Meaning of Life

What’s the point?

You may ask yourself this question with even the smallest of tasks, but sometimes it goes deeper.

Is it about gaining wisdom, serving God’s kingdom, building wealth, creating good karma, or has no meaning at all? 

What other questions should we be asking?

Pluto once defined man as “A being in search of meaning.”

There are plenty of studies that have linked meaning with a variety of other benefits:

  • Psychological well-being
  • Risk for depression
  • Less prone to addiction
  • Reduced risk of suicide. 
  • More positive physical health and longevity.

The first time that the phrase “the meaning of life” appeared in the English language was in 1834.

Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus II. ix has a line that states, “our Life is a compassed round with Necessity; yet is the meaning of Life itself no other than Freedom.”

It is always fascinating that no matter the era, humans have the same inner struggle. 

If after all these years we still don’t seem to have a simple answer, then why is finding a meaning even important?

Well, it depends on your worldview.

As humans, we often look for structure, or the bigger picture, of how we live and that is where philosophy and religion come in.

All philosophies on the meaning of life seem to fall into one of the four groups:

  • life has an objective meaning;
  • life has a subjective meaning;
  • life has a hybrid meaning;
  • life has a supernatural meaning.

The objective meaning is where several commonly known philosophers fall into, and put value behind meaning. This is where Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, and many others had clear views about what sort of life was best.

On the subjective aspect, philosophies like Naturalism and Subjectivism fall. 

This means that even without God, there can still be meaning.

Everything is relative to an individual’s own desires, attitudes, interests, wants, preferences, etc.

It comes down to the individual.

The hybrid approach is known as “hybrid naturalism”. From what I’ve read, it feels like an agnostic or modern “spiritual” approach to life.

You don’t find meaning in subjective projects alone, but also don’t simply follow a divine purpose either. 

The last category is where Supernaturalism, which brings up the concept of the soul as well as the belief of god in general comes into play.

For many who believe in this, the meaning of life is neither here nor there because life is merely a prelude to some form of eternal afterlife, and this, if you will, is its purpose.

I’ve touched on Nihilism before, made well known by Friedrich Nietzsche, which is where they reject all values and religion and fall into the category of “life is meaningless”. 

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, “everything is meaningless.”

Bob Dylan’s “All along the watchtower” says, “No reason to get excited.. life is a joke.

This is more of an attitude than a theory, however.

In a nutshell the meaning of life, of our life, is that which we choose to give it. It doesn’t have to be “the” meaning of life, but just “a” meaning of life. 

Now deciding what meaning you are going to choose, is opening up an entirely different can of worms. 

I have my viewpoints, but I’m not here to push those beliefs onto you, rather, hopefully, help you find a deeper purpose.

I hope framing it in this way helps you find the answers to the right questions.