Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Meaning of Life

           "What are your interpretations about the meaning of life? Is there one to you? If so, what is it? If there isn’t, what’s the point of being alive, in your opinion?"
              I think a distinction needs to be made between purpose and meaning because in my mind “purpose” should be in place of meaning in the question, but I will include my interpretation of “meaning” at the bottom.

              Purpose is pretty much the belief that you were meant for something and eventually, no matter what, you will achieve that purpose; it’s your destiny. Now, if we put purpose in place of “meaning” in the question it translates to there being a purpose to my life, your life, everyone’s life; however, if that were the case then we would have absolutely no choice in how we live our lives. Purpose will be fulfilled and freedom (in the form of choosing for oneself) no longer exists; this is called determinism. Whether or not there is a purpose to life is unimportant though, because if there is no purpose to life then you are completely free to do as you wish and essentially “make” your own destiny; moreover, if there is purpose then there is nothing one could do about it anyways - it will be fulfilled.

              Now, meaning is completely different because meaning is what you make of it. Life does not have meaning unless you give it meaning. Purpose is out of our mind’s realm; it’s unknowable and therefore uncontrollable as well. But it’s not about control, it’s about how you view things.

              So, is there a meaning to life? I can't answer that on your behalf. But for me, the meaning of my life is perspective. I'm always curious about what others think, why they do what they do, what they believe in, how they see the world, etc because if I can compare, include, fuse, understand their perspective then I will have also broadened my own scope at the same time. For my actions alone, I act the way I do because of how I view the world - generally, I try to see things in a positive light and as a continual process of “growing.”

               For the last part of the question: "If there isn't [a meaning to life], what's the point of being alive...?" Stemming from my descriptions above, if there was no “meaning” to life then life would not be life as we know it. The meanings you give to the "small things" in life are usually linked to the meaning you give to life in general. "What's the point of being alive" without meaning? If there was no meaning there would be no point, but that is life; there will always be meaning because we humans always place a meaning on things - nihilists themselves give meaning to no meaning. So, simply answered; there is no point of being alive without meaning. But a harder question that stems from that answer: What kind of meaning are you going to place on life?
Life is all about perspective.

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