Chapter 12 What is my meaning?

第十二章 我的價值意義

12. What is my meaning?

Last week, was “my week of everything.” My computer, at the most urgent of moments, began to make a curious humming sound. This increased to a piecing crescendo and then, with a belated shudder, stopped. “No worries,” I remarked to myself. “I have my phone.” I was busy and work ended in the wee hours of the morning. At home in bed, I glanced over at the device nuzzled next to me on my night table: I was safe.

Sadly, when I awoke, there was a command on its screen: “Type in your Android Password.” Now, I don’t have an android password and, to be honest, I don’t even know what that means. All my attempts at restarting the phone failed. Totally nonplussed, I was forced to conduct a class totally digitally naked: I had no electronic crutches whatsoever: humbling to say the least. I succeeded and thus realized that all this technology is but a modern Jean Passepartout,1 nothing more. On my way to the office, I stopped at the electronic shop. Thinking that it was simply a misplaced command, I nervously proffered the phone and gingerly, and sheepishly, presented the problem. After feverishly pushing numerical and alphabetical buttons and having the mobile emit various burps and buzzes, the technician looked at me with a disgusted glare of incredulity. “In my ten years in the cell phone industry, I have never encountered this problem,” he announced.

I am a technical Luddite2 and seem to have that effect on devices. The next series of conversations resulted in terms such as “unheard of, motherboard, irreparable and words of that ilk.” I felt crestfallen, to say the least. Then I was reminded of the age old adage attributed to King Solomon in second Corinthians: to paraphrase – “This too shall pass.”3 And pass it did. Within a week, my computer was running as if no problem had every existed and my “smartphone” was as clever as ever, maybe even cleverer.

I remark on the times in my life that I anguished over something, a situation perhaps, that was simply repaired or replaced: “no big deal,” as the pundits say. At the time, however, it appeared life altering and irreconcilable with my continued existence. These types of inquiries are certainly presented when one thinks of, “What is the purpose of my life and what is my role in its occurrence?” These are large existential questions that hold no easy answers.

I tend to favor the view that life, simply put, has no intrinsic purpose. I am flung by a gust of celestial wind upon the face of this planet. Then, however, it gets interesting because, to paraphrase Dr. Victor Frankl (1905-1997), each of us is obligated to find our own meaning in life and, most notably, each life does have a meaning. “For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment. … Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.”

This meaning has to be mined, much like one pans for gold.4 There are no easy answers; no trite and concise solutions. Great people are not born; they are created, and yes some with extraordinary talent. But for every talented success story, there are hundreds of gifted failures. The world of substance abuse--drugs, alcohol, bad love affairs, etc., has ruined many a budding Chopin (1810-1849). The great secret to life is to talk to your inner power, to your God, and uncover His mission for you: it is there. The role of meditation is more and more important. This takes on many forms: a session twenty minutes a day reciting a sacred mantra or a vigorous walk in the mountains conversing with nature.

The beauty of the human mind is its ability to sail the seas of adventure or get shipwrecked on the sandbars of despair. Every man is his own captain and plots his own life course.


12. 我的價值意義

上週是「我狀況百出的一個禮拜。」我的電腦在最緊要的關頭,開始發出古怪的嗡嗡聲,而且愈來愈尖銳,然後,在一陣遲來的震動後,終於停止運轉了。「別擔心,」我告訴我自己,「我還有手機。」當時我非常忙碌,常常忙到凌晨。當我回到家躺上床時,我看了一眼放在我床頭櫃的手機,我覺得很安全。

令人難過的是,當我醒來時,手機螢幕上出現一個指示:「請輸入您的安卓密碼。」現在好了,我沒有安卓密碼,而且老實說,我連那是什麼意思都不曉得。我嘗試過所有我知道的方式試圖解鎖,可是都失敗了。在完全不知所措的情況下,我被迫以最傳統方式來上課,完全沒有任何的電子設備支援。這次經驗最起碼讓我覺得自己很卑微。但我上課很成功,這也讓我意識到,所有的科技不過就是現代版的僕人1 。在我前往辦公室的途中,我經過一家電子設備門市,心想手機只是弄錯一個指令罷了。我忐忑不安地交出手機,並且小心翼翼,有點難為情地說明手機的問題。技術人員急切地按一連串數字和字母鍵,手機發出一連串的聲響,他帶著一臉不敢置信的表情看著我,「我在手機業工作十年來,從來沒遇過這樣的問題,」他說。

我是個反科技的人2,而這心態似乎對電子設備有不良的影響。接下來的一連串對話裡充斥著各種字眼,例如:「沒聽過、主機版、無法更替之類的話語。」不誇張地說,我有點垂頭喪氣。但我隨即想到第二列王記中所羅門王那古老的格言,意思是說:「這也會過去的。」3而事實上,這件事確實是過去了。一週之內,我的電腦恢復了,就好像什麼也沒發生過一樣,而我的「智慧型」手機也跟以往一樣聰明,說不定還變得更聰明呢!

在我生命中,令我感到痛苦的事物,也許是一個狀況,後來都處理好或是轉變了,對此我的評論是:「沒什麼大不了的」,就如同專家所說的那樣。然而在情況出現的當下,它的嚴重程度似乎會改變我的人生,而且會障礙我繼續生存下去。當ㄧ個人思考:「什麼是我的人生目的?我在生命中扮演的角色為何?」時,這類的問題一定會浮現出來。這些都是有關存在的根本問題,沒有簡單的答案。

簡單來說,我傾向認為人生並無固有的目的。我隨著一陣天空吹來的風飄到這座星球上。然後,一切開始變得有趣。用維克多‧法蘭可博士(1905-1997)的話來說,我們每個人都有義務要找出我們的人生意義,最重要的是,每個生命都有自己的意義。「每個人的生命意義隨對象、日子和時間的變化都有所不同。因此,重要的並不是普遍人類的生命價值,而是每個人在某個時間點找到人生獨特的意義。......每個人的人生中都有屬於自己特別的使命和任務;每個人一定要找出一個具體的任務,並且加以實踐。在過程中,自己是不可被取代的,而且人生亦不會重來一次。是故,每個人的任務與實踐它的機會都是獨一無二的。」

我們需要開採人生意義,如同淘金一般。4這絕對沒有一個簡單的答案。沒有什麼老生常談和簡明的解決方案。偉人並非生來就是偉人,偉人是靠努力創造出來的。當然有些人具備過人的才華才得以成就。但在每一個天才的成功故事背後,也有幾百個失敗的案例。濫用藥物、酗酒或是變質的愛情等問題,都可能毀了一位處於萌芽時期的蕭邦(1810-1849)。生命最大的秘密在於跟自己內在的力量對話,從中去發覺自己人生的使命,它就存在內心中等待挖掘。冥想的功能愈來愈重要了。冥想有很多種形式,例如:一天花個20分鐘唱誦咒語,或者是到山林裡健走,與大自然交談。

人的心靈之美就在於它能在冒險之海航行,或者是在絕望的沙灘上擱淺。每個人都是他自己的船長,為自己的人生掌舵。