Designing My Life | Part II b: Building a Lifeview Compass

Following my post on creating a Workview Compass, in the process of Designing Your Life, I've outlined below my Lifeview for the purpose of reflection and collaboration.

The purpose of creating a Workview and Lifeview Compass is to help people calibrate their life design efforts towards what they find meaningful and important.

Design thinking values 'thinking visually', which basically means getting your thoughts out of your head and onto something tangible (often through making something). That way you can discuss your thoughts with other people and improve through iteration.

Designing a successful product isn't all that different from designing a meaningful life.

Here's my first attempt at creating a Lifeview Compass:

Lifeview Compass

A lifeview compass should answer the following questions:

  • Why are we here?
  • What is the meaning and purpose of life?
  • What is the relationship between the individual and others?
  • Where do family, country and the rest of the world fit in?
  • What is good, and what is evil?
  • Is there a higher power, God, or something transcendent and if so, what impact does this have on your life?
  • What is the role of joy, sorrow, justice, injustice, love, peace and strife in life?

Below is my first attempt at creating a Lifeview Compass.

Why are we here?

We exist to discover unconditional and perfect love. God. (Agape). That which was, is and will be.

The Singularity. The First Mover. Before the Big Bang and after the collapse of the Universe. Outside of time. Not bound by space or matter. Outside of comprehension.

"The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds." — Albert Einstein

Upon discovery of this unconditional and perfect love, it is our responsibility to spread it. We share this love by loving ourselves, our families, friends neighbors, and enemies. Yes. Enemies.

When we spread this unconditional and perfect love we bring glory to love and its source, that which is interwoven into all things yet outside of all things.

This bring us into a state of unity and wholeness. Some may refer to this as Nirvana, but it is far more than the absence of suffering. It is the fullness and presence of good and perfect love. That which casts out fear.

That joy which seeks us through our pain, that joy which sorrow and loss, and pain and grief, are powerless to touch, that joy which shines through tears, and which nothing in life or death can take away. — William Barclay on The Beatitudes

That is why we are here.

What is the meaning or purpose of life?

I can't speak for anyone else, but at this stage in my life I believe...

simplified purpose map

I exist to:

  • Glorify and connect with God—that which is love

I can do that by:

  • Being a disciple of Jesus
    • Being present
    • Learning to experience and share Agape
    • Loving my neighbors
    • Serving my community
    • Giving generously to help those in need
  • Being a good husband
    • Loving my wife
    • Helping her become who she was made to be
    • Stewarding our finances
  • Providing a prosperous life for my family and my self
    • Solving complex social problems at scale while earning a sustainble income
    • Designing and building a financial system where we spend less than we earn to grow in our financial independence and generosity

What is the relationship between the individual and others?

In order to experience love we need the presence of others in our lives to show us who we are, why we are here and what we are supposed to do about it.

Where do family, country and the rest of the world fit in?

Biological family is an evolutionary structure that has successfully cultivated life and provided sanctuary for individuals for millenia.

Countries are imaginary boundaries between people that are unnecessary and at the root of much suffering, yet are likely a necessary structure given humanity's current spiritual and conscious maturity.

The world itself is the stage upon which the play of life unfolds. Nature bears witness to the wonderful miracle of life. In every cell, organism and being is the fingerprint of intelligent design.

The fact that life exists is itself evidence for a force outside of space and time. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy (disorder) in an isolated system (the universe) always increases. Yet life (order) exists in abudnance and continues to grow and evolve.

This natural phenomena is what has forced humans throughout all of time to wonder "why am I here" and provides the basis of evidence for us to make conclusions about the world, how it works and why.

What is good, and what is evil?

Good and evil diametric moral entities that provide us with the contrast needed to compel us to answer the questions life asks of us. Without these forces we would not be able to fulfill our purpose as people, to discover unconditional and perfect love—spread it, and exist as one with it.

Is there a higher power, God, or something transcendent and if so, what impact does this have on your life?

It is the incomprehensible mystery that makes life worth living, providing meaning, without which, all of life is utterly meaningless.

What is the role of joy, sorrow, justice, injustice, love, peace and strife in life?

Emotions are the colors in a painter's palette to experience the world around us and provide our own personal answer to "who am I", "why am I here" and consequently "what do I believe?"

Beliefs are models. Reality as a whole is unknowable. Beliefs are not reality. They are not facts. They are constructions

Beliefs are created. They are founded upon our experience, upheld by our tiny limited stream of attention, upon which we create theories and judgments—concluding with 'belief' and creating a stable 'reality' that to us, seems obvious.

By beliefs, I mean everything anyone has ever known. It's the story in all of our heads. The story of money, companies, nations, humanity. None of these things are objectively real like a rock or a river. These are shared beliefs that we have constructed to help society grow over the ages.

Beliefs create a shared world. They are the psychological material we use to co-create a shared world, so we can live, work and do things together. — Dave Gray in Liminal Thinking

Reflection

I've been wanting to write about this for a long time but haven't yet had an appropriate medium for doing so. It felt good to express how I view life.

Upon moving to the UK I was surprised at how many people are incredibly tolerant to all types of people, except those who hold a faith in a higher power (often referring to this as God).

The Role of Belief

It's also peculiar to me how many people posture themselves as if they don't believe in anything, as if they are perfectly rational beings who only make decisions based upon strict empirical evidence and reasoning. Behavioral psychology, economics and neuroscience (all empirical fields of study) have proven that none of us make decisions this way, let alone live our lives.

How unaware of ourselves must we be to presume that we don't believe anything?

Reading Sapiens and Liminal Thinking unveiled to me the uttermost importance of belief and the role it has played in human history. Belief isn't something to be ashamed of or afraid of. It is something to be understood and embraced, feared even.

Belief is a powerful thing and like all power we need to use it responsibly.

I would rather go the grave believing that I exist to glorify and connect with God—that which is good and perfect love, than live my life believing that all is randomness, nothing has meaning and I can do whatever I want to whomever I want because of it...

That's the beauty of believe. We get to choose (construct, design) what we believe and why.

What do you believe? What is your view on life?

I benefit from articulating my thoughts in words. If you're reading and have any thoughts to share, please do send them my way. I'm always happy to share ideas and hear where other people are along their journey.

You can reach me at john@john-ellison.com or find me on twitter (@iamjohnellison).

Cover photo by Himesh Kumar Behera on Unsplash