RECORDING: You have reached the offices of Meaning of Life Industries. This phone call may be recorded for quality assurance. Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed. So that we may direct you to the proper department, please select from the following prompts.
Dial 1 if you have questions about religious conceptions of existence, social ties, consciousness and happiness.
Dial 2 if you have questions about the pursuit of well-being and the related conception of morality.
Dial 3 if you have questions pertaining to the purpose of life and how it may coincide with the achievement of ultimate reality, or a feeling of oneness, or a feeling of sacredness.
Dial 4 if you have questions arising out of the fundamental disharmony between the individual’s search for meaning and the apparent meaninglessness of the universe.
Dial 5 if you have questions about the premise that the happiness of the individual person is inextricably linked to the well-being of humanity, as a whole, in part, because humans are social animals, who find meaning in personal relations, and because cultural progress benefits everybody living in the culture and which largely translates as ceasing to endlessly reflect on the self, instead of engaging in life and which on the whole results in the therapeutic response that the question of the meaning of life evaporates if one is fully engaged in life.
RECORDING: Or, you may dial zero at any time to speak to a customer service agent.
ME: Dials zero
AGENT: Hello, thank you for calling Meaning of Life Industries, this is Raju, can I get your name please.
AGENT: Hi Steve, how can I help you today? Do you have a philosophical question concerning the purpose and significance of life or existence in general?
ME: Ummmm…. no, I’d just like to talk to someone.
AGENT: Okay, I can help you with that. Are you trying to understand how scientific contributions can focus on describing related empirical facts about the universe?
ME: No… umm… I don’t think so… I’m just feeling kind of lost some days lately.
AGENT: I understand… I’ll be more than happy to help you with that. Are you having questions about the symbolic meaning, ontology, value, purpose, ethics, good and evil, free will, conceptions of God, the existence of God, the soul, or the afterlife?
ME: No… ummm… uhhh… none of those things. I do have a job change coming up…
AGENT: Okay, it would be my sincerest pleasure to help you with that. Do you find yourself focusing less on humankind’s relationship to God and more on the relationship between individuals and their society?
ME: Uhhh… no… uhh… I’m not sure about that… I write a blog called Brown Road Chronicles and I feel like somehow I should try to take it to the next level… whatever that is.
AGENT: Okay, I am driven with intense joy to help you with that. We find that is common amongst bloggers, that a lot of them start writing because they are searching for something more meaningful. Let me ask… are you aware that happiness depends upon being self-sufficient and master of one’s mental attitude while suffering is a consequence of false judgments of value, which cause negative emotions and a concomitant vicious character?
ME: Ummm… uhhh… I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that… but my wife thinks maybe I’m just having a little bit of a midlife crisis.
AGENT: Yes, I understand… and I would be incredibly, fantasmically, delighted to help you with that. Steve, I think maybe we should schedule an appointment for you to have a consultation with one of our Meaning of Life Associates. Do you have a preference who you’d like to see?
ME: Ummm… no… I don’t know who the choices are.
AGENT: Well, our current staff includes Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Kierkegaard, Epicurus, Nietzsche, Camus and Confucius.
ME: Oh my… I didn’t think all those people were still alive… are those people still alive?
AGENT: No sir, they are not alive… our actual Meaning of Life Associates are… well… we call them “philosopher helpers”… kind of like the Santa Claus you’ve perhaps seen at your local mall.
ME: Oh… okay… well, I don’t know… I guess whoever is available.
AGENT: Okay, good… my whole human consciousness and purpose of life thrives on me helping you with that. We can see who has an open appointment available. Do you have a preference of which facility you would like to visit… Mt. Everest, Kilimanjaro, Fuji or Kangchenjunga?
ME: Kangchen… what… I’m sorry, what was that last one?
ME: Oh my… where is that?
AGENT: That would be on the border between India and Nepal.
ME: Oh my… ummm… isn’t there anything closer. Don’t you have any offices in Michigan?
AGENT: No, I’m sorry sir, all of our offices are at the tops of mountains. I’m pretty sure there are no mountains in Michigan.
ME: Oh… I see… well, I’m sorry, I don’t think I can get to any of those places… but thank you for your time anyway.
AGENT: Well, I’m sorry I couldn’t help you sir, if you’d like I can transfer you to our automated Meaning of Life, self-help line.
ME: Okay, I guess that would be alright…
AGENT: I’ll transfer you now, thank you for calling Meaning of Life Industries.
RECORDING: You have reached the Meaning of Life Industries automated self-help line. Due to an overwhelming volume of bloggers calling our lines, we are experiencing excessive delays. Approximate wait time is ten years.
Or, you may dial zero at any time to speak to a customer service agent….
*Thank you to Wikipedia for clarifying what the meaning of life… really means.