What the left gets wrong about the meaning of life

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with my best friend who lives overseas.  She told me about someone she knew who recently passed away.  At the funeral, many people were giving heartfelt speeches about the deceased person, but my friend could only focus on the coffin.  She remembered how just the other week she was talking to that person who was now in the coffin, gone forever.  "What does it all mean?" my friend asked hypothetically.  "Why do we live if we all end up in a coffin?  Why do we keep going?"

Back in the day, before I got involved in politics, I used to ponder the same question sometimes.  The thought of death was scary and depressing.  But lately, I have too much on my hands to dwell on it.  Thirty years ago, when I came to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union, this country was very different from what it is today.  It was a much more self-reliant, united, optimistic country — a country of "go-getters."  I consider it my duty to leave this country for my kids in the same shape I found it.  If I can help make that happen, my life will not have been lived in vain.

The progressive/leftist/irreligious philosophy revolves around the belief that the world begins and ends with you.  And because the only thing that matters is your life, your goal is to live it in a way that gives the most pleasure to you.  Making yourself as happy and fulfilled as you possibly can is the only meaning life has.  "After me, the deluge," said a French king who lived his life accordingly.

But to me, it's a sad way of living.  Believing that life has no meaning beyond your own existence is not only depressing, but also factually wrong.  After all, our world was shaped by the generations that came before us.  None of us would have been where we are today if it weren't for people who lived before us.  Besides the scientific fact of you being born, to start with, they influenced the way you live today, whether positively or negatively.  The choices they made either helped or hurt your chances of living a happy life.

I often think of my own elders, most of whom died long before I was born.  They lived incredibly hard lives.  Some of them perished in the Holocaust, and the later generations lived through Stalin's repressions, famine, and communist regime.  Despite the hardships, they managed to live worthy and honorable lives, paving the way for me to become successful, or at least comfortable.  The minimum I owe them is to honor their memory by living a life that they would approve of.  And that includes keeping Jewish tradition alive in my family and passing it on to my kids.  My elders' lives matter to me, and they always will.

A Russian saying goes that every person becomes a man (read: an adult) only after he does three things: builds a house, plants a tree, and raises a son.  What do these three things have in common?  They will be around long after the person who made them happen passes away.  These things will bring meaning to the generations that will come after you.  They will make the world keep going.  That is how you leave your mark on the world.

The data show that religious people live much happier and more fulfilling lives than those who don't believe in a higher power.  Why?  Because religious people believe that life has meaning outside themselves.  They believe that their life matters to the world.  No matter how much physical pleasure you are trying to achieve, believing that it all ends when your body disappears essentially leaves you empty inside, causing sadness and depression.

Living your life in a way that makes a difference to other people around you, as well as to the future generations, is the only way that will bring you true happiness and fulfillment.  Guiding your child, supporting your spouse, helping a friend, complimenting a stranger, giving charity, volunteering, electing politicians who make positive change are the things that any person can do.  If each of us will try to make our mark on the world, the deluge won't come after us.  What will come is a better world.

In loving memory of Rimma Davydovna Kurtich, passed away June 1, 2023.

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