This post will have some semi-religious content. Don’t worry. I always go somewhere with it, and I don’t proselytize, ever. I was just raised in a semi-Christian tradition, I have some theological training, so I just need to go there sometimes.
I mentioned that I really like the song “Give a Reason” by Megumi Hayashibara. But there are some lyrics that will nicely springboard into the topic I wish to talk about
夢に向かうの“Give a Reason”, Megumi Hayashibara
Of course, this is in Japanese. Roughly translated, it means something like this:
“Somewhere, there is an answer, and everyone is seeking that answer, born of helpless dreams, unable to set them free.”
(There is another translation that says something a little different, but sensei says it’s a little wrong.)
Everyone is seeking The Key. That thing that without it, nothing makes sense and the world is hopeless, with it, everything makes sense and the world has meaning. Everyone seeks it – some people think The Key is money, some think it’s fame, some think it’s popularity, some thing it’s intelligence, some think… well, there are about as many Keys are there are things. And every single one of them is a useless key, because the lock they open will someday vanish.
While I am about to go off on a bit of a Christian tangent, let me be clear: I am not going to try to tell you what The Key is. I’m only going to say where I think it might generally be found, maybe.
The first verse of the book of John, in the New Testament of the Bible, says this: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God”. This, among other places, is where the idea of the trinity comes from. But “word” isn’t really a great translation, I think, and it’s confusing. The actual word used is “logos”. And one of the classical Greek meanings for that word is “reason”.
John is trying to tell us that he found The Key.
Now did he? I won’t say. I’m not entire sure. But I think even if one is not a Christian, and one does not believe in Jesus or the Christ or any of that religious stuff, one can say that if there is to be a Key, it’s not to be found here, in the physical realm. Because, as everything decays and dies, there can be no meaning found here. Anything you try to give meaning dies. Anything you expect to give meaning to you, dies. There is no Key to be found here. The Key must be found somewhere else.
But is there even a somewhere else? That’s a good question. One could say that since all things that exist are contained in this Universe, then perhaps there is not. But just because something doesn’t exist doesn’t mean it’s not real. It just lives somewhere else. Or doesn’t live anywhere at all, but has agency just the same.
Where is The Key? Is that even a useful question? Does the word “where” even apply?
I don’t know.
But this is why there are a billion Christians. They think they’ve found it.
This key, whatever it is, is a thirst, it’s a hunger, it’s something everyone wants and would give absolutely everything they ever had, even their soul, to find it. And so many things pretend, deceive, act like they are meaning, but they’re cheap counterfeits. Christians like to use the word “lost” for unbelievers. I don’t like that word because I know how they mean it, but there’s another meaning to the word too. Not “lost” as in “separated”, but “lost” as in “wandering aimlessly, not knowing where they are”. And I think that does describe nearly all of us. We’re lost, wandering, alone, aimless, thinking we’ve found meaning but having found nothing but a fraud.
And those around us are so desperate for meaning that they cling to whatever, and will defend that to the death. Ever try to talk someone out of a long held belief that is harming them? You can’t. They have found meaning in it, and they will follow it off a cliff. It’s just how people are. They’re so desperate to cling to meaning that… well, as the American President put it, “They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.”
What is The Key?