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Ask Dr. Rich
Rich Simons | Upper East 11th Street

Photo illustration Art Olson.
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Every month, Rich Simons answers readers’ most perplexing questions: - Can you tell us, O Grand Vizier – What is the meaning of life? – t.s.

Well, ah . . . I don’t think I have anything original to contribute on this topic, but we can take a look at the thoughts of some pretty smart fellas down through the ages.

Let’s start by going back some many thousands of years to a section of the Bible, the Old Testament, King James edtion, where we find in the chapter titled Eccesiastes (“The Teacher”) the following thoughts (highly redacted . . . by me):
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.

Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it: yea farther; though a wise man think to know it, yet he will not be able to find it.

For in much wisdom there is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

I think what old Teach is trying to tell us here is that the meaning of life is to eat and drink and enjoy your work, but don’t try to figure it out. That will just make you sad.

But enough of that. Now just hang on as we fast-forward a few thousand years where we run into a guy named Bill something-or-other who penned a few plays, including one called by some the “Scottish Play,” wherein we find the following:
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player who struts his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more, It is a tale told by an idiot, signifying NOTHING!

Wow! He just throws it out there. Gosh: sounds like Bill had a bad hair day. Anyway, let’s drive on. My personal favorite take on the meaning of life is something I came across some years ago in a Peanuts cartoon. In the strip,
Snoopy the dog can’t sleep. He is resting uneasily on top of his doghouse. Finally he gets up and strides to Charlie Brown’s rear door. Knocks on it a couple of times. Charlie Brown answers. Snoopy asks: “What is the meaning of life?” Charlie Brown replies: “The meaning of life is to go back to bed and hope that tomorow will be a better day.”

Well – that’s about the best I can do. I hope that sort of answers your question. Personally, I think I need to go take a nap.

 

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