A Confession, part 11
The same beliefs that had made me sick when I heard them coming from people whose lives did not agree with them made me feel good when I saw people living their lives in agreement with them. That is why I felt myself being pulled toward things at that time that I had felt pushed away from before. They had no meaning to one group of people, but they had very much meaning to the other.
My problem had not been in the way I had thought, but in the way I had lived. I had lived my life for my self; so when I asked myself "What is my life?" the answer I received was that is was very bad… it did not have meaning… it would be better if I had never lived. My answer was true, but it was only true for my life, not for life in general. I later read this truth in the Gospels, where Jesus says, "People run from the light because they themselves are bad and they do not want to change."
I now see that a bad life has no meaning, and if we are to find meaning for life, we must not look to the rich to find an answer, for they are the worst ones to give an answer to the meaning of life. They only become rich by taking from others and keeping it for themselves. This is as true as the truth that two and two are four, but I had been hiding from this because I was one of the rich. I was bad, and I did not want to face this.
It was more important for me to feel that I was right than it was for me to see the truth that I needed to change. But when I turned to study the lives of these good poor people, I learned to hate myself and my old ways. I was forced to face the truth about myself, and in so doing, I found meaning to life.
Think about a person whose job it is to cut heads off of people. If he was locked in a room where this was all that he did, and he believed that he would die if he left that room, how would he answer the question, "What is life?" He would have to say that life is very bad, and that it would be better if he were dead. His answer would be perfectly right, but only if he asked it about himself. What if all we rich people are like that man, taking the life out of other people to make life easier for ourselves? I know that my life was like that.
Look at the animal world. A bird is made to fly, find food, and build a nest. When I see a bird doing this, I feel it is happy, and I am happy for it. A goat, a rabbit, and a wolf are made to mate and feed themselves and their families. When they do that, I believe they are happy and their lives have meaning. So what should people do? We do what animals do, but with one difference. We must do it for others and not just for ourselves. When we do that, we are happy, and life has meaning.
But what had I been doing for all of my adult life? Far from finding or growing food for others, I had not even been finding or growing food for myself. I had lived off the hard work of other people, telling myself that anything that helped me to take money from them must be good. So when I asked myself what good could come of my life, I had no answer. My life had no meaning. For thirty years I had been taking from others and destroying others by using what they had worked hard to make, without joining in to help them. How could I have hoped to come up with any other answer but the one I had come up with: My life was without meaning, and it was bad.
Life in general is here for a reason. Someone made it, and it was made for a reason. If we want to understand that reason, we must try to work in agreement with the one that made it. We must try to do what he wants us to do. If I will not do what is wanted of me, then I can never hope to understand the meaning for life.
If you take a hungry beggar from the side of the road and put him in a beautiful house where he has all that he needs, and you say his job is to move a handle up and down, the first thing he should do is to obey you.
|The first thing he should do is to obey you!|
The poor working people who do the will of the master – those that we educated people have come to think of as stupid animals – they do not fight against the master. But we who think we are so smart, we eat the master's food without doing what the master tells us to do. We do worse than that. We sit in a circle and talk about how stupid it is for anyone to move that handle up and down when they don't know why they are doing it. Then we start teaching that the master is stupid or that he is nothing more than a story that the stupid people have made up to give meaning to moving the handle. We tell the world and we tell ourselves that we are very smart when we are really the stupidest of all.
For in the end, it is we who feel that there is no meaning in our lives, and it is we who feel that we must kill ourselves!
Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
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