Cake and Existentialism
By Dennis Kuria
Cake is meaningless. Life is absurd. There is no grand plan. You were not born with an inherent purpose.
Why am I here?
Good question. Answer: No reason at all. You simply exist. Anything else is a figment of your imagination. The better question would be, How am I here?
Consider the sheer improbability of your existence. First of all, you were brought into this world, not of your own will, but through a collection of random factors that led to your birth: your parents, your ancestors, your heritage, your history. You had no control over any of this. You were brought into this particular moment in time. You cannot choose when to exist. You just exist.
Consider also who you are. The complex combination of atoms that constitute your physical make up. Your natural talents, skills, and inclinations. Your unique capabilities and flaws. The things you think and the things you feel. How much of it is actually within your control?
Almost everything about you is random. Yet, it’s not like you’re falling apart at the seams. For some reason, you’re not a chaotic mess. We have evolution to thank for that. However, something is still amiss. You mean to tell me that everything, absolutely everything is meaningless and random? Even cake?
How can a world with cake be random?
We assume that because we find meaning in life there must also be an inherent meaning to life. All the places we’ve been to, all the things we’ve done, all the people we love, all of it. How can that be meaningless and random?
If you insist, I pose the question: What meaning is there in your life? Why must cake have a goal? Isn’t it enough in and of itself? Why must we demand meaning from cake? Isn’t cake just an object?
How many of your beliefs are actually yours and not inherited? How many of your thoughts are original? What is the basis of your actions? Why do you feel the things you do? Where does it all come from? Is it reactionary? Or is it from within you?
As we grow up, we inherit belief systems, thought patterns and modes of action from the environment around us. We copy because we do not know any better. We assume that this must be how the world works, that this is what we must do to fit in.
However, as we grow older and we begin to think for ourselves, we realize that not all we were taught or think is true. We know this because our expectations get shattered and our dreams get crushed. We think to ourselves, “If I’m doing everything right, then why doesn’t life unfold the way I want it to?”
Some rebel and others bury their heads in the sand; hiding behind half-truths.
Others simply accept life for what it is. Utterly meaningless in itself.
So nothing matters?
Au contraire mes amis, everything does matter. Now more than ever. It is because life is inherently meaningless that our actions take on grave importance, for they can determine our life’s meaning. What if the caveman who discovered fire was a megalomaniac? What if policemen were anarchists and doctors were serial killers? What if you couldn’t trust a soul? What then?
If your life ended right here, right now, would you die with no regrets?
So how then can you conclude that nothing matters?
Cake is cake and that’s enough.
Existence is a purely subjective process. Nothing has inherent value. Value is subjective. Just because you were born is not a reason to celebrate. What you do with that life is. Cake does not exist to make you happy. Only you can determine what does and only you determine how much is enough.
Think Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Eckhart Tolle, Albert Camus, Seneca, and Nietzsche. Even Charlie Chaplin agrees.
The Kingdom of God is within man.
Blind faith can’t fix a world without cake.
I know, I know, we were having a perfectly rational conversation and then this. What does that mean? Well, simply put: everything you need is right inside of you. You were born with everything you need to confront the utter meaninglessness of life. As random as you are, you could not be more perfectly suited to living in a chaotic world.
We are conscious of what we do, feel, and think. We have freedom of choice. Our lives are ours to live as we see fit. Granted, we are not gods. We lack the power to mold existence to our exact liking. However, that does not detract from who we are in any way. In fact, it’s romantic. “The gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed.”
Death is a foregone conclusion, meaninglessness is not.
You are alive. You have one life. You will die.
Death is a part of life. It’s not death that makes life meaningless, it’s how we live. It’s what we do while we’re alive that determines the value of our lives, both in our eyes and the eyes of others.
Imbue each moment with personal meaning, and one life is all you’ll need.