mean /mēn/ noun

  • the average of a set of numerical values, calculated by adding them together and dividing by the number of terms in the set.

In the history of the world (as we know it), over one hundred billion human beings have been born, grown, loved, dreamed, cried, fought, reconciled, eaten, shit, itched, scratched, fucked, aged, and invariably died. Of these billions, we only know a small percentage of who those people were and what–if anything–they did. However, it’s only a matter of time before it’s all lost to the past (assuming the sun doesn’t explode prematurely).

Observing this and everything else in our universe, we know that nothing is permanent. Everything ends in one way or another. This fact in mind, we can say quite assuredly that what we are doing every day, no matter how slight or extraordinary it may be, will someday end and be forgotten.

So, why do anything at all? What is the purpose of our existence if nothing ever lasts?

Don’t worry. I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole that is nihilism. Rather, let me draw your attention back to the word at the top of this post. You probably had a feeling it would come into play somewhere, and this is it. A mean in mathematics is an average. It is based on a group of combined numbers. A mean cannot be created from any solitary number no matter how large or small.

In just the same way, meaning does not exist in any solitary thing, person, place, or action. Only when there is another entity added to the factor can a meaning be made; a meaning reliant on all parts equally.

This is why each of us is not a universe. Despite what some might have you believe and no matter how romantic it may sound, we are, in fact, dependent on one another to add the necessary components to each other’s lives so that we might–together–create a meaning.

It is difficult, though, and at times we will inevitably find ourselves taking away from the lives of those around us. But that’s okay. The meaning fluctuates. It is fluid for all the fuck-ups and non-believers like us who insist on learning things the hard way.

And so what if the meaning changes? If it’s not what you believe it should be, then add to it. If the meaning isn’t quite how you imagined and you can’t think of a way to make it right, then surround yourself with people who will add to it. I promise, they won’t mind.

If nothing else, remember this:

Meaning is the collective tapestry of art by humanity. We cannot create meaning alone, and no one can create meaning without you.