Men and women alike have tried to define the purpose of life in vain. Trying to answer the question ‘what is the meaning of life?’ has been one of the hardest tasks for humanity. In this article, I will make an attempt to briefly shade some light on this question.
I will heavily borrow from the works of Gilgamesh and Agamemnon in trying to answer this question. I view these two works to be quite relevant in answering the question as the events taking place in the two works have an accurate reflection of the present day life.
What is the meaning of life?
Answering the above question needs a deep reflection. From the religious point of view, a person has a divine purpose which he/she ought to accomplish in his/her lifetime.
Does that therefore mean that one’s life is predetermined? And if it is predetermined, then why should we struggle to accomplish missions which will somehow be accomplished – since they are predetermined!
Gilgamesh and Agamemnon
Examining the works and lives of the Gilgamesh and Agamemnon one is left wondering why a person in a prestigious position should undergo so many miseries. Is it justified to suffer for the sake of gaining fame? This is what we mostly see in the lives of Gilgamesh and Agamemnon. Gilgamesh goes to all lengths to gain fame.
In the course of doing this, there are a number of people who suffer because of his quests: Enkidu died miserably as a result of the conquests of Gilgamesh. It is a pity to see Gilgamesh trying to make the afterlife of Enkidu smooth by trying to appease the gods to accept him (Mack, 1997). Is it not ironical that at the end of his great conquests, Gilgamesh and Enkidu have bitter endings? One readily gets attempted to ask the question, ‘is life meant to have a bitter ending after a sweet lifetime?’ If the answer is yes, then what is the meaning of life?
Life reciprocates proportionally
Arguing philosophically we can claim that one determines the fate of his life.
With respect to this view, then the meaning of life will be what you want it to be. In other words you determine what meaning your life will have. I find this argument quite practical in the present life as well I find it quite applicable in the two works being discussion in this article. Gilgamesh is seen seeking fame by trying to dethrone some gods and exalting himself above them, what does he expect back? This is also very evident in the life Agamemnon. Agamemnon gets involved in heinous activities, what does he expect back? Agamemnon’s miseries clearly have roots in the evils committed by him and those close to him. This argument leads us to the point of knowing that life reciprocates proportionally to what we do.
So, what is the meaning of life?
Now that we know that life reciprocates proportionally to what we do then what does that mean. From the above arguments I have made above, I believe that life is a chance one gets to make the world a better place or at least to participate in making the world a better place.
Logically, then life is chance for one to experience his/her own actions. This calls for the need for every person to be accountable for what he/she does. If we embrace hearts of good faith towards our neighbors including the environment then we are more likely to find life a bit enjoyable. We are less likely to face misfortunes which often make us wonder what life means.
Mack, M. (1997). The Norton anthology of world masterpieces. New York, NY: Norton.