MIDWAY: What’s life?

The very thought of it would bewilder any soul. The more one thinks the more confused he becomes. The “it” I am referring to is life. Thousands of years ago even the Greeks were bewildered by the questions related to our existence: What is life? Who created it? How did it

originate? What happens after death? Does life have a meaning? How should one lead life? These and many similar questions haunted them.

Poets have written extensively on the subject using beautiful metaphoric expressions. Some compare it to a flowing river, some describe it as a journey with many obstacles that must be overcome while the others compare it to a beautiful rose which, though it smiles today, shall wither tomorrow. The question “what’s life?” has baffled men of all ages. During the Middle Ages there was a widespread belief that every man carries with him the sins of Adam and Eve and he must repent during his lifetime to purge himself of the sins of his forefathers. During the Renaissance a completely different view about life emerged. Human life was thought to be divine.

The Marxist philosophers think of life in a completely different perspective. They dismiss God, soul, eternal truths and all religious values as merely constructed by those at the helm. A radically different way of looking at life emerged with the nihilistic philosophies of Nietzsche and the existentialist concepts of Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, among others. The existentialists tend to think of life as absurd and something meaningless. People’s thinking of life even today is strongly influenced by religious beliefs though its influence is waning by the day. In today’s consumer-driven world, many have a materialistic attitude towards life — earn, eat, drink, make merry and die eventually.

People express different opinions about life. Different people have different attitude towards it. But what is life actually? Does it have a meaning? Is there a purpose attached to it? When we ponder on these and related questions we become a bundle of nerves. The mind runs riot. We try hard not to think about it for fear of our mental health. I feel that life is abstract and absurd. To try to understand the absurd (life) is the greatest absurdity.