Debate: Meaning in Life?

By Glenn and Bryan

The most important question philosophers and televangelists can answer is the meaning of life.  They've never been able to but in this special debate for existential week, Bryan and Glenn finally answer it.  No more wondering.


Glenn: Every day of my life I wake up and hope there's a reason to get out of bed. Some sort of larger meaning, a point to all the pointless bullshit that comprises our day to day lives. But there isn't. Even though people search for meaning and think they find it in coffee, habitual marijuana usage and listening to chillwave, it's all a facade. We are animals who were created on accident and thus nothing we do can ever be right or wrong. That’s why I listen to Thom Yorke’s solo stuff and smoke pot.


Bryan: Well that’s where I have to disagree, not just with the illicit drug use and endorsement of the antimusic genre of “chillwave,” but also with the idea that life is pointless and has no real meaning. Honestly, a few years back, I was just like you: directionless, depressed, always looking for my next “high” or something that would trigger one of my brain’s “pleasure centers.” Until one day, covered in my own sick and reeking of liquor and low-end, seed-and-twig-filled marijuana, I realized I’d had enough. I’d had enough of this aimless life, full of loose women and cheap thrills. I’d had enough of nihilism and focus only on the self. I’d had enough of being a non-believer. That was the day I reached in the bottom drawer of my bedside table and pulled a dusty, neglected Bible out and started reading. I read that Bible until everything made sense, and I think it’ll make sense for you, too, Glenn, if you let it.


Glenn: I knew this was coming and I dreaded it like I'm sure you dread the apocalypse or the Blu-ray release of End of Days.  There is no god and my borderline addiction to "ditch weed" provides more meaning than your holy book.  We all walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but when we come out on the other side it's just blackness.  I’ve read the Bible cover to cover 666 times and at no point was I convinced my life had any other meaning than to satisfy all my carnal pleasures and maybe help people - but that’s just me creating my own meaning.  And before you launch into one of your classic astrological diatribes, the pretend signs based on Greek, Roman and Mormon gods do not predict my behavior any more (or better) than my psychiatrist.  


Bryan: Glenn, if you knew me or my religion at all you’d know that I HIGHLY frown on astrological divination, sooth saying, reading of tea leaves, scatomancy, or any other form of occult practice. That said, if you’ve read the Bible so much, then you’ve encountered the guiding principles of my life over and over again. But apparently you never truly noticed them, or else by now you’d know that bothering with trash hash and sins of the flesh leads to nothing but a life of misery and woe. Tell me, Glenn, do you know the story of Elijah?


Glenn: No I don’t know the story of Eiljah.  I know the emptiness of looking for a reason why I’m alive and looking for meaning in my pathetic life.  Do you know the story of Anders Breivik?  He was a man in Norway who was so convinced of the growing threat of the Islamic menace that he blew up a federal building then went to a teen camp run by the left political party there and killed over 70 innocent civilians.  He was also searching for meaning because he was raised to believe it exists.  He thought he found it and his killings were the logical conclusion of this mindset.  Please, no more Anders Breiviks and no more meanings of lives.


Bryan: Well, I do believe that the growing Islamic menace is something we should all be RIGHTLY concerned about, but that’s for another debate and another time (and probably another website; no more homefield advantage for you. I’m thinking stormfront.org). But anyway, I searched for meaning all throughout that book and I think I finally found it in Fourth Kings (as in the fourth book of Kings, not Kings that are like, a fourth a normal size or something). The story of Elijah is one of respect: respect for one’s elders, respect for nature, and respect for the possible repercussions for negative actions one may commit. I don’t see how anyone, even someone as jaded as you, could take issue with a story like that.


Glenn: I don’t visit Storm Front anymore.  My parents put a Net Nanny on our computer and the one at work blocks out everything with the word “storm” in it.  I don’t take issue with the story you’re talking about but I can’t see how it provides meaning in our life.  You say your prayers, you talk about your Bible, you talk about your Kings Chapter 4... well Glenn’s Chapter 4 (in my self-help book I’m writing to get teens out of schools and into psychedelic drugs) says there is no meaning in this life!




Bryan: Let me tell you a story, Glenn. A story about the day before I read the story of Elijah. I’m walking down the street, minding my own business, my bag of Chicken McNuggets in one hand and my huge soda in the other. It’s my life, my choices, I can do what I want. Or so I thought! As I’m walking to my home, a couple of kids start making fun of my large gut. I menacingly stare at them, but it does no good. They keep repeating their taunts of “lardgut,” “grease keg,” and “smelly old fat fart who smells like greasy cheeseburger farts” (little did they know they were nuggets in the bag. NUGGETS YOU FU... sorry). As I kept staring at them, wondering who would raise such petulant children, pondering what kind of world I lived in where a man of almost thirty years, with an automobile in his name and only two past due bills this month would suffer such nigh-constant ridicule, I hoped for some ill to befall them. Something that equaled the torment they had caused me: something merciless, ravenous, and unyielding. I imagined horrors no man would dare witness: skewerings, flailings, skinnings, maulings. All happening to these children I hardly knew, children whose home life I didn’t comprehend, whose own insecurities and fears I would never know. It was then I decided I needed to run (well, swiftly walk, I had things in my hands) into my home and start reading my Bible to figure all of this out (after eating, of course).


As I flipped through now grease laden pages, and I stumbled upon Fourth Kings and the story of Elijah, it all became clear. See, Glenn, Elijah was a man who was suffering from male pattern baldness in his later years. A man who suffered the insults of children as he walked past them, the children mocking him for his loss of hair and obvious signs of lack of virility. Elijah, unlike me, though, was a noble man, and a man whom God favored. So how did Elijah react? He wished death upon these children, much like I did. Our story differs here, though: for as Elijah was a man of God, these children did not suffer the same fate the children of my neighborhood suffered. Instead, these 42 children were mauled and killed by bears, never to bother Elijah again. Since that day, I’ve known my one desire, my one hope: to be a proud man of God who can summon bears with his thoughts to destroy those children who would insult my deficiencies.


Glenn:  And I thought I was getting a bit melodramatic by comparing the search for meaning in our lives to Anders Breivik’s homicidal impulses.  If you were trying to convince me god exists, congratulations: you won.  Now I can say I believe in him but even more strongly believe she will never give us the meaning for which we so desperate search.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t now begin training my army of bears for when I inevitable find myself in the same situation as you.


Bryan: Thank you for admitting defeat! Also, no one TRAINS a bear, Glenn: they merely deter it from mauling a child for one more day.


THE END.

6 comments:

  1. The funniest part of this debate is Glenn reinacting the classic "Austin 3:16" promo. I now find less meaning in life than I did before I read this.

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  2. We got to talk about chill wave and Elijah and bear attacks in the same debate. If that doesn't provide meaning in our readers lives, nothing will (and I win the debate).

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  3. John Candy's GhostNovember 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Dont know if this ruins the debate but as someone who is dead I can tell you Ive found more meaning as a ghost than I did with all of my acting even the best days of SCTV

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  4. Haha! No debate on the meaning of life would be complete without discussion of Anders Breivik and stormfront.org!!!

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  5. I thought if you read the bible 666 times it would open the gates of hell. So much for that goal.

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