News June 2011

The meaning of life

If Monty Python were to be believed, then the meaning of life is ’42’. This rather simplistic view on such a deep philosophical subject had us all laughing at the time, but didn’t really answer the question. It would appear that many people are currently searching for their own meaning to life, judging by the number of self help and motivational programs being offered for our enlightenment. Why are we here? What are we doing? What and who do we believe in? Where did we come from and how did we manage to get it so horribly wrong? This is our starting point, based on our current knowledge.

What if we started from somewhere else, a new or different viewpoint from an advanced culture with thousands of years of wisdom and knowledge to draw from. A people unadulterated by our western culture who developed in a completely different way, based on their own set of circumstances. A people who learnt to adapt to their situation and life’s continual trials that required the very best of minds to overcome. A people adept at taking ideas, refining them, modifying them and coming up with solutions so revolutionary that they defied the understanding of the ‘educated mind’. A people who taught us the fundamentals of aerodynamics, a people who invented ways of living and surviving in the harshest of environments.

If these people existed, what could they tell us? How would their knowledge impact on us? Would we listen and increase our wealth of understanding or would we believe that we are still right? While they would be taking all the good that we have to offer, and adding it to their basket, increasing their skills at the same time, would we be learning from them? Of course we would, it is in our nature – or is it?

These people do exist, they have been around for thousands of years. They developed a way of life that enabled them to live and enjoy everything that was given to them on earth and spiritually. We thought that they were ignorant, no more than stone age people – yet the Indigenous people of Australia were and are a race so advanced that we are still attempting to catch up. It is this quality, dwelling deep within the psyche of the modern day Aboriginal, that has allowed him the Victory over Adversity, for he may have understood what was happening to him and accepted it, long before we realised just what we were doing. As Oodgeroo put it:

Son of Mine, 1960

I could tell you of heartbreak, hatred blind,
I could tell you of crimes that shame mankind,
Of brutal wrong and deeds malign,
Of rape and murder, son of mine;

But I’ll tell instead of brave and fine
When lives of black and white entwine
And men in brotherhood combine –
This I would tell you, son of mine.

– Oodgeroo Noonuccal –

(1920 – 1993) known for most of her life as the writer, painter and political activist Kath Walker, Oodgeroo resumed her traditional name in 1988


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