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Mankind has gazed out on the stars with total fascination for thousands of years, naming clusters and trying to predict the future with various alignments of these intermittent rays of light. For centuries we have used them for navigation, they have always been there.
Anyone who was around at the time must remember what they were doing on July 21st 1969, a bit like a ‘Kennedy’ moment; everyone remembers what they were doing and where they were at times like 9/11 and the Kennedy Assassination. Since the 1960’s we have shone a torchlight deeper and deeper into space and the universe. We have been privileged to have seen amazing pictures of other planets and star systems, which only add a dose of salt in our thirst for knowledge. More is definitely less leaving us with more and more questions. Yet the Space Shuttle programme became somewhat ‘old’ hat. We became blasé and the programme ended with barely a whisper.
The Hubble telescope has brought phenomenal images that can take us back to the beginning of the universe, and as the odds stack up, we realise that what we have suspected and fantasised is more than likely to be true: it is highly unlikely we are alone. Looking at these images of billions and billions of galaxies, and realising that we are nothing more than a tiny pinprick within even our own galaxy, the Milky Way, let alone the universe, questioning the meaning of life takes on a different hue. Here on earth we are supreme, the only intelligent life form in our domain, whether or not it is self-appointed. In galactic terms, maybe we are more like a colony of ants. We have realised that we do not have control. The sun is dying, another universe is on a collision course with our galaxy, all sort of dangers lurk over which we have no power, including some on Earth itself.
So what is it all about? Why are we here? Various religious persuasions talk in terms of a higher purpose for all of us and a right to passage. I am not qualified to speak on these matters.
What I will say as a human being first and a therapist second, is that looking at the bigger picture, there is no clear evidence of purpose to be found elsewhere. We all therefore have a Duty of Care. A duty to ensure that we maintain our bodies and minds as healthily as possible since if we don’t have a healthy body, choices become restricted and so therefore the potential quality of our life. We have a duty to use the tools we have been given, challenge our understanding of everything as far as it will go, to be the best we can be and we each have a duty to be grateful. Grateful to be given the chance no matter how long or short to experience the wonders of our world, crisp sunrises, lazy sunsets, the warmth of those nearest and dearest to us. We must find our own meaning to life, because that is as different to each person as there are people on the earth, but by being grateful, healthy and challenging we place ourselves in the best possible place to take advantage of this amazing journey. We have a responsibility to ourselves first and foremost, as we cannot be in a position to take good decisions or care for others if we are not in a good place ourselves.
Learning, challenging, experiencing, these are all meanings of life and the chances are by the end of our own 2 seconds in the earth life clock (man has been on earth 5 minutes in the 24 hour earth clock) we will have touched someone else positively.
Of course many philosophers have debated The Meaning of Life including Monty Python who made a film on the topic and subsequently had a hit record. The question they asked still stands; which came first the chicken or the egg, or are we just the yolk?
By Heather Baggaley – © Copyright 2012 for Gloveman Supplies Ltd
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