30. Oct, 2020

The Purposes of Life

I came across a wonderful quotation from Goerge Bernard Shaw's "Epistle Dedicatory," Man and Superman:

"This is the true joy in life:

being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one;

being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.

I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."


I could not agree more. The purposes of life are often very different from what we conceived of as children or teenagers, or even from the prescriptions we bought into and accepted from various authorities at various stages of our lives.

"Community" I intend as different from rigid social structures, much in line with anthropologist Victor Turner's concept of communitas: a place where individuals can thrive both personally and together with others.

The benefits of growing up and older are the possibility to wisen up, to get rid of all the useless debris we used to carry around without even realizing it.

To stop saying "me" or "they" all the time, and start saying "You and I."

Beyond easy polarizations, we can start building communities that reflect the new urgent shift in consciousness and practice we are called to in all endeavours and fields of action.

Thus, yes, I too carry the "splendid torch" of life for a moment and want to be totally used up by love, passion and belief in something great that encompasses me and the communities I belong to. To restore balance, respect and honour among people and between nature and humankind.

I am convinced the integration of expressive arts, digital and civic competences and creative thinking can equip people throughout their lifespan to live a better, more empowered and empathetic life, a more self-actualized life.

In my work both with teens and adults, I pour my passion for the (im)possible... to envision new solutions and processes to recreate the way I live and to show that we have choice and agency, we can live and perceive our lives in new ways, that we can and should be creative with designing and responding to our lives. Life does not happen to us... we happen to life!

Photo by Brian Ceccato on Unsplash