Marcel used to say that the only significant philosophical question is suicide. Why go on living when there is no meaning? It is sheer cowardice to live when there is no meaning. And Marcel has some relevance in the context of the whole human history of thought, philosophy, religion. All the values are disappearing and man wants anything to cling to. Because the old gods have failed, man is inventing new gods.
It is difficult now to believe in the Christian trinity: God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Ghost. It is almost impossible for any contemporary person to believe in this nonsense. But when this belief disappears a vacuum is felt; you start missing something. You cannot continue in the old belief and you cannot tolerate the emptiness that is left behind. Then something has to be substituted – anything will do. And then there are many substitutes.
Communists have provided their own unholy trinity: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Lenin. You see the point? The Christian trinity was all male, the communist trinity is also all male. There was no woman in the Christian trinity, there is no woman in the communist trinity. It is a replica, exactly the same. Many theologians have tried to bring Christ’s mother Mary into the trinity from the back door, but they have all failed. For centuries, again and again, the effort has been made, but it has not succeeded. And the same has happened with the communist trinity. Stalin tried to become one of the parts, but the magic number of three cannot be disturbed. So while he was alive he imposed himself, he became one; the trinity was no more a trinity, it started consisting of four persons. The moment he died the fourth was dropped. Even his grave was removed from the close proximity of Lenin’s grave. They could not even tolerate his dead body there.
Mao Zedong tried in China to enter into the trinity; the day he died he was removed.
When old gods fail a great vacuum is felt. It is not accidental that in this century Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and people like them became so powerful. Their power was not their own, their power existed in the vacuum that was left in the human heart because of the old values disappearing. And man has lived for so long with a certain meaning in life that he has become incapable of living without meaning. Either commit suicide or invent a new meaning.
My own approach is totally different. There is no need to commit suicide; that is sheer stupidity. There is no need to invent any new meaning; that is falling back, that is regressive, that is again becoming immature. It is a great opportunity that is knocking on your doors. Humanity as a whole has come to a certain point of growth from which a quantum leap is possible. Man can start living without any meaning and still live beautifully, still with tremendous joy.