By Bosun Obafemi
Life has many shades of light, it is dynamic and it is characterized by ups and downs. The unconsciousness of this at birth downplays the reality the future portends. An average, normal, growing child misconceives everything about life as fun; this is a mirage.
Life as a continuum is a journey in-between birth and death. It is a gift to every creature; its ultimate resultant effect depends on the value placed on it by the individual who owns it. Living a meaningful life, therefore, demands a meticulous lifestyle to maximize the continuum nature allows.
As a man begins to interact with the human and object factors in the world space, the realities of life begin to unfold. The inevitability of physical and mental growth set the tone for nature’s expectations from a man who intends to survive the challenges of life.
Defining what life is, could be complex. This is because there is no universal, scientifically accepted definition. However, for the purpose of this article, we shall pitch our tent with circulated scientific and philosophical propositions.
1. Most scientific definitions are a variation on life. Life is the “condition that distinguishes animals, plants, and other organisms from inorganic or inanimate matter, characterized by continuous metabolic activity and the capacity for functions such as growth, development, reproduction, adaptation to the environment, and response to stimulation” (Oxford English Dictionary). For all living beings, life begins at conception, that is, when a sperm fertilizes an egg to create life. A sperm is a living cell, an egg is a living cell, and the union of a sperm and an egg creates another living cell.
2. Approaching it from a philosophical perspective, life is about resolving the existential questions about the human condition.
The human conditions such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict and mortality are the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence. With reference to Wikipedia, Søren Kierkegaard, a theologian, proposed that each individual – not society or religion – is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely.
The duration of an individual’s existence is clouded with uncertainty; it could be long, it could be short, depending on many factors, but generally like a vapour, its existence can be terminated at any time. The Bible captures this succinctly in James 4:14 –“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the marrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away“. Many people survive the threat to life before old age while many others don’t.
Life is fragile. That is, it can be easily broken, damaged or terminated. From my interaction with different persons, I have observed that most people easily forget this reality, particularly when they are driven by selfish ambition. A greater proportion of this set of people are found in developing countries where less importance is attached to human lives. The virus devouring human lives in these countries span across corruption in private and public establishments, ethnic dichotomy, religious bigotry and ravaging poverty.
One of the ways to protect the fragility of life is by adopting the principle of loving others as oneself. If everyone adopts this, it promotes cordial relationship among everyone which creates a peaceful society where all can freely pursue visions that add more value to the life of all. Though, self-centredness as a trait is common to every natural man, research and experience have shown that man is capable of putting that trait under control.
As a human being, you must know and understand that life is transient and every action you take while you’re alive becomes your legacy after death. This implies that every man’s life is constantly under scrutiny for assessment during his lifetime and even after death. Many unconsciously abuse and misuse opportunities to register a mark of honour during their lifetime. Those who understand the limited opportunity they have here on earth are intentional about their lifetime and hence, make good use of it such that many generations after them benefit from their impactful legacies. Such individuals are spread across various segments of human endeavours.