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What is This Thing Called Life and is There a Purpose or Meaning?

March 30th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Exactly thirty years ago today Ronald Reagan, as it turned out, would survive an assassination attempt – the perpetrator being a deranged and delusional psychotic whose sole motive was to get the attention of celebrity/actress Jodie Foster – and go on and become a seminal GOP icon with forever consequential, life-changing and remarkable events unfolding on his watch. The most obvious event that transpired was the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War; whether or not the Reagan administration was instrumental with the aforementioned will be debated and discussed in perpetuity.

Before writing this Op-ed blog, I researched and read a lot about Ronald Reagan the man, the radio and film star. I delved into his divorce to Jane Wyman (only president to have divorced) and his ensuing marriage to Nancy (Davis) Reagan; their relationship was nothing short of remarkable, an enduring love and respect for each other over  which many gallons of ink can be spilled. He had leadership duties before becoming President of the United States – SAG president and eminent spokesperson for GE. I read and perused his political surge from Governor of California, his presidential bid in 1968 and 1976 to his most prominent staple as Republican President of the United States 1981 – 1989.

There is so much more about this man and I have written so much thus far that you are probably wondering why the title of this piece is not ‘a short biography of Ronald Reagan.’

No I selected Reagan because here is a man, if there ever was one, who lived life so completely and fully and was so driven to succeed that it appears has though it was a life lived with a legacy in mind.

I, myself, could not care less about my legacy. When I say legacy I am referring to who I was, what people thought of me as a man or my reputation, essentially when I am no longer alive. (When legacy is mentioned, it often conjures up thoughts of what I leave behind in terms of money for loved ones, etc. I am not talking about that at all – I just want to be crystal clear). If I am no longer conscious and I cease to exist why should I care about the thoughts and concerns of a world of which I am no longer apart? (It may sound selfish but the point is missed if it does).

I am paraphrasing here because I cannot find the exact quote, but Woody Allen stated that he would rather live one extra day and be thought of as a horrible, terrible man after death rather than shorten his life by one day and be considered a national treasure until the end of time. That is what I am talking about PRECISELY.

This is what I am alluding to in the title of this Op-ed about purpose and meaning. When I am alive, I am just as concerned about my reputation and how other people view me but the bottom line is I just want to live well (another blog). Let me also point out that perhaps the reason I and others who concur with me is because we do not believe in some sort of afterlife. This is probably the reason for this type of thinking, as a matter of fact I’m convinced of it.

As an agnostic – not an atheist – I do find life to be meaningful and purposeful while I am alive and do not find it to be either of the previously mentioned when I am dead. That is not so bad, is it?  The only awful part is when one dies and the people who loved this person must live on; it is excruciatingly painful to think about never ever seeing that person again. This is one of the plethora of reasons why religion is here and necessary for man.

Now it’s your turn WHADAWETHINK ? Does God make life meaningful? Do you think one can find purpose in a life when he or she is cognizant of the fact that, this is it? Does believing in an all-powerful God that will judge the life you’ve lived scare you or pacify you? This is a thought-provoking Op-ed blog that if everyone reads this and responds – well let’s hope we get some good comments and great dialogue.

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