Many aspects of life is like a regenerative quilt. Old ideas learned while young, percolate as adolescents, put to further analysis as adults before they are incorporated or tossed aside.
I like to think of myself as being like many other individuals but as the same time distinct and independent. That is why in examining the purpose of life I feel that it is necessary to look at our growth process. When we were babies we thought and acted like babies. As we became children we behaved like children. As adolescents our parents commented about how we had changed. As adults our lives took on a new meaning. Some of us chose to be married and have a family of our own. There were those that lived in non traditional households. As we attained our twilight years, we reminisced about our careers, helped to raise our grandchildren and wondered if we would have done things differently.
Questions we ask ourselves
During these developments, we ask ourselves many questions. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Am I making a difference? Does it really matter what I do? Is there a purpose to life? Is worshipping God necessary? Why do people suffer? How is it that good and bad people experience the same pain? Is there an after-life? If there is an after-life what is it like? How can I increase my understanding of these things? What can I believe? Is belief enough? What is the role of science in solving these mysteries? Can a person believe in science and religion at the same time? Is it possible to believe in things unseen? Is there such a thing as faith? Is there a God?
Making a quilt
To make a quilt we keep adding to it piece by piece. Each piece is like one of the above questions. When young we begin our exploration. Our minds are in their formative state. We are able to embrace concepts that are simple and many cases accept them at face value. There is innocence. We easily accept what we are told. Many children believe in Santa Claus, his rein-deers, and the Easter Bunny. Prior to becoming adolescents, much of this goes out of the window. Many parents lament this change of the lost of innocence and loving nature of their children.
By the time these children are adolescents they begin to question authority. The want to know the whys and wherefore. Parents may try to explain some of their questions. Many young people see contradictions and do not understand why things have to be the way they are. Why is there poor people when America as a nation has more food than it can consume? They are aware that a lot of food goes to waste, but why?
A regenerative quilt
By the time these adolescents become adults, many become steeped in religion, philosophy, social work, and ethics. They start to entertain different ideas. Many of these have flowed through their mind and were subject to analysis. They have built on these beliefs with an open mind and cast off some ill-founded ones from their belief system while they begin to caress others. They are listening to opinion leaders, reading the latest specialized publications on a wide range of topics, but still they profess that their beliefs are still in their formative stage.
In their twilight years, having had successful careers and raised a family, some nagging questions remain. With a glut of information more of their beliefs are challenged. Their ideas begin to percolate further and some would admit that after all these years of being a student of humanity, they still do not have answers to many questions. “Who does?” They say with a smile. Nevertheless, they continue to try to make sense of it all.
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There are those individuals that eventually give up on trying to determine what is the purpose of life. Others continue to look for clues in scientific discoveries, religion, philosophy, and by doing social work projects. But regardless, how we build that regenerative quilt, piece by piece, thread by thread, many agree that life will remain a mystery with some insights to titillate us.
Quilt top (Photo credit: ejhogbin)
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