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Ask the Patriarch 35
The Meaning of Life

by Scott Klajic

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I was just wondering, (and not trying to be confrontational or mean) upon what does a true agnostic base meaning to his life? It seems like a very lonely and scary world (and pointless) without an ultimate provider of justice.

The Patriarch replies:


I wrote on the meaning of life a couple of years ago in Meditation 36 and my viewpoint has not changed significantly since I published it.

I give the meaning to my own life. I don't need some external being, real or imaginary, to assign meaning for me. And if the meaning of your life depends on some deity, remember, it is you who have chosen to accept that particular meaning. It is still your free choice to do so.

I find the concept of being judged at the end of my life by the arbitrary and capricious standards of an 8th Century BC hereditary village tyrant to be a far more scary concept than not being judged at all. If I am to be judged, let it be done by those individuals who I have influenced, whether positively or negatively.

As for being lonely without a deity, there are nearly 6.4 billion other people in the world, more than twice as many as when I was born. It is difficult to be alone any more. As you were writing your message, I preparing to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, which is in many ways quite a remote location. On my late November hike down the South Kaibab Trail and back up the Bright Angel Trail the next day, I was never out of sight of other hikers, and I overnighted at the bottom with over 50 other people. Loneliness is not an issue in this world, as long as you are prepared to accept other people as friends and companions.


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