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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Murakami on the meaning of life

The great Japanese novelist's answer demonstrates, as you can probably imagine, an interesting and unusual perspective:

“Mr. Murakami, how would you respond if someone were to ask you, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ I would say, ‘There is no meaning to anyone’s life. It’s enough to be free,’ but I wonder if this shows a lack of responsibility or human emotion.”

“My answer would be ‘That’s something to think about after you die.’ While we’re still in the middle of being alive, it’s hard to really see the meaning behind it. We’re all busy, and we get caught up in all sorts of situations. So let’s think it over at our leisure after we pass away. I don’t think it’s too late to come to a conclusion after that.”

My answer, as both a Christian and a gamer, is this: "The meaning of life is to prepare for Level Two." Which is why I don't think we'll necessarily have a lot of leisure to think over the past, unless we've been cast out into Outer Darkness.

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52 Comments:

Blogger Tetro October 15, 2020 8:10 AM  

Clever, and awesome. As a non-gamer, I wouldn't use it, but I like it.

For what it's worth to anyone here, I've recently been saying to myself, to great effect: Avoid the Second Death.

Sometimes followed by: Embrace the First.

Christ the King. Christ is Risen. Death to the World.

Blogger Zaklog the Great October 15, 2020 8:10 AM  

Your theory of the afterlife sounds a bit like Vorinism from the Stormlight Archives. Or, for that matter, the Norse mythologies.

Make it your hope
To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them;
For the end of man is to partake of their defeat and die
His second, final death in good company.
- From "A Cliche Came Out of Its Cage" by C.S. Lewis

Blogger Shane Bradman October 15, 2020 8:18 AM  

You don't get to take your money to the other side, but you do take yourself, so make sure you're in the best condition you can be in.

Blogger Balkan Yankee October 15, 2020 8:41 AM  

By Outer Darkness do you mean hell or something in between heaven and hell?

Blogger Felix Bellator October 15, 2020 8:54 AM  

And when we were cast into the Outer Darkness we realized that we had been living within His Light all along. The Darkness eternally proves, to our despair, that He does indeed exist.

Blogger Silent Draco October 15, 2020 9:11 AM  

Experiencing and sharing joy all the time will consume our attention. It's the absence of joy and Light we should fear, for eternal reflection and regrets.

Blogger Yossarian October 15, 2020 9:20 AM  

Unlike Level 1, there's no death in Level 2. Choose your stats wisely.

Blogger maniacprovost October 15, 2020 9:33 AM  

In the Odd Thomas books, that is the position of Stormy, the love interest.

Also in the Odd Thomas books, there is a secret war behind the scenes between good people and a satanic cabal of hollywood/political elites who sacrifice children.

Blogger Apoliteia October 15, 2020 9:37 AM  

[...] I don't think we'll necessarily have a lot of leisure to think over the past[...]

"Level 2" is an analogy I haven't ever had in mind for a Christian afterlife, but it certainly sounds superior (and more imaginative) to that lying on cloud playing harp ad infinitum. Always thought that kind of respite to go a bit overboard.

"Hey you, you're finally awake."

[...]Or, for that matter, the Norse mythologies.

Odin's Valhalla came to my mind as well. Einherjar of Christ. Oh yes.

Blogger RobertDWood October 15, 2020 9:46 AM  

Well put.
I've been reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn recently. After 20 years of faith it is the first time I've put significant time and study into Life:level 2. It has been rewarding and necessarily effecting the rest of my view of life.

I wish more brothers had pushed me down this path of pondering long ago, so I'll say this now: If you ignore the masters plan for you for eternity, how can you live in his plan for today?

Blogger SemiSpook37 October 15, 2020 9:51 AM  

Very apt. Makes a lot of sense. Better to focus your energies on making this the best life possible in service to God and Christ than trying to make sense of why you are who, where, and what you are.

As far as the temporal needs, now that I have children, I want to make sure they are in the best position to thrive long after I'm gone. It stopped being about me the second my eldest was created. It's not even about my legacy anymore. It's about seeing them create theirs.

Blogger Azimus October 15, 2020 9:52 AM  

VD:
"The meaning of life is to prepare for Level Two."


This explains the interactions I've had with almost every nonagenarian and centagenarian I've met. When I was young, my only living great grandparent we called "Big Grandma". I loved history, and Big Grandma was born in 1905. In the late 90's I said to BG "Grandma you lived through so much history - WW1, Prohibition, The Depression, WW2, Cold War, you must have so many stories!"

She replied "I just want to die," which was disturbing and off-putting for a tween, but now I understand - she had lived her life, to her it was the dust of the past, and she was ready for the next level. She was so close, had nothing left to do here, and was ready to move on. My wife's grandfather is the same way today. He has a more apocalyptic viewpoint, rambling about how Jesus is 20 years overdue and the end of the world is nigh - but its for the same reason. He's ready for the next level.

Blogger FredFarkle October 15, 2020 10:04 AM  

Maybe there is no afterlife. Maybe we die and our consciousness dies with us. But what about suicides? What happens to me them in level 2?

Blogger MidnightSun October 15, 2020 10:22 AM  

"Yours is to know love and serve God" in this life. In other words throughout the day in every situation you must ask yourself "What would Jesus do?" I believe once our physical body is dead our spirit (or soul) is enkindled. And either you belong to the light that is heaven or darkness that is hell. In either case, the battle continues.
Being Children of the Light we know who ultimately wins.

Blogger hideous October 15, 2020 10:30 AM  

Apoliteia wrote:[...] I don't think we'll necessarily have a lot of leisure to think over the past[...]

"Level 2" is an analogy I haven't ever had in mind for a Christian afterlife, but it certainly sounds superior (and more imaginative) to that lying on cloud playing harp ad infinitum. Always thought that kind of respite to go a bit overboard.


In the first days of the Internets (was called the "World Wide Web" back then), I was arguing with an atheist whose position was that he did not want eternal life because it would become hell for him due to boredom.
Not an original concept of course.

And what I could not understand about that was, if you believed in a God that was infinitely capable, why would you imagine that boredom could ever even be a possibility?
To tie it back to the two primal fleshly appetites, sure anyone would get tired of fish and chips everyday, but what about a truly #endless# variety of foods and flavors?
And sure, you may be fed up with #all# members of the opposite sex, but what about #that# new person you've never seen before that just walked up and smiled at you?

I don't believe there is a Biblical case to be made that we become omnipotent or omniscient.
Like Vox, I imagine the next life to be full of more discovery, adventure, learning, etc. than we can possibly imagine. Perhaps danger. Perhaps fighting (I don't imagine free will disappears, so future rebellion is still a possibility?). Perhaps endless new worlds or even universes. In fact, it's hard for me to see it otherwise...

Blogger Krymneth October 15, 2020 10:31 AM  

Apoliteia wrote:that lying on cloud playing harp ad infinitum. Always thought that kind of respite to go a bit overboard.

It's arguably outright heresy. It is not in the Bible. It is, at best, a picture drawn from a particular fragment of a verse describing a particular moment.

Heaven and the rest of life is Good. It isn't terribly well described, but you can take a guess at it by considering all the good, but corrupted, things in life today becoming good and uncorrupted, plus my guess is that there is also a lot of stuff in our future that we can't even guess at.

Blogger Zaklog the Great October 15, 2020 10:34 AM  

As far as the temporal needs, now that I have children, I want to make sure they are in the best position to thrive long after I'm gone. It stopped being about me the second my eldest was created. It's not even about my legacy anymore. It's about seeing them create theirs.

I know the feeling. Donald Hall does too.

Blogger tuberman October 15, 2020 10:36 AM  

"You don't get to take your money to the other side, but you do take yourself, so make sure you're in the best condition you can be in."

I hope you mean that spiritually and not on the literal level??

Blogger Arch October 15, 2020 10:49 AM  

I agree Level One prepares you for Level Two. The Westminster Catechism says the purpose of life is to “love God and enjoy Him forever.” I believe this is the single greatest contribution that Calvinists have made to theology. We must view the temporary in light of the eternal.

Mr Marukami said “I don’t think it’s too late to come to a conclusion after that (death).”

Sorry bub, it’s too late to think about the meaning of your life after you die. We can be born twice, live once, and avoid the second death only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ as the way to eternal life. What we do in life echos in eternity - either in the joys of heaven or the screams of the damned.

Blogger Crush Limbraw October 15, 2020 10:55 AM  

While Jesus was both Son of Man and God as Apostle John explains explicitly, Jesus's instructions to His disciples AFTER His resurrection - but before His ascension - given in Matt. 28:18-20 - surely gave us enough to do in this life - preparing us for Level 2, as Vox said.
AFTER our resurrection, there is enough evidence from the Bible that we will not only live forever, we'll be busier than ever!
As Paul said: "Follow me as I follow Christ!"
Jesus is now the authority over the entire universe - while we're not God, we surely have His example for us to follow now and the future!
So - git'er done!

Blogger Ska_Boss October 15, 2020 10:57 AM  

As a Christian and a gamer myself I like the level 2 analogy, but I keep it even simpler: the end of this life is a direction, you either go up or down. The meaning of life is how you choose which one.

Blogger tuberman October 15, 2020 10:59 AM  

"She replied "I just want to die," which was disturbing and off-putting for a tween, but now I understand - she had lived her life, to her it was the dust of the past..."

I do think that's a bit sad. I had a Great Uncle, and my sister and I used to visit his farm as kids, and we loved it and him. He was already old, but use to share stories with us kids. I remember seeing him 18 years later when my kid brother was about five years old, and my great uncle was living in a small town, and he was near death. He still enjoyed sharing his stories with my younger brother, and even tried going out to his back-yard garden to pick berries with him. He was the exception, but he was that way almost to the end, and I don't think he minded moving on either. Most people do die disappointed, and everything has turned to dust for them.

We all came from story-telling traditions, and it's great to pass the stories on to children, when they are interested.

Blogger peacefulposter October 15, 2020 11:04 AM  

I like BB's strategy on how to prepare for level 2.

Get married, have kids, homestead.

Blogger Emmett Fitz-Hume October 15, 2020 11:29 AM  

What would be a good place to start with reading Murakami?

Blogger LES October 15, 2020 11:31 AM  

Life on Earth is either profoundly meaningful or profoundly meaningless. Even atheists cannot live with the despair of meaninglessness and falsely believe they have the ability to create their own meaning. Which is ultimately meaningless.

Choose Jesus.

Blogger Homesteader October 15, 2020 11:38 AM  

Agree.

Blogger Ingot9455 October 15, 2020 1:07 PM  

Mark Twain has a story about how there'll be plenty of useful, important work to do in Heaven.
Captain Stormfield's Visit To Heaven, I think.

The idea has been around a good long while.

Blogger xevious2030 October 15, 2020 3:26 PM  

"It's about seeing them create theirs."

Yep.

Blogger Oswald October 15, 2020 4:02 PM  

God is the source of all love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness;
Jesus is God;
Eternal Life is being with Jesus Christ forever.
Level two is a place and a state.
To be with Jesus is to be with the source of all love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

Blogger Workaholic Bear October 15, 2020 4:26 PM  

I think we’re already on level 2. The demons failed the first test and that’s why they’re trying to lower our vibration amd drag us down to be like them

Blogger Yossarian October 15, 2020 4:32 PM  

tuberman wrote:"You don't get to take your money to the other side, but you do take yourself, so make sure you're in the best condition you can be in."

I hope you mean that spiritually and not on the literal level??


That's literally true and the whole point of Jesus' death. Resurrected Jesus is a demonstration as to what will happen to us, i.e. we'll come back more or less the same and we won't be able to die.

So if you're a neckbeard lardass, you'll be a neckbeard lardass forever... and ever...

Blogger cecilhenry October 15, 2020 5:20 PM  



O'Reilly has preached the anti-White agenda since day 1.

He's very careful to select his ideology to keep him on air, not on truth.


He has repeatedly said that the Founding Fathers wanted the government to sponsor interracial dances because they called this country "The UNITED States of America."

He repeats that endlessly.

When Bill O'Reilly discusses educational failure, he never mentions that some children are born dumb. He says it is all a result of bad rearing or poverty. You will never see anyone ever mention heredity in any discussion of education or any other social issue.

In a multicultural society heredity cannot exist and so everybody agrees it does not exist.

In a multicultural society race cannot exist so race does not exist.

In a multicultural society not only does heredity not exist, nobody will ever mention that it does not exist.

Bill is all on board. And he'll shut you down if you disagree---evidently even before you get to the studio.

Selling illusions you can be 'proud' of is what O'Reilly is for.

Blogger tuberman October 15, 2020 5:56 PM  

31. Yossarian

That's more Viking than Christian, as most people die as almost rotted corpses, if they die old. And, most die old today. They die as a rotted husks of what they once were. I'm currently reading "Saxon Tales," and it has King Alfred dying at 58 looking and smelling like a rotted corpse. He's the one main King who tried to unite England under Christian rule. It's easy to stay in shape up to mid-50s, today, and to stay strong and muscular well into 60's, but try and keep that up after a series of injuries and ill health that gets chronic by the mid-to-late 70's and later.

Try perspective, moron, I could bench 315 for a set of six for my 63rd and 64th birthdays, I had equal or better leg and core strength. Also, back at age 52 I had the flexibility of a yoga instructor from MMA practice. If what you say is true, everyone would want to die a warrior at an early age, kind of like a Christian Dane (Viking).

Until you reach into your 70's STFU, as you do NOT know crap.

Blogger McJibblits October 15, 2020 6:22 PM  

“Level-1 or world space is an anthropomorphically scaled, predominantly vision-configured, massively multi-slotted reality system that is obsolescing very rapidly.

Garbage time is running out.

Can what is playing you make it to level-2?”

Blogger OvergrownHobbit October 15, 2020 6:53 PM  

Further up, and further in!

Blogger Bezzle October 15, 2020 7:17 PM  

Can what is playing you make it to level-2

You'd think a game with only ten rules would be easy.

Blogger Doktor Jeep October 15, 2020 7:28 PM  

For some, the meaning of life is to serve as a warning for others.
:-(

Blogger Yossarian October 15, 2020 7:42 PM  

tuberman wrote:That's more Viking than Christian, as most people die as almost rotted corpses, if they die old. And, most die old today. They die as a rotted husks of what they once were. I'm currently reading "Saxon Tales,"

Heretic boomer identified.

tuberman wrote:Until you reach into your 70's STFU, as you do NOT know crap.

I sometimes feel ashamed for my hate of old people but then I ask myself: why didn't Jesus hang out with any old timers? Now I have my answer.

Blogger Thomas Bateman October 15, 2020 8:00 PM  

A wild sheep chase is great. 1Q84 is amazing. Long, but really fun.

Blogger A trite re-white October 15, 2020 8:22 PM  

I read most of Murikamis books before the good Lord introduced me to Vox Day... Murikamis answer any a surprisingly Christian... God is firmly in control.

Blogger tuberman October 15, 2020 9:39 PM  

38. Yossarian

Like I said STUPID.

Blogger tuberman October 15, 2020 11:36 PM  

@ (((Yossarian)))

Just went back out on Vox's article "Tolkien hated the Devil Mouse" and it appears that you were Head Gaming everyone there. Then, they decided you weren't merely STUPID, but also a Witch. You shouldn't be using Jesus's name Witch.

I'll go with what Snidely Whiplash said that day:

"Either way, your purpose here seems to be to signal your superior moral virtue. You don't have any such thing, so you can fuck right off, clown."

Blogger Dan Karelian October 16, 2020 12:17 AM  

Resurrection is as bodily as the resurrected body of Jesus. Beatific vision and all other aetherial conceptions of the afterlife are Gnostic & Platonic heresy.
However there is no reason to believe that the effects of senescence and decay are any part of the transfiguration of creation.

Regardless of their restored physique, that doesn't mean salvation for the wicked. The knowledge of His presence and the natural conscience of man are likewise restored, in full and forever.

Blogger John Rockwell October 16, 2020 12:34 AM  

In Japanese games with multiple endings it is often the choice with the normal ending or the TRUE ENDING.

The Normal Ending is humdrum life or running away into a far away land.

But the TRUE ENDING comes with Fiery Trial and great Hardships with a reward beyond imagination.

The TRUE ENDING is the most hardcore satisfying of them all in terms of challenges that must be faced. And the payoff at the End.

Blogger John Rockwell October 16, 2020 12:39 AM  

Yossarian wrote:tuberman wrote:"You don't get to take your money to the other side, but you do take yourself, so make sure you're in the best condition you can be in."

I hope you mean that spiritually and not on the literal level??


That's literally true and the whole point of Jesus' death. Resurrected Jesus is a demonstration as to what will happen to us, i.e. we'll come back more or less the same and we won't be able to die.

So if you're a neckbeard lardass, you'll be a neckbeard lardass forever... and ever...


Even better. We will become perfect in body and soul. And we will share in the Glory of Jesus Christ.

We will be recognizable but we will become the perfect ideal of ourselves.

Like the the Greek Gods are the idealized Man/Woman in terms of beauty and strength yet recognizably human.

What we saw when Jesus was Transfigured was similar to what will happen to us.

Or his glorious appearance in Revelation 1

Or to put a more lame example. Its like Super Saiyan compared to the normal body.

Blogger John Rockwell October 16, 2020 12:49 AM  

@31 Yossarian

2:03-2:23
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9dRzwAOIIs

That's is similar to how our Resurrection bodies will look.

As for the Scripture passages backing me up:

"35But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come? 36You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37And what you sow is not the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else. 38But God gives it a body as He has designed, and to each kind of seed He gives its own body.

39Not all flesh is the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another, and fish another. 40There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. But the splendor of the heavenly bodies is of one degree, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is of another. 41The sun has one degree of splendor, the moon another, and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead: What is sown is perishable; it is raised imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam a life-giving spirit."


To say that one is resurrected exactly the same as when the believers die is disbelief in the power of God and of his Scriptures.

The fat slob will be resurrected with a body with a Greek God and his glorious body will be like the Body of Jesus Christ shown in Revelation 1.

Blogger Writer of Britain October 16, 2020 12:52 AM  

Thanks for the blog post.

I have to say: I absolutely love your analogy regarding Heaven being at level 2 after the mortal life of level 1. It is a stimulating thought for the intelligent and sagacious, and a profound passage at the end of your book scathing the atheists.

A little side note from me as your readers MAY have noticed my name crop up in these comment-tic oceans. I was an atheist, myself, from, say, fourteen to twenty-four - profound years in a young man's life and finding Christ and Christianity and God, I noticed a shift in my heart. It was different to the shifts in one's heart that occur in the life of a growing man. Anyway I just thought I would add that. All the best to y'all.

Blogger John Rockwell October 16, 2020 12:53 AM  

tuberman wrote:38. Yossarian

Like I said STUPID.


Yossarian is utterly wrong.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 16, 2020 2:20 AM  

We already know Yossarian is not a Christian, see here:
https://voxday.blogspot.com/2020/09/tolkien-hated-devil-mouse.html
It's a rather short comment thread, but there are some long comments.
Yossarian has nothing of any value to offer Christians. Certainly his bizarre take on the resurrected body is not held by any Christian anywhere

Blogger Yossarian October 16, 2020 5:45 AM  

@Tuberman

Looks like your geriatric support group is here. Maybe you could give them some bench-pressing tips? They don't seem to be coping too well now that they know Jesus won't give them a 6 pack in the afterlife.

Blogger John Rockwell October 16, 2020 8:17 PM  

Yossarian wrote:@Tuberman

Looks like your geriatric support group is here. Maybe you could give them some bench-pressing tips? They don't seem to be coping too well now that they know Jesus won't give them a 6 pack in the afterlife.


Yes Yossarian. Being sown in dishonor and being raised in Glory and power is totally what you said.

Don't bullshit us Christians.

Blogger McJibblits October 18, 2020 9:14 AM  

And yet I'm still a terrible Go player. Go figure.

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