Spend even a small amount of time on an atheist website and the issue of the, quote: “Meaning Of Life” end-quote, will doubtless come up. There have been several such conversations here on A|N, and doubtless the topic will come up again as new members join our ranks. It’s a topic so fundamental to our lives that wrestling with it should be a natural part of living … or one would hope.
That said, who here remembers Bill Watterson, creator and artist behind one of my favorite comics of all time, Calvin and Hobbes? This inventor of the mischievous youngster and his imagination-animated tiger had his own take on the purpose of life, how to recognize it and put it into practice. Certainly, Watterson gave expression to it in his work, but also in a statement he made during a commencement speech he gave at Kenyon College in 1995:
To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble.
He was right, too; it isn’t easy. Pressure comes at us from all sides, trying to persuade us to take this path or that because someone else thinks it might benefit us (or them). Conformity, whether desired or superimposed, can too often be seen as an easy choice. In the long haul, the pursuit of self-ownership, culturing self-confidence, and making joy, learning and growth part of one’s own life-path can go a long way toward bringing genuine meaning or purpose to any life, regardless of who is living that life.
An admirer of Watterson’s work, Gavin Aung Than, created a tribute to Watterson’s work, and it is worth your perusal … but Watterson’s last episode of Calvin and Hobbes does a damned good job as well in its own gentle way: