The Question never Asked

[a poem by   ~burning woman~   written by Sha’Tara]

Is there meaning to believe in?
I’ve done all I could to absorb this world,
to understand people, no, not just
people, but this world’s life.
I’ve seen and felt its endless struggle,
its romance with beauty and with horror.
So much drama but never an answer
to the eternal question.
You may ask, ask, and ask; you may
shed tears of raw pain, of sorrow, of anger
and the world is awash in mute noise.

I’ve seen cats fight and children die in war,
heard and read the boasting, seen the posturing
over beads, trinkets and ticker-tape money
and walked streets I thought were painted red
but it was always the blood of innocents,
no thin red line but a widening swath
leading to a pile of skulls and scattered bones.

Rats ran away as I came near as if I’d been more
than a nameless ghost in an endless dream.

I can see, I can hear, I can smell and
I can feel. As if that could ever be enough!
I have observed, weighed my thoughts
to realize they were too heavy to bear;
looked in a mirror to watch myself age
as in a time-lapse scene
from angst of birth to relief of death,
its in-betweens sprinkled with flashes of joy
stolen from the ever-dying landscape.

And all I ever wanted was to ask
the one question never asked before;
the one question no one ever dared ask
or no one ever thought to ask: the
one that answers all others – how
presumptuous to believe I could
formulate such a thing, that I
could discover the meaning of life or,
if you will: the meaning of meaning.

31 thoughts on “The Question never Asked

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      If one were to admit there is no meaning, then searching for one would be pointless. I insist, to myself, that life has meaning. Perhaps meaning is like a growing twig that becomes Yggdrasil. In this life, perhaps its a twig with a couple of branches and leaves. Then in the next, as meaning is added to meaning it grows some more, and so on. As there is no Truth, only truth, so there is no Meaning, only meaning added to meaning without end… ?

      1. rawgod

        In a way we agree, but yet…
        The search for meaning starts as a human desire to have life fulfil a purpose. But purpose can only result from an organised cosmos. Our cosmos is built on chaos, life is a sometimes happy accident for every species but humanity, and even for humanity it is only recently that we are trying to give it a non-existent order by in vitro fertilization, gene-splicing, and so on. Until now, life came from a random sperm penetrating a ovum that was randomly generated. That is chaos. Even now science only selects a random selection of a particular sperm sample to put in a petri dish with a group of specially selected eggs, but they cannot yet control which sperm goes to which egg. Life is still chaotic!
        Or does some creator being decide which group of sperm attempts to fertilize a selected egg? And which sperm from the sample will be the successful one? That is going above and beyond the force of energy that is life! Life force may be particular, but every example of life is random. Chaos! No purpose. No meaning.
        So whence comes this search for meaning? Is it from a creator? No! It is from human need. To the best of our understanding, none of our living cousins have this need for meaning. They are born, they live, they die. No pretences that we know of. But we humans are taught by our elders we are superior to all other species, and that superiority is expressed in the need to find meaning. All evidence points to life not having a purpose. But since there is not one that we can truly find, “we” create it. We are the creators, not some god-like being we invented to give our lives meaning.
        The ultimate truth: There is no pre-ordained purpose to our lifes. But, if we continue to look for one, probably we will find something that appears to be purpose. Will we ever agree on one single purpose, or meaning? Highly unlikely! We are each individuals, and not every individual will agree with every other individual. But that will not prevent us from trying. So we must be content with our own answers. And to live together in peace we will need to stop shoving our ideas down our siblings throats!

      2. Sha'Tara Post author

        I think we are designed to have a much greater awareness than we’ve allowed ourselves to be aware of and thus have been delinquent in our purpose to give greater meaning to life. That isn’t a question of superiority but of purpose. A knife isn’t superior to a spoon because it can cut through an apple. It’s also a question of responsibility, something we are not very good at taking on. We don’t want to discover things that would force us to take responsibility for our current state of knowledge and understanding. If we did we certainly would not be entertaining and paying for the kind of corrupt leadership we tolerate. Denial is Earthian mental laziness. I do not sense that the cosmos is essentially chaotic or that it develops chaotically. Where such demonstrates is where you find the highest levels of mental decrepitude and subsequent decadence. One segment may go entropic – max. chaos – because of laxity whereas another may shoot off into greater understanding, discoveries and new creations but if we are stuck in the decadent part we will assume it’s the same everywhere. Logic says it can’t be. If the cosmos became entropic that is the end of all life for there is no cure for entropy in a closed system. I think we should limit our deductions to the areas we can actually see and allow for the greater cosmos to carry on and expand according to desire, design and will. Whose? Well, it would be the will of some sentience; of individuals or groups of sentients. Some just want to ride the bus; some are busy creating transporters through black holes. Some “smoke their dope” while others take responsibility for their future by designing meaningful guidance systems. If life has no purpose then every single thought expressed by intelligent, sentient and self aware beings (humans) are a total waste of time better spent eating, drinking, fucking and making merry. No purpose equals no responsibility for anything. No purpose means all our great laws and moral codes are utterly pointless. No purpose means burn the history books and all science fiction – in fact get rid of science unless it’s busy building a bigger, higher, faster roller coaster. No purpose means no such thing as murder; no such thing as an innocent victim. No purpose means no such thing as child abuse, war crimes, genocides, slavery and sex slavery; no such thing as justice. No purpose means total hedonism, “Do your neighbour before he does you.” I think Earth is slipping down that slippery slope faster each day and that should tell us something: we failed at taking responsibility, and not because we are not supposed to but because we are the degenerate generations.

      3. rawgod

        For once I cannot agree with much you are saying. For starters, it was smoking dope that opened the door to thinking on a cosmic level for me, and it was LSD that showed me that cosmos. I have experienced those things in ways few can, and remain sane. But in the end I have seen a cosmos that few can envision, and even fewer can understand. This is not bragging, it is merely telling my life experience.
        What does chaos mean to you, I’m really not sure. Chaos for me is waking up in the morning and having a 50/50 chance of being dead by bedtime. The odds are not influenced at all by the fact I have suvived 25,393 consecutive days so far, I still have a 1 in 2 chance of being dead by bedtime tonight. That is what I mean by chaos. Every choice you make affects the rest of your life. You never know which choice will lead to death. Even worse, your death might not depend on a choice you make, or fail to make; it might depend completely on a choice someone else makes, or fails to make. But in the end, the odds are still 50/50. That is chaos.
        Responsibility is another matter, if we do not take responsibility for our choices we are distancing ourselves from our lives. But I’m not about to tell anyone they must take responsibility for themselves and their lives, not if they aren’t ready to hear that. I hope they take that responsibilty, but if they do not understand what that entails, how can they? And nothing anyone says can teach them to understand. When they are ready they will. That is chaos.
        You see chaos as a negative. I see chaos as a positive.
        Denial is not always mental laziness. More often it is inability, being incapable of understanding the nuances of life. Other times it is a choice to ignore, rather than deny. When it is mental laziness it is not good, but you must be aware in order to deny.
        When you compare entropy to maximun chaos, I balk. Entropy means different things in different fields of study. If we were to limit our deductions to areas we can actually see, we cannot see entropy, or chaos. But we can see their effects. Is that not the same as seeing? Chaos negates the ideas of desire, design, etc. We can learn how to control some things, but we cannot learn how to control everything. That presupposes a god, an omniscient, omnipotent superbeing. We cannot see such a being, or the effects of such a being.
        But enough of the side issues, the real center of discussion is meaning, or pupose. When I spoke of superiority, I was discussing the “belief” that humans are superior to other forms or species of life, that the world is subservient to humans. IMO, that is arrogance, absurd arrogance. Yet it gives many humans purpose, to profit from that arrogance. You give this long list of what you think no purpose means, all of them based in negativity. Try looking at it from the positive side, that no purpose gives us infinite possibilities to create purpose. Looking for an a priori purpose is futile. Creating purpose is productive. We are not restricted to but one purpose, but can branch out in many directions. There can be as many purposes are there are living beings in this world.
        A christian’s purpose is to reach heaven. A buddhist’s purpose is to attain nirvana. Your purpose is to embody compassion. My purpose is to live, and see where life leads me. If I have a goal, I am limited in my purpose. I refuse to let myself be limited. The cosmos is my playground, but also my place of learning. I have no idea what I am going to learn, chaos supplies opportunities which I can choose or ignore until later. I am free, including of purpose. I can go anywhere…

      4. Sha'Tara Post author

        Sometimes it is good, and necessary, to disagree. I have a hatred of all drugs, from bitter experience with drug users and abusers… and I need a purpose to give my life direction. Yes, the cosmos is there and always calling, but I’m not showing up at the departure gate without a destination, and since I’m flying solo, without a license and a flight plan!

      5. rawgod

        Where is your sense of adventure, S’T? Don’t you ever get lost just for the hell of it, to see if you can find your way home? Or find a new home. I seldom go to new places to do something. I go to new places to find something to do.

      6. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks rawgod. I’ve been lost and lost and lost in so many remembered lives. I’ve struggled to make sense of “me” when it seemed that I was at best ‘a nameless ghost in an endless dream.’ The worst lives were those when my memories were blocked and I could find no reason for me. I served no purpose except those that were imposed upon me. I just need purpose. Many times, even in this life, I would tag along with others, peers, more or less, to a movie, a fair or some sort of entertainment and I could never free myself from observing and weighing what was happening all around me. I stood alone in a sea of people and all I heard was the waves of the sea. I would go home, or to my car and write about my observations. The ‘events’ weren’t real: it was always the same scene repeated over and over. If I had given in to it I would have gotten lost again and I could never allow that: the emptiness at the end is just too painful. When I dream or experience a vision I always know where the four cardinal points are and how “far” I am. This girl can no longer ever be lost, rawgod!

      7. rawgod

        I am really sorry to hear that, S’T. It is a hard life to have to live that way. Fear consumes, I know how that goes, but I don’t know what to say to you. We live such different lives, you and I. But somehow we came out with similar truths, small t of course. I’d like to help you, but I know I cannot, and I know I should not. You need to live your life, even as I need to live mine. But I can support you, if there is a way. “You Aint Heavy, You’re My Sister.” Let me know.

      8. Sha'Tara Post author

        Thanks rawgod. ” But I can support you, if there is a way.” You’re here, so you found the way – no more is needed of you.

  1. jim-

    As I have observed some of the best minds ever recorded in the history of the world as we know it, an official meaning does not exists, I’ve decided. The search is futile. But for me, to live life to my best potential is all I can do. I’ll leave the meaning to the other guys. Interestingly, nobody looks around any more. They all read the commentary or bury their noses in the asses of the experts. This I know—if we take a moment to observe with our own senses we can get more perspective out of life than a thousand volumes written by those who got their opinions through the cleverly worded arguments.
    Loved the poem dear friend. Nice work.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Jim… all I managed in the deep of night is to open up a whole new can of worms for myself. This long weekend appears relatively calm on the landscape and gardening scenes so I should have more time for introspection… Oh, woe is me!

  2. gserpent

    I ask myself this, “Do I trust it?” This ‘it’ being yourself, your own nature and all nature around you. There are going to be mistakes, but if you don’t trust it, you will suffocate. You are a Goddess, trust yourself. I trust myself to the totally unknown. I trust myself to a Nature that doesn’t have a boss. The Ancient Chinese called this purposelessness. This is also what Nietzsche was trying to say with Nihilism. Pick a flower and look at it, smell it and enjoy it. Don’t try to get a meaning out of the flower, just enjoy it. The moment people do that is the moment we become healthy. We become loving and helpful.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you for commenting. I will say though, that if, in picking the flower there is no meaning beyond enjoyment, why would I engage in that little drama? Why am I looking for that experience? When I picked wild flowers for my mom back when in the northern woods of Alberta (she was particularly fond of the beautiful and rare orange wood lily) was I just meaninglessly picking flowers or did I have that empathic thought in my child’s mind that my overworked mother would find a moment of pleasure and peace while putting the flowers in a canning jar and observing their evanescent effect on the coarse dinner table?
      Many a wise person has come and gone, leaving trails of questionable wisdom much as a slug leaves a trail of slime on which it glides to get out of the sun. Undoubtedly some of them meant well but times changed… and why do times change? I would say that all of life in its eternal changes and apparent chaos is in search of meaning and we were made, or evolved if you will, to participate in this all-important quest. I would say that without meaning life is… well: meaningless! For me, the more meaning I can extract or put in the life around me, the more I discover of who I am… always subject to change without notice but the quest is all important in that it gives me a gauge to measure my mental evolution; to prevent me from slipping backwards unawares. I may not believe in any “Satan” entity as an arch-enemy of mankind but I am forcefully aware that I am surrounded by nefarious (evil) forces that seek to steal my awareness and return me to the status of a brute beast and this I shall never allow to happen.
      If, as you close, ‘we become loving and helpful’ then that to me is clearly a quest for meaning. Otherwise, why bother? I have noticed over the years that as I extend a hand to help another it has nothing to do with altruism but a challenge to me to ever seek a higher attainment of my personal stated purpose which is to become an avatar of compassion. That can only translate as meaning. The quest for meaning need never have translated in so much drama, pain and sorrow but when Earth fell beneath evil forces that introduced the concept of predation here, the die was cast for death and eventual destruction. We but pretend it isn’t so by also pretending that the killing we see and often cannot help participating in is “natural” but that is deadly denial.
      Caveat: that is a personal choice of course, and a personal interpretation. Thank you again.

    2. rawgod

      Why pick the flower? Get on your knees, bend your head, and breathe its scent. Look closely at its beauty. Enjoy it. And leave it there for someone else to experience, or for a bee to collect its pollen. Picking a flower is an act of selfishness. Be kind to it; be kind to others. Please.

      1. gserpent

        I pick the flower because I’m not selfish enough to care what others think about me. You don’t pick the flower because someone told you it was bad. If you pick the flower someone will think you are bad, so you don’t pick it to make yourself feel good. That is very selfish. Let’s be honest here, the only reason you are saying be kind is that you want others to think highly of you. How selfish is that? Every human is selfish most just hide it in their shadow. I will be that selfish person for you by picking that flower. I have reconciled my opposites so I will be the saint or devil to this world by picking that flower.

      2. rawgod

        You have me all wrong. No one told me not to pick the flower, in fact I was taught to pick flowers. But I taught myself not to pick the flower, because that hurts the flower, and takes away its “raison d’etre” in life, producing seeds to grow more flowers. And in completing this task, it feeds insects such as bees, butterflies, and such. You want to be saint or devil, that is your choice. I don’t believe in either. Humans make choices, which is why we are in the predicament we are in right now. We chose to rape the home on which we live, and have brought ourselves to the brink of disaster. I choose to not take part in such a process. I choose life over death, not because it makes me look good, but because I value life, no matter the packaging it comes in.

      3. gserpent

        People like you are few and far between. I should have known better with you being on ShaTara’s site. My apologies.

      4. rawgod

        No problem. We each do as we choose. But it hurts me when I hear people hurting other living beings for no good reason, not that enjoying a flower is not a good reason, depending on what you are doing in life, and where you are at in your journey through life. But the flower has no idea of why you are picking it. And neither did I.
        You intimate being on Sha’Tara’s site might attract certain types of people, and you are there, so I am presuming something similar attracted you there. I have not read many of your comments, and I reacted before I checked out your blog. I sometimes forget to take a look before I dive in with opinions of my own. I try, but moods prevent me from always succeeding.
        So, apology accepted, but I have to apologize to you also. I have no idea yet who you are. I should not have jumped the gun. For that I am sorry.
        Now, off to your site, to take a peek.

  3. Woebegone but Hopeful

    This is powerful Sha’ Tara.
    The question I don’t think we will ever get any answer to other than..

  4. Akhila

    Shatara… searching for the meaning of life would the most meaningless activity. I have started to feel like this is all just random or pure coincidences..nothing is related.. I know this is counter to my own previous thoughts as “everything happens for a reason”…. and now I am in a grey area of these counter thoughts… They are pulling me to both sides.. randomness or cause- effect relationships, which rule the world?

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thank you for commenting, Akhila. It can be that for you at this time your in-between place is where you should be so you can look at both sides and see if you can find a third interpretation! I’m nearing my departure time and being able to look back and say, ‘that was meaningful’ is somewhat important. It tells me who I am. We are, I believe, our thoughts and experiences. How much of those can we claim to have been the originators or creators of? I don’t want to be just bits and pieces of other people…

  5. Hyperion

    Beautiful, thoughtful, reflective. Just some words that come to mind when I read this poem. I get you, our at least I think I do. My horizons are closing in rapidly, my cosmos is shrinking dramatically. The meaning of life is often searched for in the context of being human when the meaning of life that I have come to know has little human component to it. Is it life as life exists or is it life as we know it. I think we can examine both and find our own comfortable solution. I consider myself as a strange being as comfortable with ancient alchemy as I am with the bleeding edge of science and technology. I seek a noble path while admitting to taking part in the worst sins of man. In both extremes, I found an answer for myself and that answer changes nothing in this world or universe except how I perceive it. So, what I’m rambling about is just to say, you probably already have discovered what you are looking for, it just may not fit well with what your senses and highly evolved intuition tells you. When we seek the holy grail and can’t find it, we want to say it doesn’t exist but in truth we search in the wrong place and grow weary of the search. Much like Don Quixote, The Man from La Mancha, whom 400 years of study has concluded he was a pathetic and foolhardy person. I think not. He was the last chivalrous knight searching for chivalry everywhere but in his heart where it died with him.

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Hype. For me life is everything but unless I place myself meaningfully within that everything I remain a nonentity and I can’t accept that – it’s a denial of my basic humanity to not exist as a definite entity separate and different than all other things that exist. I was told that once awakened to the greater reality of humanity beyond Earth we are intelligent, sentient and self aware beings. We are thus individuals with real choices and powerful voices that no amount of collective noise can drown out. Chivalry – compassion – is not out there, it is within me. That is my grail. I claim it and for now it will have to do. It’s not yet the answer because I have yet to formulate the question, but I’m in the “right” direction. Some day I will finish that poem!

  6. Neelam

    I guess there’s no meaning to this existence unless your soul is liberated from this “samsara” through “mokhsha”.

  7. Sha'Tara Post author

    In my personal philosophy, there is always meaning, always, for life cannot exist without meaning, or purpose. I have a view of life from experiences travelling astrally into the timeless cosmos as a process within infinity with no actual beginning and no ending. Reincarnation need not equate fruitless repetition, nor the vagaries of transmigration due to karma. The certain “way” to end karmic cycles is to confront that which we believe is greater than us (example: divinities) by cancelling out, or having one’s soul removed. Only the soulless can ultimately be free since the soul is nothing more than a controlling implant designed by our makers to keep us forever within the bonds of karma or mindless repetition of destructive and dysfunctional activities.


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