This is a Biblical quotation. The full quotation reads: “Man shall not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceedeth of the mouth of God”. Food is necessary to exist but mere existence cannot be the be-all and end-all of life. We eat in order to live but life is a means and not an end itself. Bread is like a staff and support to help us reach our destination. Man does not live simply to eat and drink. Eat, drink and be merry cannot be the aim and objective of life. We share the need of food and shelter with all other animals. But man is the crown of creation. God has created man in his own image. His intellectual and spiritual capacities and capabilities are limitless. There cannot be more majestic, wonderful, awe-inspiring and valuable thing than man in the whole creation. He signifies the ultimate in creation. Then, how can he be satisfied with mere bread?
Man is an intellectual being. His intelligence urges him to probe the mysteries of nature, To conquer the elements, reach to the moon and planets and go beyond them. It wants to unravel the mystery of life, death and creation. It inspires and stimulates him to evolve higher and higher and still higher till perfection is achieved. His Hunger for knowledge and thirst for enlightenment know no bounds. Even the sky is not the limit for him. His spiritual, ethical, aesthetic, social, cultural and technological urges are two strong to be resisted. He wants to create wonderful, fantastic and very beautiful things. He dreams of making a perfect example. Satisfaction, in ordinary sense, is not his cup of tea. It belongs to animals and beasts.
Had he being satisfied with the gratification of his senses alone, there would not have been such great religions, literature, piece of wonderful art, cultures ever reaching to greater heights and so wonderful technological, scientific and industrial advancements. He could have then not planted his foot on the moon or probed Mars and sent flying machines far beyond the planets. Today he is master of all that he surveys only because of these deep urges to reveal the secrets of nature and spirit. No doubt, man was at first a savage animal like all other animals. Then he lived in caves, under trees, covered himself with barks and leaves and satisfied his hunger by eating flesh of the animals. But is was just a beginning Of the long and triumphant march- a march from savagery to civilization, culture and great spiritual heights.
Obviously, Bread is important but not all important. Bread sustains us, but the purpose of life is far higher, nobler, subtle, refined and wonderful. Life becomes worthy of its name when it is dedicated to nobler aims, activities, achievements and struggles. Man is by nature a dreamer, an idealist and prophet. He wants to translate his dreams into a reality. He does not treat life as an empty dream. It is not a walking shadow or a poor player signifying nothing. He is ready to lose his life to discover its real meaning, to lace it with a nobler purpose and significance. Life of man anticipates all these and much more. Food, shelter, clothing are a mere Staff and man never wants to turn them into a crutch. He knows the difference between a mere tool and the higher goals it is meant to serve. He can never be satisfied with a good length of life but believes in quality, in its meaningfulness and which is why there is so much struggle, efforts, exertion and sweat. Man search for the truth, the ultimate reality leads him to higher and higher steps of evolution. He knows how to live but still better he knows how to die. He eats to live but never lives to eat.