Excellence Reporter: Abhijit, what is the meaning of life?
Abhijit Naskar: Life finds its meaning through every single living creature. And there are around 8.7 million species of life-forms on our planet. To all those millions of species, except one, life is all about mere survival. And the one exception, that has earned the title of an intelligent species is us, the humans or Homo sapiens. The humans are the only species that, through a long and painstakingly fierce process of natural selection, has attained the brain capacity to see beyond the primordial needs of survival. Just imagine, among 8.7 million species, only one has become smart enough to ponder over the meaning of life. This simple evolutionary fact itself implies the gravitas of human life.
The meaning of life manifests in life itself. A tree finds the meaning in air, water, soil and sunlight. A dog finds the meaning in food, water and sex. But things get really radiant and captivating when we get inside the heads of humans. A layperson finds the meaning of life in being with the family. A teenager finds the meaning of life in finding true love. A teacher finds the meaning of life in igniting young minds. A monk finds the meaning of life in discovering the inner divinity. A scientist finds the meaning of life in the pursuit of knowledge. And thus the bag of meanings keeps getting bigger and more meaningful. These meanings are what make us humans.
I am a human as well, who has evolved from the same ape ancestors. And this specific Homo sapiens, happens to be a scientist, with the prefix of “neuro” attached to the title “scientist”. So my pursuit of knowledge is in the domain of understanding the very human mind that so glorious contemplates the meaning of life. And to me, it is not really the meaning of life that matters, rather it is the pursuit of that meaning that makes life worth living. The pursuit itself gives me bliss. Each day I find something new about the mind’s affinity to meaningfulness. And with each passing day I shake off my own instinctual affinity towards meaningfulness in the hope of understanding the humanly perceivable fragments of reality.
Each day I wake up with a naive perspective of life and universe, and walk towards understanding a little more about the true nature of human perception with all its vivacious nuances and behavioral expressions. Above all, my life finds its meaning in being the thread of scientific philosophy that goes through the conscience of thinking humanity while taking away some of its inner conflicts.
~Abhijit Naskar is a celebrated Neuroscientist, bestselling author and an advocate for self-awareness and mental health. With his contributions in Science he has shown the world how the basic awareness of the brain can completely redefine our perception of life and make our daily life much more cheerful and meaningful. He is the author of many books in the field of Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience, that have garnered widespread public interest. Two of his latest books are “What is Mind?” and “In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience”. Today the works of this self-educated scientist have made it possible for readers from all walks of life, to meet face to face with their inner selves.
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