Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.

-Dale Turner-

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Meaning makes us human

I know I quote others far too much, perhaps its a fault of mine or as Einstein may argue, an indication that my own thought processing has become lazy.  None the less, here is a discussion between character in a favourite book of mine...

"We're having this discussion about what it is that motivates people," Scorpio George pressed on, his Canadian accent and professorial manner combining in the documentary voice-over style that most irritated his English friend. "Y'see, Freud said we're motivated by the drive for sex. Adler disagreed, and said that it was the drive for power. Then Victor Frankl, he said "sex and power were important drives, but when you can't get either one, no sex and no power-there's still something else that drives us on and keeps us goin'-"
"Yes, yes, the drive for meaning," Gemini added. "Which is really just the same thing in different words. We have a drive for power because power gives us sex, and we have a drive for meaning because that helps us to understand sex. It all comes down to sex in the end, no matter what you call it. Those other ideas, they're just the clothes, like. And when you get the clothes off, it's all about sex, innit?"
"No, you're wrong," Scorpio contradicted him. "We're all driven by a desire to find meaning in life. We have to know what it's all about. If it was just sex or power we'd still be chimpanzees.
It's _meaning that makes us human beings."
"It's sex that makes human beings, Scorpio," Gemini put in, his wicked leer working even harder, "but it's been so long, you've probably forgotten that."
A taxi pulled up beside us. The passenger in the back seat waited in a band of shadow for a moment, and then slowly leaned closer to the window. It was Ulla.
"Lin," she gasped. "I need your help."
She was wearing black-framed sunglasses, and there was a scarf tied around her head, covering her ash-blonde hair. Her face was pale and drawn and thin.
"This... has a vaguely familiar ring to it, Ulla," I replied, not moving toward the cab.
"Please. I mean it. Please, get in. I have something to tell you ... something you want to know."
I didn't move.
"Please, Lin. I know where Karla is. I will tell you, if you help me."
I turned and shook hands with the Georges. In the handshake with Scorpio, I passed over an American twenty-dollar bill. I'd taken it from my pocket when I first heard their voices, and I'd kept it ready to hand over when we parted. In their world, i knew, it was enough money-if their_nice little earner client fell through-to make them rich men for the night.
I opened the door and got into the cab. The driver pulled away into the traffic, checking me out often in his rear vision mirror.
"I don't know why you're angry with me," Ulla whined, removing her sunglasses and stealing glances at me. "Please don't be angry, Lin. Please don't be angry."
I wasn't angry. For the first time in too long, I wasn't angry.
Scorpio's right, I thought: it's meaning that makes us human.


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