The Meaning for an Individual Life

In Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card, there is an interesting dialogue on the meaning of life and here is the condensed text version of that dialog for all to see. I think that this is so true, that it is a gem of truth in this sea of uncertainty that we call life.

“Here is the meaning of life: for a man to find a woman, for a woman to find a man,the creature most unlike you, and then to make babies with her, with him, or to find them some other way, but then to raise them up, and watch them do the same thing, generation after generation, so that when you die you know you are permanently a part of the great web of life. That you are not a loose thread, snipped off. Even men who do not desire women, even women who do not desire men, this does not exempt them from the deepest desire of all, the desire to be inextricable part of the human race. It’s hardwired into all of us. Not just sexual desire – that can be twisted any which way, and it often is. And not just a desire to have children, because many people never get that, and yet they can still be woven into the fabric. No, it’s a deep hunger to find a person from that strange, terrifying other sex and make a life together. Even old people beyond mating, even people who know they can’t have children, ther’s still a hunger for this. For actual marriage, two unlike creatures becoming, as best they can, one.”
“I’m talking about a trait that the human race absolutely needed to succeed. The thing that makes us neither herd animals nor solitaries, but something between. The thing that makes us civilized or at least civilizable. And those who are cut off from it by their own desires, by those twists and bends that turn them in another way – like you, Bean, so determined are you that no more children will be born with your defect, and that there will be no children orphaned by your death – those who are cut off, they are still hungry for it, hungrier than ever, especially if they deny it. It makes them angry, bitter, sad, and they don’t know, they can’t bear to face the knowledge.”
‘This life wish had to be present in all living things for any species to continue as they all desperately struggled to do. It isn’t a will to survive – that is selfish, and such selfishness would be meaningless, would lead to nothing. It is a will for the species to survive with the self inside it, part of it, tied to it, forever one of the strands in the web’
“I kept my sanity by fencing myself about with lies, and believing them. But you know the truth. If you leave this world without your children in it, without having made that bond with such an alien creature as a woman, then your life will have meant nothing to you, and you’ll die in bitterness and alone.”

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