled up things to cover the meaningless life but it doesn’t take it away completely, until responsibility sets in.
even when the fridge is full of food, the phone of data, the car of fuel and the bank account of money, as long as there is no responsibility, we will still feel that tinge of meaninglessness— Lawrence Namale
When bored, we can go to the fridge and pick a snack
We can go to our phones and scroll through reels, games and porn all-day
We can take a journey in our vehicles to have an ‘adventure’
We can activate the spending mode and withdraw our money and have a good time.
There are very few human beings who wouldn’t fancy the above. If anything, most human beings are looking for this kind of lifestyle. However, it is only temporary what it does in dealing with a life that lacks meaning.
Once someone has had a rebirth and they have injected purpose into their existence, that alone is not enough. They will have to roll up their sleeves and work. They will have to be responsible. Responsibility immediately injects meaning into your life.
You can be depressed all you want, just like I was a few minutes ago. Immediately I started writing this piece, the depression lifted. I stopped feeling sorry about myself and started feeling purposeful. In short, activity that helps you to be authentic with your meaning in life is much welcome. It’s an antidote.
The only problem we have with taking action and being responsible is the need we have to live a transactional life. I mean that we only want to be responsible to the degree that we shall be paid for that responsibility at the end of the month. If not, we call ourselves “Jobless” and walk around feeling less of a human being.
There are different kinds of activities that you can engage in daily that will inject a level of responsibility:
Be responsible daily for your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and academic growth even as they all relate to your purpose. I guarantee you that you will not be paid by anybody in cash for this kind of responsibility. However, you will immediately inject a serious dose of meaning into your life. You need this to be effective in other areas.
That starts from your bed. If you will take responsibility for the presentation of your immediate environment, you will be shocked how far it goes to communicate meaning to your psyche.
When we take responsibility in our relationships to nurture them and grow them, it creates a sense of meaning in those relationships that are part of life.
We focus on this the most at the expense of other areas. But you have seen how a job injects some semblance of meaning into your life. Use this profession to balance paying your bills and gravitating toward your purpose.
For those who do not have jobs, there would be ideas that would be coming your way daily. If you learnt to take responsibility for those ideas, sooner or later, your life has meaning injected into it.
We are all passionate about something greater than ourselves. That is perhaps the most straightforward way of injecting meaning into our lives. It is to take responsibility for what we are passionate about. It could be children, women, the environment, labour, education and so on. The good thing about causes is that you do not need a degree to push them. You just need a heart hellbent on standing up to make a change.
The good thing about causes is that you do not need a degree to push them. You just need a heart hellbent on standing up to make a change.— Lawrence Namale
If you saw that your life lacked meaning, so far, we have discussed two things: Rebirth and Responsibility. If you lack any of those, fix that first. If you have both and still there is no meaning in your life, we shall discuss that in the upcoming articles.