We all contemplate stuff. Especially during the night, we all contemplate stuff. Well, think of it as a special “limited duration” period where we try to enquire ourselves about why certain-certain stuff is “important” to us and what value that “certain stuff” holds in our life. Now some may say that it’s nothing but an act of over thinking; intellectuals will surely disagree with that line of reasoning. So the main question is “What is it?”
Researchers have presented that before dozing off to sleep, a conscious and a stable minded social animal (and I hope it includes us) spends some moments in figuring out the “Meaning of his life”. Now if we just focus on four words, it may sound very naive to think about this concept, because the life that we are living on “hourly basis” and not just on “daily basis” is certainly way more comfortable to force us to think profoundly in that region. Maybe, because of this, its importance is overshadowed but believe me the cards have another side too. This concept becomes “highly important” once you have nothing left in this world, to keep you happy or just, to enhance your survival instincts but your “Meaning-Purpose-Hope”.
Let me tell you a something interesting. “AUSCHWITZ” was a Nazi concentration camp where Jews were captured, starved to death, executed in gas chambers if deemed not fit to work, and tortured on daily basis (by beating with leather straps). Their daily diet consisted of a piece of bread and a bowl of soup. Their daily working hours ranged from morning 4:00 am till 10:00 pm. Very rarely, prisoners were awarded “Cigarettes” for performing a dangerous job like an overnight duty in gas chambers i.e. playing the role of executor while knowing that pretty soon they will be on the victim side. One cigarette was traded for a bowl of soup. Every day the workers went through brutal degrees of starvation, anger, hopelessness, despair and unfulfilled sexual urge which is pretty much abated due to extreme hunger and sleep deprivation. Even in their dreams, they dreamt of eating “Food” (you heard about their diet. Right?), smoking, again meeting their loved ones, ringing the doorbell once again, sensing that freedom again.
“APATHY” is what became their major tool in encountering daily tortures and sufferings. They witnessed such a degree of brutality that small incidents like “Screaming and wallowing” of a dying fellow comrade did not affect them. Instead, it became just another opportunity to collect clothing and other items from the “corpse’s wardrobe” for their personal use. The capos and the SS men left granted mercy in torturing them and keeping them starved for most of the day. Their blankets were not those soft loaves of happiness but a mere rugged pavement of slashed threads, all typhus infected (an epidemic that killed most of the Jews including “Anne Frank”). The sick who had given up all hope lay down in the corner of the hut in their own feces, with their fellow comrades watching them in pity. Every now and then you could find a fellow who preferred to smoke his own cigarettes instead of trading them with bowls of soup because he has lost the will to live and just wants to enjoy the last remaining days of his life. And amidst this brutal torture, the will once lost; is very difficult to revive.
So now the main subject to think about their brutal cycles of Death-Starvation-Dying (with not even a hint of life) how did these men found their will to live?
It’s true what they say, that the man’s confidence can be restored back to life if he has been given “something to look forward to”. We all basically need at least one thing to look forward to in our future to keep us tied to our existence, otherwise once that “look forward to” meaning is lost; it becomes much difficult to walk back to the lane of meaningful life. That hope can be found in contemplation of your loved ones, an unfinished script to complete, taking a world trip, constructing your own central library with maple wood furnishings and thousands of good books both archaic and after, forming your own musical band, opening up your own startup, reading 1000 books before turning thirty. It can be anything. Hope is the main ingredient, the importance of its source is just as that of a secondary spice, in the recipe of life.
Now why are we way better than them…
Now we saw that these prisoners go through brutal degrees of tortures and yet, instil their lives with a meaning, something to look forward to, hoping that upon the day of liberation they will finally be able to do what they have dreamt of for like a million times in their minds. This hope is what keeps them going on, helping them to go through all future sufferings that they will have an encounter.
We are living a much better life than them. And no matter what happens, our conditions wouldn’t be as dreadful as them. So, in any case, we should survive and prosper because let’s face it, if they did, we absolutely, without any dubiousness, can too. All we have to find is our hope, and ultimately all the questions life intrigues you with will be answered. Provided our hope holds some significant value in our lives.
Wrapping it up I’d like to pen down a beautiful piece taken from Victor Frankel’s book “Man’s search for Meaning”
“I called out to God from my narrow prison, and He answered me in the freedom of space”