gray, stamped metal with raised hands

Yearning for Meaning

The Art of Manliness Podcast, episode #500: Let’s Talk About Death Over Dinner

“…people are deeply yearning for meaning in their lives…we live in a culture that doesn’t provide a lot of opportunity to gather in meaningful ways…there’s a deep desire, and a deficit, almost like a bankruptcy, around meaning…people will do extraordinary things in order to connect.”

-Michael Hebb, founder Death Over Dinner

Michael Hebb addressed something I’ve noticed over the past several years as things got crazier, scarier, and more unbelievably un-American. However, there are three problems with this quote:

  1. There are meaningful opportunities for connection and community that an individual can either join or start.
  2. Those people who lack direction and meaning don’t necessarily know that meaning is what they seek or need.
  3. Most people are lazy and would rather complain than create. Creating is hard.

People are desperate for meaning. It’s why they latch onto protest groups, identify with special interest groups, become “triggered,” see themselves as social justice warriors – all without researching or understanding the issues they are passionate about. They like the metoo-ness of it all; it temporarily fills their spiritual and emotional voids. But it’s not working since peace is not replacing rage.

Why the “bankruptcy around meaning?”

Why do people feel empty in the first place? What is missing? Is it related to giving up traditions, the ubiquitous fatherless homes, or the rise in atheism? Without healing the source of the problem, will meaning ever be found?

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixaba

Whatever the cause, there are many ways to make a difference now:

  • Donate
  • Volunteer
  • Encourage
  • Organize
  • Mentor
  • Teach
  • Support

You can make a difference and find meaning every day, in big and small ways. There is no reason to lack meaning.

Other than this thoughtful but inaccurate quote, this podcast episode of The Art of Manliness was a good discussion of death, stress, regret, and last wishes. Hebb encourages people to have meaningful, important conversations. Bonding over food has always worked for the people of Hawaii. Apparently, it even works to discuss the difficult topic of death.

Your Turn

What is your meaningful connection? If you don’t have one yet, what interests you?

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