The Tao of Roark

by Peter Saint-Andre

Chapter 45: The Meaning of Life

Previous: Chapter 44: The Light Within

The meaning of life is not awareness, but action. As Roark said: "We live in our minds, and existence is the attempt to to bring that life into physical reality, to state it in gesture and form."

As Jesus said in the Gnostic Gospels: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

It is not enough to see and love the depth of all existence, nor it is enough to reason about what is great in life. I must also reach for what is highest, I must make the most of what I am and what I have, I must do my best to live up to what is good. I must aspire to constant improvement, to excellence, to whatever share of perfection I can achieve on this earth.

To stand where I am is nothing; but if I have the courage to change what I can and if I am able to reach the final expression of my highest possibility, then I will be proud to stand in the place I have reached.

Too many people die a little each day. I must aspire to live more each day. For the higher I aim and the higher I reach, the more my life is truly mine.

Just as Roark's Heller House grew from the cliff on which it was built, as if the cliff had completed itself through the building of the house — so I aspire to grow from what I was and to complete myself through the building of my character and my life. If I do so, I will have a strong foundation, I will have a root and a center and a purpose. And if I achieve this I will not be swayed by others, I will not be buffeted by the winds of circumstance, I will refuse to measure myself against others or as merely a part of some group or movement or tradition. I will live first-hand.

Just as no building must copy another, so no person must copy another. My life is made by own needs. I base my self-respect on the highest standards of personal achievement. I seek not to rule and I seek not to teach; I seek only to build and to create whatever value I can bring forth during my all-too-brief time on this beautiful earth. My most searching goals and achievements are not universal and other-directed and social, but personal and self-motivated and not to be touched.

What is the use and the meaning of my life? I am the use and the meaning.

Next: Chapter 46: The Way

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