The question of what is the meaning (or purpose) of life has been considered by philosophers since the beginning of time. Even our cave-dwelling ancestors may have pondered this very question as they were about to be gobbled up by a hungry T-Rex… while wondering “What’s the point”…chomp!
Religion tries to give us answers to this question but generally tells us that we have a specific purpose or ‘mission’ in life but doesn’t go as far as telling us what it is.
There are so many possible purposes for humankind, for example; We may be here to supply nutrition to some other greater being. Sci-fi moviemakers tend to prefer this one but if it’s true then there would be little point in getting up in the mornings and most of us would prefer not to know about it.
The great philosopher Plato never really came up with a clear answer either, stating that man is;
Does this mean that our purpose in life is to forever search for our purpose or meaning in life which would be a never-ending task?
Positive Psychology suggests that:
Douglas Adams in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy simply states that:
As you can see, we are unable to get an answer to the question which means we need to approach this problem from a different angle.
is that the question refers to the ‘meaning of life’ which is a generalization of life and all living creatures. This is because our modern technology-driven society has a fixation on fitting things into boxes that meet specified criteria. This oversimplification of life is due to the need to force data into binary, on-off logic-only computer systems when we are generally illogical and unpredictable. ‘One-size fits all’ simply doesn’t exist which is why even the most powerful computer-based A. I. systems will always fail to identify the true meaning of life.
Working with the belief that there is a ‘meaning’ to life and it is not possible to give a generalized answer leads us to realize that the answer we are looking for may be specific to each individual and not general.
- Because we are all different
- We act and react differently
- We think differently
We look different…
Ask A Different Question
We can go on with the list of what makes us individual but you get the idea. However, government agencies, schools and national systems increasingly categorize us into convenient groups for their limited computer systems, we don’t fit – we are all different.
To find the answer to “what is the meaning of life” we need to change the question to make it more personal by asking:
This question enables us to find our own answers.
Here are some Clever pointers to help you in finding your answer to this question. Think about all those things that:
- Give your life value
- Give you those long-lasting memories
- Give you good, warm feelings
- Make you happy
- Make you feel good
- Make you laugh and smile
Makes you feel awake and alive.
You should also consider what you feel in your heart that is important to you.
- Is it work?
- Is it your house?
- Is it your golf clubs?
- Is it your mobile phone?
- Is it your designer clothes?
Probably not. These are not the things that you will look back on in 30 years and smile. “Ooh, remember when I had the new I-phone 4 all those years ago!” Is probably not going to be your fondest memory.
The problem for most of us is that marketing gurus exist to make us believe that their latest trinket will give meaning to our lives and we must have it! But these things only last for a short time and then they become worn, broken, out of date and eventually fail. These are not the things in our life that raise those deep emotions which will stay with us forever. (Not forgetting of course that a marketer’s sole aim is to prize your money out of your pocket and put it into someone else.)
The problem now is that we are not able to think of what really puts meaning into our lives and this is because we have been conditioned since we were born to believe the latest mobile phone, car, big house or promotion is what is important and is what gives meaning to our lives.
Try thinking about the good memories you have and events that were important to you over your past life and then think ahead to the next 5, 10 or 20 years. What do you want to be doing that gives importance and value to your life and will make you smile and feel good?
Write Your Answers.
People who have tried this are often surprised to learn that their fondest long-term memories do not include the cars, furniture and other trinkets they have owned nor do they include the pressures of work or the daily worries and chores we spend so much time on and work so hard for.
The results of research into this subject have consistently narrowed this down into three important areas:
Note that money does not appear on the list but bringing love into your life and knowing that someone is there for you whether it is your dog, friends, partner or family is commonly identified as the ultimate way of having meaning in your life.
The Meaning of Life Is Surprisingly Simple – The Atlantic (External Link)
What Is the Meaning of Life? – Psychology Today (External Link)