Found this earlier

Discussion in 'Positive Feelings and Motivational Messages' started by SoTired, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. SoTired

    SoTired Well-Known Member

    So I found this earlier. It wasn't for me, it was in a post for someone else, but it really hit me. Made me feel for the first time in a long time. Thought I would share.

    Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a small city in a remote corner of a great nation. He asked many questions, like all kids do. He asked his mother why the sky was blue, and was told about light and its refractive properties. He asked his father why he went away for several hours a day, and was told about work and the economies that demanded it. He asked about the meaning of things, but his parents could not agree.

    "Surely, someone must know how to find meaning," the boy decided, for while his parents were well-educated and intelligent people he had long since learned that they did not know everything.

    He went to his school, nestled at the base of the university hill. He asked his teachers about the meaning of things. They told him about the value of education, and how great minds understood meaning. The boy learned. He learned many equations and facts, and read many books on literature and history. And they answered a good deal, but could not provide much meaning to anything.

    So the boy went from his schooling and into the hinterlands of the city. On the edge of another hill, lost in the woods, was a church. The boy asked the priests there the meaning of things. They told him of better days in gardens, and wandering people, and sacrificed sons. They spoke of the gifts god gave each person to do good in the world, and the love he had for each person and the love he wanted back.

    The boy thought perhaps this was the meaning, and went back to school content, for his intellect was his gift and there was so much left to do. But in his studies, the constant theme was suffering. He thought perhaps this was the punishment for mankind, and that this was meaning. But with every act of God came dead (and, somehow more tragic, maimed) children, and the boy knew that they did not deserve their fate, and that anything that would inflict such cruelties deliberately could not be good.

    And the world seemed to have less meaning than ever before.

    The boy went to the friends he had made along the way, but the meaning of things had escaped them too. Some thought the way he had once, and others seemed to not care at all. The rest denied that there was any meaning at all. The boy went back to books, and found in the literature and the holy texts the same denial - he just had never noticed it before.

    Nothing means anything, the world said in unison. People continued on, most of them not even seeming to notice or care, and the boy felt that telling them would be a cruel joke. History continued on, its massacres and wars, grudges and divisions swept through the world, and the boy felt that all that he had learned was crushed under this weight. The world continued on, spinning under a sphere of stars that shone mockingly, and the boy felt that any architect or designer could only be non-extant, or more cruel than any sadist Earth had ever known.

    It didn't seem that there was much point in going on, the boy decided. The point was the meaning, or near enough, and without one there couldn't be the other. But the boy wanted to go on, as much as it hurt. He told himself it was nothing but instinct, a part of himself buried so deeply as to not really be him at all.

    And that was a lie so self-evident as to crumble under itself immediately.

    If there was no maker and nothing beyond the crude reality the boy could see, then the distinction between body and mind was meaningless. If one part of the mind could not be conscious, but could still make itself heard, then it was just as much a part of the whole as anything else. The fact that every mind had self-preservation woven into it, an urge that screamed to be heard regardless of circumstance, did not make the feeling less real.

    So the boy had to live, and that meant reconciliation with reality. The task seemed impossible, but the boy decided to start by looking within himself, to account for each urge and feeling to understand himself best.

    And there, nestled in the core of himself, was meaning. Stranger still, the font seemed inexhaustible. The boy could give himself as many meanings as he chose, and was no less for it. He gave other things meaning too, relating them to the meanings he had decided to give himself. And that left him with only more meaning to assign as he saw fit, or to ignore altogether.

    So he went back to his school, and found the meanings and lessons there as plain as the denial of their existence was. He did not go back to the church, but understood it and the world as much as anything else. He went back to a few of his friends, the ones that he cared about most of all. They still seemed not to notice the contradictions and the pointlessness of it all, and the boy was envious that they had never struggled as he had.

    Deciding not to be envious, the man set out a final time, seeking out the people who had asked the same questions he had, or were asking them. He knew he would be no better than his teachers, priests and friends, and that anyone who asked him what the meaning of things was would never learn it from him. He feared that the other questioners would be no better than his teachers, priests and friends, and that anyone he asked for the meaning of things would never be able to teach it to him.

    But then the man looked at the problem and decided it was meaningless, and so it was. So he told his story to those who asked, and asked only for theirs in return. There were worse things to suffer than the occasional boring story, and the chance to be in another person's shoes was all the meaning the man sought.​