First of all, must we dedicate our lives to anything at all? The answer is yes in my view. Though I agree that there is no requirement that you dedicate your life to something, and I absolutely agree that it is true that fundamentally you owe nothing to no-one, I find it is just boring and pleasure-less to be dedicated to nothing at all.
But then what should you dedicate your life to?
God put some human beings into my care….my spouse and my children and to some extent other relatives. Therefore, my first moral obligation in life is to ensure their well-being. Add to this moral obligation the bonds of love and it is clear that for any real man, family must hold a, or the primary place in that man’s life and efforts. BUT, is it what your life should be dedicated to? In my view the answer must be no. Surely if you make your family your life’s purpose you do them a dis-service because you are not yet fully a man. To be a fully realized man you need to realize your life’s purpose; whatever it is that you dedicate your life to.
2) Race and ethnicity?
Your race and ethnicity is part of who you are. If you dis-own these things you dis-own your Self and therefore you dishonor God who created you. I recently had my DNA analyzed and discovered I am 99.8 or 9% northern European. Basically all of my genes come from Ireland. My Irish genes were also apparently derived in large part from the hunter-gatherers who peopled the island long before the arrival of the Indo-European farmers and Celts. I also have one of the highest percentages of Neanderthal genes reported on the 23andme genetics site. Again Neanderthals were primarily a Northern European people centered in the Iberian peninsula, France and of course the British isles. That’s means that my ancestry going back over 50,000 years centers on Europe—especially the Iberian, French and Irish landmass. Within Ireland my people apparently lived within central/coastal Ireland for over 2000 years in regions that are now known as County Clare and Galway. There are reliable genealogies concerning the Clan my grandparents came from going back over a thousand years—all centered on the coastlines of Clare and Galway. I have ancestors who fought with the great Irish king Brian Boru and there are castles, Abbys and churches within Clare and Galway that my ancestors built and that bear tombs with the names of some of my ancestors dating back over 600 years.
It is clear that one should reverence one’s ancestors. “Honor thy Father and thy Mother.” Politically everyone favors their own kind and that is as it should be. But should you dedicate your life to your clan, ethnic group or race? I reckon not. While you owe your clan your political blood, sweat and tears, you do not owe your clan your life…and you would be no real good to the clan if you did not realize your life’s purpose as you would be no real man.
3) Sex and love?
Most people dedicate their lives to sex, romance and love. It works for a while but if you have a feel for real manhood you soon realize it cannot be what you dedicate your life to. Sex is more fun when you need it less and love only works with two independent, NOT dependent people. you become a fully mature, INDEPENDENT man when you realize your life purpose.
4) Money and Power?
Money and power are goals worthy of a real man but if you are going to be able to use them wisely they cannot be your masters. Therefore they are not candidates for your life’s purpose. Your life’s purpose is the thing that drives you and in that sense is your master. It comes first before everything else. A real man makes money and power serve his life purpose-not the other way round.
To the religious person we owe God everything, therefore we should and must dedicate our lives to God. But in my view, that cannot be the case for a Christian. Christianity is not a religion and teaches that God intended and succeeded in creating ontologically independent entities; i.e. Persons, beings who could stand apart from God and therefore be really free. “Persons”, although creatures, are nonetheless ontologically real entities and are therefore free. We are free to choose or to reject friendship with God. We have the capacity to choose God out of love-not dependency and necessity. Therefore, God does not want us to be indebted to him. Jesus said “I call you friends, not servants.” And yet most so-called Christians continue to insist on being servile, dependent servants to God. In the end they do God a dis-service and wind up being merely religious persons—not Christians.
Because the Church is Christ’s real presence on Earth it demands and deserves service from us. Nevertheless, although the Catholic Church is indeed the mystical body of Christ we should not dedicate our lives to it. It needs friends not servants. We should put our energies into it only after our primary life’s purpose is satisfied.
7) Charities and political ideals?
Many people lead very admirable lives making the world a better place to live in. I think of scientists in this regard…the scientist who devises an effective treatment that relieves the suffering of millions is a most admirable individual. But should you dedicate your life to alleviating the suffering or improving the lives of millions? No. You can and should put significant effort into making the world a better place for others but the best thing you can do for a suffering humanity is to realize your particular life purpose.
To the extent that your art expresses the idea your life is meant to manifest it is good but most people never attain to that kind of art. Most expressive forms of art are embarrassing revelations of the artists deranged fantasies. Once again you need to make art serve you-not the other way round.
We have now ruled out all of the usual suspects for one’s life purpose’s. We cannot and should not dedicate our lives to family, clan, charities, science, politics, church, art, money, power or even God. All of these surely have claims on our love, loyalty and efforts but none of them have an absolute claim on your life…while your life purpose DOES have an absolute claim on your life. This is the central message of Christianity as I understand it. What then is your life purpose?
Your life purpose is that idea or principle that your life and your life alone can manifest. Only YOU can realize it and it is your primary duty to do so. by doing so you will save your family, clan, church, art and become intimate friends with the infinite God.