President's Column - August 2002

A Corridor of Life
Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D., C. Psych.
President, International Network on Personal Meaning
Coquitlam, B.C., Canada

"It is a festival, a celebration," exclaimed Teresa, Coordinator of Volunteers, at the end of the Meaning Conference.

In deed, the Conference was a festival of meaning, a celebration of life, very much as the late Dr. Joe Fabry and I had envisioned during my last visit to Joe at his Berkeley home.

The inclusion of life music, art exhibits, luncheons, and various informal gatherings has added up to a very positive experience for attendees. I think we have finally found our voice in the crowded world of conferences. It is a voice of hope, compassion and idealism.

Because of the conference, I have been interviewed by a number of reporters. One of the most frequently asked questions is regarding the nature and purpose of our conference.

My last interview was with a reporter from Santa Barbara, and he questioned me for an hour about the conference, the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) and my vision.

These interviews have forced me to articulate my vision in simple and graphic terms. The metaphor of a corridor of life seems to fit the bill.

Imagine a corridor of life through different types of toxic cultures, which threaten human existence. "This threat is no less than global warming," I told the reporter from Santa Barbara.

On one end of the spectrum, we witness unbridled greed, materialism and debauchery. In their cutthroat competition to gain the whole world, many have lost their souls.

On the other end of the spectrum, we see various sorts of extreme, oppressive fundamentalism. In submitting to authoritarian control for a false sense of security, many have lost their identities.

Enter the corridor of life! It is meant to a safe haven, where hurting people can find hope and meaning. Hope is the oxygen of life, whereas meaning provides the reason for living.

It is also meant to be a passageway for all those who weary and lost, and those who just need a rest on their quest for meaning and spiritual fulfillment.

More importantly, the corridor serves as a base, from which we function as the light and salt in transforming the toxic cultures around us.

The corridor of life connects people, who share an existential orientation, who care about what really matters in human existence - freedom, responsibility, justice, meaning, authenticity, peace, and spirituality.

Through strategic alliances with other organizations, networking with concerned individuals around the world, we try to create an alternative, healthy, positive culture through our website, publications and conferences.

This vision of a corridor of life can become a reality, only when people realize the danger of toxic cultures.