In Tolstoy's A Confession (the autobiographical account of his crisis of meaning I wrote about the other day), he argues that, if what we seek to achieve does not endure after our death, then our life itself has no meaning. As Tolstoy's reasoning goes, since everything he strived for in life--riches, fame, pleasure--would ultimately disappear when he died, life was essentially meaningless.
But then he reverses himself:
In other words, Tolstoy determined that his life the way he lived it was meaningless because the achievement of his life goals--riches, fame and pleasure--died along with him. That did not mean that everyone's life was meaningless, he realized. He admired people whose goal it was to be of service to the rest of life. Since the service that they did to the rest of life endured beyond their deaths, their lives had meaning.
When we use planetary resources, in the service of what do we use them? When we live our lives, in the service of what do we live them? Are we using our resources and living our lives meaningfully? Or are we wasting both?
Because if you agree with Tolstoy, whether or not our lives have meaning is determined only by what we use them for.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.