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


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。