Sunday Snippet: Stanley Kubrick

“Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation.”

It’s one of those age old philosophical questions for which no one has a truly definitive answer: what is the meaning of life? Different people seek meaning in different places. Some look for it in accomplishment and others may seek it in religion. As we get older, the more we come to realize that life may not have any intrinsic meaning on its own. Instead, the only meaning that exists is the one that we create for it.

And create we do. Through the arts, we aspire not only to capture the essence of the world around us and tell the fascinating tales of people both typical and strange, but also to find some sort of meaning through the act of creation. Stanley Kubrick was the director of so many iconic films, including A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Spartacus and Full Metal Jacket. Through his movies, he found purpose and affirmation.

The meaning of life must start from within and it is only when we realize that the universe is inherently devoid of meaning that we develop a life objective of filling that void with the meaning we create. Some may say that the search for meaning requires us to sacrifice happiness, but I’m not so sure. While it can come with strife and angst, the search for meaning can also bring about happiness when we accept the inherent meaninglessness of life.

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent.”

Perhaps the only way that we can truly discover the meaning of life is when we figure out how we can transcend life itself. In a biological sense, we do this through our children. In a figurative sense, our legacy can take on so many more forms.

For the legendary Stanley Kubrick, his legacy transcends his own existence. We still watch his films today and his influence sparked the imaginations of Steven Spielberg and countless other filmmakers in his wake. He created meaning where there was none.

The world, on its own, does not care. The onus is on you to get noticed, to endure, and to create.