The question of what is the meaning of life has been considered by philosophers since the beginning of time. Even our cave-dwelling ancestors probably pondered this very question as they were about to be gobbled up by a hungry T-Rex… Thinking “What’s the point”…chomp!
Religion gives us answers to this question by telling us that we have a specific purpose or mission in life but doesn’t go as far as telling us what that might be.
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 our nutritional farm animal role.
The great philosopher Plato never really came up with a clear answer either by stating that man is;
It’s not the most helpful of responses as it raises more questions than it answer’s. Does this mean that our purpose in life is to be forever searching for meaning which is a never-ending task?
Positive Psychology suggests that meaning in life can be achieved by:
Whereas 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 this most important question. This means that we need to apply some Clever logic and approach this question from a different angle.
The Problem is that the question refers to the ‘meaning of life’ which is a generalization of life and all living things including trees, and even amoeba. This is because modern society has a fixation on neatly fitting things into boxes to meet specified criteria. This ‘one-size fits all’ simply doesn’t work in our fluid human existence.
Working with the belief that there is a ‘meaning’ to life but it is not possible to give a generalized (includes everyone and everything) 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.
We can go on with a long list of what makes us individual, but you get the idea. We are individuals.
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 than enables us to find our own answers.
Here are some Clever pointers to help you find 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.
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 pointless trinkets are not the things in your life that raise those deep emotions which will stay with us forever.
The problem now is that we are not able to think of what really puts meaning into our lives. We have all been conditioned from birth to believe the latest mobile phone, newest car, biggest house or highest promotion is what is important to us and gives meaning to our lives.
Think if the good memories you have. The events that were important to you and then think ahead to the next 5, 10 or 20 years. Ask yourself what can you do to increase these moments?
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. They dont include the pressures of work or the daily worries and chores most of us spend much of our life on.
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. 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)