I was very excited when I chanced upon The Meaning of Life by Bradley Trevor Grieve on the shelves of the Book Exchange Corner at the Bishan library. It is compact and full of beautiful photographs. (There is a photograph on every page, even the Prologue.) It is as close to a ‘picture book’ for adults as you can get.
Instead of answers, as one would expect from the title, it is actually a book about questions. Some of these are:
# Why are we so overly impressed by and obsessed with objects and achievements of immense scale, when it is actually the tiny little things that, when put together, make big things possible?
# Why do we try to create our own little worlds so we have the illusion of being completely in control of our entire existence, when we know with absolute certainty that we are not?
# Why do we go on and on about individuality being the very essence of who we are, and then accept a degrading level of conformity in virtually every facet of our lives?
# Why do children believe in fairies but “grown-ups” don’t?
# Why do we get so hung up on what we don’t agree on, when in fact it’s our differences that make life interesting?
# Why is it that when passions are inflamed we choose to argue and fight, when dancing the cha-cha is less injurious, far more enjoyable, and equally effective in resolving the tension?
# Why exactly are you here? What is it that you truly love?
# What are we actually doing?
# What is your life’s passion?
The author acknowledged that all the photographs were sourced from various individuals, agencies and libraries (in Australia) and he thanked them for allowing him to merely “piggyback on their immesurable talent”. However, I think the author is talented and creative in his own right by putting very apt words and using interesting photographs on such a profound topic.
I was surprised to discover that this svelte volumn was published in Singapore!