The Meaning of Life – 1

Title of a wonderful movie by the Monty Python team – along with ‘Life of Brian’, it’s really a very profound essay on life, we have to remember that these guys are pretty bright.
They know a thing or two.
Back in the day, whenever that was, the monarch or ruler always employed a ‘court jester’ whose role was to comment on the monarch’s decisions in a way that would be acceptable and not seen by the court as a criticism of the monarch.
As a ‘comic’ you can get away with saying many things that would not otherwise be appropriate in ‘serous’ conversation or debate and this is something the Pythons, Ben Elton, Spitting Image and other brilliant ‘satirists’ too numerous to mention have been ‘getting away with’ over the years.
There has been a trend recently for some political leaders to attempt to say things in a way of being their own jester. Sorry guys, it doesn’t work like that, you can’t do it yourselves, people will always take you ‘seriously’. They’ll just believe you’re a liar or an idiot.
Another genre in which saying pretty much anything is possible is science fiction/fantasy. You’ll find a lot of political comment in there, together with allegorical references to cultures and ways of thinking.
You see, if you place the point you want to make ‘a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away’ or something similar, or turn it into a ridiculous or farcical situation, you can ‘get away with’ pretty much anything.
Why is this?
First of all, most people will see it for what it appears to be, comedy, satire, sci-fi, or fantasy. They’ll totally miss the point – political, societal, cultural – that’s being made.
It’ll whizz past straight over their heads.
So why bother?
Some people, often many people, will ‘get the message’ – and then it depends on their point of view as to how they interpret it.
Some will ‘take offence’ (whatever that means) either on their own or on behalf of others – and I don’t understand why anyone should think they have the right to do the latter anyway. Too many people it seems will object to something because they think other people, who they probably don’t know or understand, will be ‘offended’ – how did all that happen?
Disregarding the professional ‘offence takers’, there will be some who understand and some who don’t, and I’ll come back to ‘understanding’ shortly.
Either way, some will agree with the message being given and some won’t and what happens then depends on the clarity of the message, shrouded as it is in comedy or fiction, or both, to elucidate the point being made.
As long as some people understand and are able to act on the message it will influence future decision making at many levels.
But there’s another key influencer to understanding the meaning of life and thus being able to ‘make life better’ for all.
That influencer is ‘learning’ and it’s more important than the ‘comment’ I’ve been discussing, because without learning it isn’t possible to understand the comment.
But what is ‘learning’?
How do you and I ‘learn’ and what does it mean?
The first step is to acquire knowledge; and knowledge is a bit like money, it’s absolutely no use whatsoever unless and until you use it.
There are two ways to acquire knowledge, by yourself or with a ‘teacher’.
You might think that with the increasing use of technology, easier access to books, online programmes, video and webinars that the teacher’s role in providing knowledge in a live environment such as a school is potentially redundant.
Why do we need to deploy all that resource when everything could be done on-line?
There is a very good reason and it relates directly to the ‘meaning of life’.
Knowledge by itself is not enough, you and I need to be able to use it and to do that we must ‘understand’. We must understand what it means, and in what context, so that we can then apply it to whatever question we are considering.
We cannot get understanding from two-dimensional book or online ‘learning’. However ‘good’ it might be and however ‘good’ the presenter might be, the knowledge will usually be mis-understood, partly understood, or not understood at all.
We have to add two further dimensions to our knowledge before it becomes ‘useful’.
Live schooling with a teacher adds the third dimension, interaction, checking that the knowledge has been absorbed and guiding the pupil or student towards understanding.
Sadly, most schools are measured in their performance simply by determining whether the students have ‘learnt’ the knowledge through ‘exams’. They don’t consider whether pupils really understand the meaning of what they have been ‘taught’.
We have knowledge but not a complete understanding, we need to add the fourth, ‘spiritual’, dimension to the process and for this we need mentors and coaches to help us fully ‘get it’ and be able to apply it in and to our lives.
This is why the great personal development teachers, Bob Proctor, Mary Morrissey, Tony Robbins and many others all have coaching and mentoring follow up programmes to their live teaching events and they have on-line programmes to supplement it all.
It’s also why professional qualifications are only awarded after some form of ‘live’ examination and practice sessions often with supervision – and you have to keep up with your CPD.
This spiritual fourth dimension of learning is hard to define but it’s something that happens when groups of people are gathered together to learn – and it only works ‘live’, not on a webinar.
There is a lot more to this and I’m going to continue next time but for the moment just consider –
What knowledge do you have that isn’t being used?
What knowledge do you have that you don’t fully understand?
What are you doing to do about it?
Suggestions next time . . .