(Opinion) There is, in each and every one of us, an endless preoccupation with signs & patterns. The sunrise, though it happens with every revolution, is a harbinger of hope. A storm cloud, though certain to appear, is foreboding of doom and malice. There are endless interpretations for the way the sky reddens, or the way your crush says your name, or for when rain falls on a day of import. Our ceaseless search for meaning arrives us at conclusions beyond reason, or condemns us to boundless confusion. A dying flower could occupy a hundred minds in a hundred different ways. Does this search for patterns — for meaning — extend beyond the confines of ‘me?’ Each of these interpretations could be considered egocentric and selfish; ‘how does this phenomenon relate to me?’ ‘What does this tell me about my life?’ Our preoccupation with signs is an unremitting affliction. It is part of everything we do, every choice we make. It is irrational as emotion; but similarly to emotion, I think it is our greatest gift. What other source is there for compassion? For selflessness? This same predilection which asks, ‘what does this mean for me’ in turn governs our capacity to think of others. We feel, empathize, and act out of our experience of meaning. What imperative is there, in the absence of any personal gain, to help another who has fallen? Other than in pursuit of a greater, encompassing sense of goodness & compassion? We help, rescue, and love out of a feeling which extends beyond the instinct to preserve ourselves. For a group of weary travelers, the setting sun is for all a warm kiss from the world. For a company of soldiers, the storm cloud is a rally cry towards an impending trial. The way our love says our name becomes purpose. The meaning that we search for becomes our imperative for living, in relation to others and to our world. It is selfish, yet selfless. Like us, the yearning for meaning is paradoxical, irrational, yet distinctly human.