Bri Colorful

The Meaning of Life

Posted on: September 25, 2010

I just woke up from a dream. I once promised myself I would never write anything that came from my dreams because that is how Stephanie Meyer came up with Twilight, and I feel a little ill when I think of following in her footsteps.  But my dream was such an assortment of things, and I want to remember certain parts before they slide (as dreams are notorious for doing) deftly off the slate of my consciousness like the waves of the ocean recede from the shore.  In my dream, I remembered something from what I think is linguistic theory, but I may have come up with it on my own (highly unlikely, I assure you); my head is such a jumble of incoming knowledge at the moment (and I have a slight head-cold) that I don’t know what came from which class, which semester, which school . . . but I digress.

In the dream, I learned that letters, words, and sentences are two-part. The first part, what we say, the actual sound, sight (i.e. sign language), or stroke of a pen is arbitrary. It is a symbol. But it represents a meaning (that’s the second part). This meaning is subjective; it can mean something different to every person, which I suppose is why we have literary critics, film critics, book clubs, different Christian denominations, political parties, and even lowly English majors like myself. The meaning and connotation of these symbols can vary so much from person to person that the result is about a million and a half interpretations, some of them as far flung as Pluto, which is not even a valid planet anymore, poor thing . . um, I think I’ve “lost the plot.”  I apologize.

Yesterday, Grant and I watched the most darling YouTube video in which Elmo is interviewed. One of the questions put to him was, “What is the meaning of life for Elmo?” The last two words (or symbols) of that question, “for Elmo,” are key. Here’s why.  We often ask for definitions by saying something like: “What does soporific mean?” When we ask, “What is the meaning of life?” we’re not asking for the meaning of the word l-i-f-e, as we would ask for the meaning of soporific. The word life has a definition; but that’s not what we’re asking for. We’re asking for the meaning of the meaning.

This morning, I have a suggestion: don’t ask what the meaning of the meaning is for someone else, with the intention of adopting it as your own. Figure out the answer of this question as it pertains to you and only you.

What is the meaning of life for you?

“The meaning of life for Elmo is respecting your elders by saying Mr. and Ms. and saying thank you, and also giving a lots of loves and kisses. That’s the meaning of life for Elmo.” — Elmo

Just watch through about 5:50; you’ll laugh and cry. 

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4 Responses to "The Meaning of Life"

Dreams are beautiful things. SM isn’t the first to have written down a dream. Many rich ideas have come from dreams. I think yours was an interesting one. (Much more deep than mine where I am often being chased.) 🙂 I have been thinking a lot about the meaning of life recently. How I think people must wonder how I get meaning out of life when I’m not DOING anything in particular. How it’s hard to understand how people find meaning in what they do. I have decided that it’s not necessarily what you go that portrays the meaning you find in life. (“Do” as in what profession you have, where you live, etc…) I’m not saying this well, but meaning can be found anywhere. So thanks for reminding me to think about what meaning I am getting out of life without caring about what others are thinking about meaning in their life. I don’t know if this is making any sense, but I’m just trying to say I appreciate your thought.

I gotcha Sara Lyn. 🙂 I find a lot of meaning in being your friend! Thank you for keeping up with my blog so faithfully.

I loved this. So very much.

isn’t Elmo sweet?! 🙂 he he

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