Chapter 11: The Law of Grace
The first question:
What is the meaning of existence?
Meaning is a human invention. There is no meaning in existence itself. It is beyond meaning. It is not meaningless either because a thing can be meaningless only if it is possible for it to have meaning. Meaning and meaninglessness are two sides of the same coin. As far as existence is concerned meaning is totally irrelevant, so is meaninglessness.
For centuries man has been imposing meaning on existence because it needs guts to live joyously without meaning. It needs real intelligence to live in ecstasy without any meaning at all. The crowds don’t have that much intelligence, they need some excuse. Howsoever false the excuse is it does not matter - even a false excuse is good enough for them to live for. But they are absolutely in need of a meaning. It is man’s need that imposes meaning on existence. The more immature a man is the more his need for meaning. As he becomes mature the need becomes less.
When man really comes of age there is no need for meaning at all. One simply lives, for no other reason; one lives for life’s sake. Then existence is not a means to something else, it is beautiful as it is; it is not fulfilling any purpose. In fact, it is because it is not fulfilling any purpose that it is so beautiful, so utterly beautiful. It has no utility, it is not full of commodities, it is full of poetry. What meaning does a poem have, what purpose? What meaning does a roseflower have, what purpose? What is the meaning of a night full of stars? And what is the meaning of love? What is the meaning of all that you are surrounded by? There is no meaning in it. And if you are in need of meaning, then you will project. Then existence becomes just a screen and you project your meaning on it.
For centuries humanity has done that and because of it now we are suffering tremendously. Now man has become more mature; he is not as childish as he was before and he can see that all those projections are nothing but projections. All the meanings are collapsing and now a great chaos is created by the collapsing meanings which we have believed in for thousands of years. A great meaninglessness is felt all over the world.
All modern thinkers from Soren Kierkegaard to Martin Heidegger are concerned with one single question and that question is the question of meaning. And all are convinced that there is no meaning in life. But then why live? Naturally, inevitably, the second question arises: If there is no meaning then why live? Then why not commit suicide?