A man's life is 50 years
In the universe, what is there but
dream and illusion?
Is there any born that does not die?

Even the 50 years of a man's life,
is short compared to that of this world...
Life is but a dream, a vision, an illusion...
Life, once given, cannot last forever...

Two translations of "Atsumori" by Oda Nobunaga, Japanese Daimyo (1534-1582)

What a jewel to own. To embrace fully. Since my early teenage years this poem has echoed in my mind. I was not shown this path. Every meaning of life I have ever seen fails to manuever through the logic of this poem. The contemporary idee franca, if you will, can be thought of as the goal-theory. Set your goals: career goals, personal goals, fitness goals, awareness goals. I've heard a similar plan described as "breakthroughs." This theory never approaches what's after the goals. Or the reason to set goals. Why struggle and strive to achieve a goal--for the sense of satisfaction, only to set another goal? Sounds like hedonism to me. Smug satisfaction addicts. Perhaps the purpose is setting goals for the sake of goals--logic held together rather tenuously. So tenuously that most people would fall flat at the fist sign of failure. No one continues something just for the sake of doing it. If this were true with our goal-setters, they would be entirely spontaneous and utterly ineffectual. The goal setting postulate hinges upon self love. The same force which propels the greedy propels the achievers. There can never be enough achievement--they set two goals at once, they marry personal with career with fitness with educational. But no one ever sets a goal to end all goals. No one ever wins the contest--they must set and set and set until they suddenly die. They must endure witnessing personal, career, fitness, and educational deterioration with an accompanying drop in the height of their goals. Old age must horrify these souls. Such that they need plastic surgery, botox treatment, mid life crises, new relationships with new people, changes in beliefs, careers, location. All to foster the paradigm of progress. Every generation believes they are unique. Even Socrates thought the youth of his day were out of control and headed downward. Part of an older generations' need for self satisfaction and progress can be fulfilled by disdain and by patronizing the younger.

Times haven't changed. They are basically the same. There are just more people now. There are more idiots, more geniuses, more mundane people, but in the same proportions as always.

I posess the same secret Nobunaga possessed when he died at 48. There is no meaning. Life is a 50-year-illusion.