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What is the Meaning of Life

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Are You a Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?

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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 108 Are You a Dr. Jekyll or a Mr Hyde? by Ernest O’Neill

What is the meaning of life? Why are you alive? That’s the kind of question we’re discussing on this broadcast at this time each day. One of the parts of life in particular that we have been questioning and discussing is the part known as the old Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. You remember Dr. Jekyll was the generous, kind doctor that was everyone’s friend, described by Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel.

Mr. Hyde was the hideous, violent, cruel hunchback creature that roamed the streets at night and turned out to be Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego or the unpleasant, dark heart of Dr. Jekyll that he was never able to show, but was always there underneath the pleasant, kindly exterior. The Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome is a name we sometimes give to the double mindedness that all of us experience at times — the schizophrenic, the split personality, the tendency to want to lose our tempers and kick everything to bits, in face of the fact that our best part wants to go gently and peacefully and construct.

There seems a destructive thing inside us that wants to tear apart the thing that the good part of us wants to construct. That’s what we mean by the Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. We’re talking about the reason for it and saying that it is found in the very basis of our creation and the very beginning and origin of life here on earth. We were made by a personal Creator.

You remember how we discussed the reasons for saying that when we looked at the order and design that is present in our world and the personableness of us as people. We concluded that in order for that to come about, since it couldn’t come about by time plus chance or by an undirected evolutionary process, it must be a process that is directed and designed by a personal intellect that is as least as personal and as least as intellectual as we ourselves are.

Then, you remember, we progressed from that to examination of history, particularly the history of the first century when a remarkable human being, that appears to us to be far more than a human being, since he had control over death and was able to overcome it and come back to life even after He had been crucified, we discovered that that remarkable human being had to be the Son of the Creator of the universe.

Unless you could designate Him as a legend or a lunatic or a liar. You had to accept that He was what He said He was. From that point we began to discuss the kind of explanation of reality that He has given us and that He has handed down to us. Of course, that connected up for us with the explanation that we get in the early books of that old book, and that old collection of books that we know as The Bible.

So, we’ve been discussing the experiences that we have in this present life in the light of that explanation of reality to see if the expression of reality does express truth about those experiences, and particularly does it answer the problems that we come up against in our present life? One of those problems is, of course, this Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome.

What we have been saying is that we were meant by the Creator to know that He loved us. You were meant to know that He loved you. You are meant to realize that you are a unique personality. There is nobody like you. Nobody. Not even your identical twin is exactly like you. Moreover there never has been anybody like you. Never in the whole world has there been anybody like you. The amazing thing is there will never be anyone like you. You are one of a kind. You are an original.

The Creator made only one of you, because He wanted to express part of himself through you in a way that He can express Himself in no other human being in the whole world. So you are unique and He really loves you — and He loves you differently from the way He loves me, and differently from the way He loves everybody else. You are really different and He loves you. He thinks the world of you.

He has made you so that you will know you are, in fact, unique. Actually you do know that. Deep down, in an egotistical kind of way, you feel you are the only one that can think the kind of thoughts that you think. Though there may be many that put in electrical outlets like you, there may be many other electricians — or though there may be many other singers who can hit the kind of notes that you hit, yet, you have the feeling deep down that nobody does it exactly the way you do it. It’s interesting that you have deep down within you a kind of conviction that you are unique.

So it’s interesting that you have deep down within you a kind of conviction that you are unique. Of course, you are. That sense of your uniqueness is part of an expression of your conscience trying to let you know that there is a Creator that has made you unique, and that does love you and that thinks of you in a different way from how He thinks of everybody else. You are meant to have a quiet sense of value, of self-worth, of self-esteem that depends only on the attitude of your Creator to you.

In other words, the one Significant Other in the universe knows you’re unique and He loves you and thinks the world of you, so it really doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks of you.

But you, of course, have not lived like that. Nor have I. We have decided that we’re not going to depend on the love of our Creator and we’re not going to depend on the fact that He thinks of us as unique. But we’re going to depend upon the world itself.

We’re going to depend upon the opinion of other people and we’re going to try to get them to see how unique we are so that we can establish our uniqueness on our own by our own effort, in virtue of our own goodness. Most of us have long ago stopped thinking of what the Creator thinks of us. We don’t really care what He thinks of us. As a result, we have a dreadful loss of identity, a dreadful problem with our own identity — with who we are, with where we fit into things.

And in order to meet that need and that emptiness and that vacuum within us, we try to establish our identity in the eyes of other people. So we at times lord it over our employees. We don’t just tell them what to do, but we try to make them see how important we are. We try to get them to respect us, not only as their authorities, but as people that are worth respecting in themselves, that have an inherent value of their own.

So we endeavour to get our employees to treat us with the respect that we feel we are due, but we never seem to get enough respect from them. We try to do the same with our wives and with our children. We endeavour to persuade them that we are pretty well right all the time, very rarely wrong. We are usually right and we are the source of all wisdom, and all strength, and all security. But somehow we are never seem to be able to get them to see it the way we see it.

We were constantly frustrated by the fact that our wives don’t respect us sufficiently and children don’t respect us sufficiently. All through our lives, right from the very early days of primary school or elementary school, when we tried to write our letters better than everybody else so that not only our teacher would give us a gold star, but our parents would think we were the best students in the class — right from those earliest days, right up from those days when we tried to do well at school, tried to do well at sports so that the girls or the other guys would look up to us, right up through when we got to university and tried to show

off by the way we wore our scarf or the way we got our examinations, right up until we found our career and our job and discovered that there we also tried to get the keys to the executive washroom by doing well, so that other people would look up to us and respect us — we have all along been trying to establish our value and self worth in the eyes of people, rather than in the eyes of our Creator.

The result is that there has grown up within us a Hyde that gets annoyed and gets envious and jealous of people that seem to be more important in others’ eyes than we are. That Hyde constantly tries to destroy the peace that Dr. Jekyll has when he realizes the truth of those words, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny and not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will, but even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore. You are of more value than many sparrows.” In fact, you are of more value than many sparrows to the Creator that made you. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.

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