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The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less. –Vaclav Havel
We are born with a blank slate of experience, just ready to be filled with wisdom and knowledge. As we grow, we might assume that the world is made up of external experiences; people who think that way are formed by what they see and the things they do. Life can be dull or filled with accomplishments, and they identify themselves with the material world.
But some of us are passionate about learning about ourselves and those people in our lives. We try to “make meaning” of the world, our community, our relationships and our faith. It is that melding of reflections on life that makes our lives colorful and rewarding.
That kind of reflection can become important to us later in life. We discover meaning in deep commitments to others and to our faiths. Life becomes a series of sharing with and giving to others.
The most tragic lives, however, are the people who not only assume that the material world is all there is, but are not moved to go deeper, investigate their roles in the world and how they can best contribute. Underneath the personae they project are emptiness and a kind of hopelessness.
Life offers so much, much more. But some people will never realize that truth.