What do you live for?

I would like to ask this question to each and every person I encounter. I find the question interesting, and I find all the individual responses to this question also of great interest. I even have a personal theory built around this question, in that the answer to it reveals much about how the answer giver defines his or her self (consciously or not). I don’t judge based on this – in fact, as I’ve written before, I prefer not to judge at all, but rather estimate – I simply love the insights one gains into other people by asking a question as simple as this. You don’t have to be a psychologist with a fancy education, or a journalist with years of interview experience behind you, you just have to be interested.

And the question is, when you look at it, really quite simple. Some people are capable of quickly returning a simple response. Some people scratch their heads and take a while to respond. Some people get offended. Already, just by that point, much has been revealed. Some would like to first qualify the definition of the word, ‘live,’ while others will present you with a question about what the point of answering is. With people you know, you might find yourself surprised by the answers you get … or you might not be at all surprised. Ask a child, and ask an old man (although with a child, I would rephrase the question to simply ask them what their favorite thing in life is at the moment – then for fun, ask them again the following day!).

Of greatest interest, of course, is the answer you give when you ask yourself this question. Do you already know the answer? Have you asked this question of yourself before; or did the wheels start turning in your mind when you read the title of this blog post? If you have asked this question of yourself before, has your answer remained the same – or has your life since introduced you to something that motivates you even more than before? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. There are answers that might be more honest than others, sure, but no right or wrong. Even not being able to answer the question is not a right or wrong sort of thing.

As for me, it’s understanding that I would say I really live for. The pursuit of knowledge interests me little – I wouldn’t be able to sit down and say with a straight face that I know much of anything – but those things in life that I’ve started to understand have left me with a real thirst for more. Love would certainly be something else worth living for … but I’ve learned that it’s in my nature to not only want to love and feel loved, but I want to understand more about what love really is. So even here, understanding seems to be the foundation of my motivations. Wisdom, another thing I value highly, has at its core … understanding.

So, now that you’ve had a little time to mull it over in your mind, I’ll pose the question to you: What do you live for?

3 responses to “What do you live for?

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