My mother wants to die.

March 18, 2011

My mother wants to die. She is a very religious person. But she’s had enough. She’s going to be 90 years old this month. And she doesn’t feel useful. And she is no dummy. You cannot persuade her that because she is loved she is useful. Most of her friends are dead. The world has passed her by.  My mother feels that if she cannot help people, if she is not doing something meaningful, than there is no meaning to her life.  I have felt the same most of my life. The difference is that I have never alligned ‘utility’ with ‘the meaning of life’. My mother needs to serve. I need to observe.

In Plato’s analogy of the cave, people watch life. Or at least they watch the shadows of reality. We are all like that. We watch the shadows on the wall of the cave. And we are the shadows on the wall of the cave for others. Philosophers, artists, thinking people want to find the source of the shadows. The fire. Some call it God. Some call it ‘meaning’. But Plato goes one step further. He says that the fire is a pale reflection/image of the real source. The sun. And this is what has plagued me ever since I read this analogy. The sun. What is behind the idea of meaning? What is behind the idea of God?


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