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Have A Purpose In Life?

Life is a complex institution. It is complex because it has the composition of what, how and why. Basically, life is defined depending on the worldview of the person in question. For Peter the apostle, ‘Christ is the author of life’ (Acts 3:15). If we are the followers of the author of life, then we can say with conviction that, life is Christ.

Simple as it may sound, it is in fact difficult to trek the truth we profess. Should I ask, what do you want out of life? Relative enshrined egocentric answers are bound to follow, even some will deviate in essence from the angle the question poses. There may be material things we may want in life (which if sought with good reasons and means there is hardly a problem with it). In life, we may want that promotion, that dream car and house, that love, that security, that partnership, but what is it that we want out of life? Why do we live? Having a reason to live is exactly what we term as a philosophy of life. It is necessary to have a reason to live, because, as Irvine puts it, ‘a grand goal in living is the first component of a philosophy of life’. (Williams B. Irvine. 2009. A guide to the good life: The ancient art of stoic joy, NY: Oxford University Press)

Having a reason to live, is not quite the issue here, it possible to have one and yet mis live. As Christians we have come to believe that life is Christ, so then, how do we ‘Christ’ (live)? This simply implies, there must be a strategy employed to achieve any grand goal. A financial guide may help us manage our wealth, only a philosophy of life will help define the scope and extent to which we must live. A grand goal, the reason why we live, is that which ‘‘we should be unwilling to sacrifice to attain other goals’’. (Irvine, the good life)

In the mass-energy plenum of life, there is usually the default philosophy of life which is geared towards the achievement of wealth, social status and pleasure. This default philosophy of life is many a time, consciously or subconsciously, empowered by perceiving life as, in the words of 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbs, ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’. In any case, Irvine realistically explicate this contention that ‘who among us, after all, would not like to reduce the number of negative emotions experienced in daily living’.

The more reason a philosophy of life is crucial, is to help us identify our subjective purpose in the general spectra of cosmic purpose. If our life is reducible to matter, then the stress on material significance and dimension is not the least marginalised. Unanimous consensus, however, exist among scholars, both believers and refusals, that life is more than matter. Therefore, the stress on life is to highlight the essence of something more than material significance. The eternal Galilean un-silhouettes this reality that ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’.

A philosophy of life is necessary because we need a rational, free yet determined mindset to approach the complexity of life. A philosophy of life should always be decisive and subjective. Pope Francis reminds us in his Gaudate et Exsultate that there are a cloud of saints looking over us and no two saints are the same. In like manner, a philosophy of life sprouting from the Master Philosopher will charge us to identify our path, walk it and reach our destination.

In the words of the Roman dramaturge and stoic philosopher Seneca, ‘he who studies with a philosopher should take away with him some one good thing every day’. A central feature of a philosophy of life must reflect the perpetuity of life. Life as we know it is aeviternal. To live it fully, we must have a paradigm, a source and example. These we find in the God made man. In him we should daily return from, to exhibit our communion and fraternity.


Source: Warye Ernest Bio 

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