Finding Meaning

"It's not the circle of life...it's the meaningless line of indifference."

What follows is something about which everyone, to some degree, has different ideas. It is a tragedy that some reject the truth of it entirely, but it is this:


Life has meaning.


This is as true to those who adhere to religion as it is to those who don't. The human mind is apt to look for meaning, and we have a natural desire to seek it. Despite this, many people choose a life of meaningless, idle ease without any sense of purpose or meaning. But there is too much raw potential in human beings and the world around us waiting to be achieved to arrive at our death bed having simply lived. No man or woman ever exacted the status of greatness by a life of careless and idle ease or by merely living.


On a recent holiday to a warmer part of the country than that of our little dwelling in the hills, my wife and myself watched the new Lion King movie. It was a childhood favourite of mine, and the latest rendition did not let me down in the same way that many remakes tend to do. The first box was ticked when it became evident that the story line and characters had remained unaltered. Many modern movies are written into congruence with the new moral and political orthodoxy which has almost become obligatory to modern film making. The movie has a timeless premise that is common to many of the great films and which needs no alteration.


Simba the Lion was born into a line of kings who ruled before him, all doing their duty until they completed the circle of life on which he himself was now beginning his own calling. His father, the king of the pride lands, was preparing him to take his place as king when the time came. Tragedy, however, pulled him into the companionship of a lazy Warthog and an effeminate Meerkat who convinced him that "it's not the circle of life …it's the meaningless line of indifference". Teaching him their "problem-free philosophy", together they indulged in idleness…a far stretch from the kind of kingship for which his father was preparing him. Meanwhile, Simba's pride were suffering the decimation of the pride lands in his absence.


The impact of a man at the head of his table, at the front of a classroom, on the front line of conflict, on the mission fields, tilling the land, or wherever his calling may take him, and wherever his meaning is found, can be too often taken for granted. A man's home is his castle and his sphere of influence is his kingdom. Of his castle, he must be king, over his kingdom he must preside and a king's absence is always felt. The pain of absence can be relieved by return, but abdication and abandonment altogether leave scars that rarely heal. Abdication causes constitutional crises; it creates a family breakdown; it causes misconduct in business and financial institutions; it causes wars and famines. When a king - whatever his kingship means - abdicates his throne, degradation of his kingdom ensues. There would be far fewer social blemishes if so many men were not wandering idly along a meaningless line of indifference, shirking responsibility and backing down from a high calling and instead were presiding as manfully as they know how over their kingdom.


When the decimation of the pride lands by the story's antagonist, Scar, became too severe to sustain the life of the pride, the childhood friend of Simba, then fully grown, sought him out and begged for his return. Return he did and he defeated Scar and restored the pride lands. He rediscovered his meaning, took his place in the circle of life which the line of great kings before him travelled full circle and, presided over his kingdom as he was always destined to do. Had he not returned, had he abdicated and remained meandering the meaningless line of indifference, his absence would have been the end of the pride and the end of a line of kings.


Just the same, the absence of a father and husband in a home shows many painful symptoms in society. The lack of good men in the halls of power shows many injustices in communities. The want for leaders on battlefields shows many men missing from homes. The all-around absence of men who find meaning in their day to day duties, whatever those duties may be, and who do them with heart and eager conviction, is felt emphatically and painfully all over society. Just as Simba's did, our lives have meaning and embracing it opens up to us raw potential waiting to be materialised. None of the men who's biographies line my bookshelves ever made it their life's work to achieve happiness or have a good time as many men do today. The greatest men, as recorded by history, embraced a life of meaning and did whatever duties that meaning called upon them to do. To embrace a life of meaning is to live manfully..


A man's home is his castle and his sphere of influence is his kingdom. Of his castle, he must be king, over his kingdom he must preside and a king's absence is always felt.
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