Last week, we tried to answer an important question that people tend to ask us: Why do we write?
But there is another question, one that is arguably far more important, that comes to mind that one must try to answer.
Why do we live?
In a way, I am glad it does not come to my mind too often, for there is no simple answer I can offer.
Should life be more than the mechanical execution of our mundane routines, the fulfilment of our fundamental needs? Should life be more than just a checklist that we have to complete before we run out of time?
Should life have some sort of meaning or purpose? Should we need a reason to get off the bed every morning besides our bladders?
What about us artistic types who live in our own world and are unencumbered, at least relatively, by the mundane? Do we live to write? Or do we write to live? Are the two mutually exclusive?
Well, the later is absolutely true for me, and I believe Stephen King would agree.
“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
So, why do we live?
Does our life, our existence, make a significant impact on the grand scheme of things to warrant the effort we have to exert on a daily basis?
Directly, probably not.
The simple truth is that too few of us will achieve greatness in our lifetimes. And even if we do, that too is fleeting.
Every year, over 60 players join the NBA; so far, only 111 players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. 111 players in almost 70 years… And I would be surprised if you can name 5 of those players who were inducted before your parents were born. Hell, I would be surprised if you could name one.
Too few. Too fleeting.
Not every scientist will be the next Newton. Not every writer will be the next Shakespeare. And I highly doubt that too many carpenters can claim to be the next Jesus.
But you can definitely earn a footnote in someone else’s discovery that changes life on this planet, and possibly beyond. You can always hope your stories inspire one child to see the world in a different light. And you can absolutely provide someone the comfort of a cosy armchair after a long, hard day.
If you think about it, we are the grand scheme of things, and it is a cumulation of every single thought, word and action of every single being that creates the world as we know it.
Life must, therefore, contain within itself the potential to change everything in the entire universe. And possibly beyond…
But that is the answer to a different question altogether.
The question remains, why do we live?
My answer is actually quite simple. ‘Cause it is all we know.