Whats the meaning of life?
Whats the meaning of life?

Meaning of life is an eternal theme that is equally important as the whole life. The quest for finding a meaning of life is common to all people because it is an innate and natural quality inherent to every person. As a rule, it remains deeply hidden in the subconscious world, and it can be difficult to explain and articulate to what people are actually committed and what they want to understand. There are a lot of thoughts and ideas concerning the meaning of life. Some people can search it by means of religious beliefs and values, while others can find it in their life experience based on their knowledge and opinions. For some people, it can be a way easier not to think about the question concerning the meaning of life at all. The problem of searching the meaning in life is eternal and humanity will be in constant search of the solution to this question. Many people – many minds; it is a saying that perfectly characterizes a long list of ideas referring to searching of meaning in life.

When behavior and actions of a person have no meaning, it automatically affects the quality of one’s life. Life without sense means that a person is deprived of deep inner motivation, inner shaft and a powerful engine inside that would allow him/her to take the destiny into their own hands. As a result, the person becomes weak, loses support, and in such a case certain adverse situation in life or certain problem may lead him/her off balance.

Such life also becomes easily manageable because absence of a strong sense deprives people of life criteria and aspirations. As a result, there appears affected personality, with no trust in his/her abilities, talents and potentials.

One becomes an easy prey of those who need people of a weak character to achieve their own selfish goals and satisfy their interests. The person becomes easily influenced and it is easy to convince him/her in anything, while any other person’s opinion, view or outlook is immediately perceived by such a person as his/her own. Instead of deciding and choosing their own fate, people are influenced by others and external circumstances.

Life without meaning is often a warning sign that a person is deprived of the responsibility for other people. There is a kind of blindness and deafness to the pain of others and other people’s needs.

Those people who want to take the meaning of life as external authority end up with the meaning of life taking its own arbitrary nonsense.

People just do not see any sense; all forces are concentrated on a single object, which becomes the center of life and is realized in their own personality. It is a good diagnosis as apparently, the man still cannot answer the question of who needs him/her and whether his powers and abilities can bring to the rest of the world some good. Namely, it is always a major source of confusion, internal problems and instability.

Anyway, human life should be meaningful. But behind this seemingly simple statement there are lots of questions to which there have not yet been given a clear answer. A person must give his/her life a certain sense. But should it be some purpose and aspiration, or should there be a straw which one could grasp? Is it possible to have any target or any task that can be called the meaning of life? Does it ever make sense in life to be good or bad?

The meaning of life is something purely internal; does it emerge due to the experience of a person or is it something coming from outside or something that has been prepared by the heaven for every person so that in fact nobody is free to choose as all the choices have already been made before the birth of this person?

Particular era, philosophy or religion, to which a person belongs, has an impact on the formation of the question of meaning of life that someone may have. A considerable role is played by the person’s erudition, his/her talents and abilities. Is it possible to say that everyone has their own meaning of life and can it be said that most people know the meaning of their life.

Speaking about the meaning of existence, people turn to something deeper and more intimate, to something going beyond the life of a particular person, his/her personal problems, goals, inclinations and capacities. It is possible to think about religion or world view regardless of age. There are some universal eternal values and eternal knowledge, uniting different people. It is also possible to say that the meaning of life is in the pursuit of the above mentioned eternal values that people attempt to understand.

The nature and the inner voice of every person matters even more than all possible answers to the above mentioned questions. The clue is not even in their personal answers, but there is a slight hint of a long and not ending path of search. Every person has to search inside personal thoughts about his/her place in the world, his/her involvement in everything that happens on the Earth and in the universe. This path has its stages, its difficulties and trials; it is not full of solutions but it is rather full of hard and easy decisions to be made. The main thing is to follow the road in life and never stop, as well as not to stop looking for solutions and new ideas.

Some people consider life as an invaluable gift and try to live it to the fullest. This is a specific philosophy, the concept of meaning which is seen as the essence, the basic idea which defines the purpose of anything, event or phenomenon. True essence is not possible to see as it is not always available to read. Nevertheless, people always form a definite idea and opinion about the surrounding world.

Most often, it is considered to be the meaning of importance of objects, events and phenomena that provide the idea of living quite a bright life full of events, and depending on the degree of his/her own understanding and the level of importance of some event or object.

For example, a dull-looking thing to one person will probably be bound to nothing and will not tell or remind about nothing, and for another one it will be filled with special meaning, because it reminds him/her of being dear to someone or means some important event or experience. A classic example is the tradition of giving gifts to each other. After all, a gift is valuable not by how much money was spent on it or how fashionable this thing was, and despite the fact that a person invested in it.

The one thing that Michel de Montaigne and Stanley Appelbaum said in the Selected Essays: “Our Opinion of things is a powerful factor, bold and immoderate”. It means that human mind is one of the most powerful and influential substances. Human mind can give the meaning, power and force to anything on earth. The best thing is that not all people can understand this fact easily and well enough and this leads to the fact that most people are in search of their power despite knowing that this power is inside them. People have eyes and they are blind at the same time. This blindness can be overcome only by significant mental labor and readiness to devote time to thinking and finding the right answer and key to opening this eternal secret of the whole mankind.

By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system. Here is expressed a bit different point of view rather than the meaning of life that have to be searched in every person in particular. Human being as a social creature has to be creative and social, which means that the world is open to the discoveries and people are free to learn new things and experience new emotions. Similarly, all people can share their emotions, feelings and beliefs with others and make them believe in some special things that make human life full of bright colors and let the person feel the life by every particle of his body and soul. The world is free and every person can be free inside this big world. It can be good advice for those who cannot find the answers to their questions based on the existing knowledge as they have a vast area to search for the necessary keys and answers to answer the main question of the mankind – what is the meaning of life.

The main thing is love that was given together with the gift and the need to transfer something from heart to heart and share other feelings, wishes and thoughts that charge a gift with special kind of power.

Similarly, the value of all people’s actions, every action, and every decision is not inside them. All this is attributed to the fact that people invest in actions and decisions, and only in such a case they make sense. On the one hand, this has a special meaning of committed acts and deeds and made decisions. On the other hand, it is made up of the whole palette of feelings, states, overcoming some problems and appropriate awareness which are born out of this.

Another idea is that meaning of life is to bring benefit. Some people consider themselves objects that are determined to leave something after their life on the earth in the form of new life. Some people try to dedicate their life to others; some decide to sacrifice their personal life for gaining valuable knowledge and making useful and great deals that will serve humanity even after their death. Here it seems that the first concise answer to the question of what the meaning of life is can be revealed.

It is revealed through value which one attaches to every action, deed or decision. This value is not speculative; first of all, it encourages aspirations and needs of the heart. Wealth of the heart is huge, and any value that can give heart to the thoughts, decisions and steps, can already be called a sense. It is important that this value should always be subconscious to every person in this world. The wider it is, the richer and more varied the meaning is.

One parable tells of a traveler, who met with the workers who were going up to the mountain top loaded with heavy bricks in their wheelbarrows. ‘What are you doing?’ - Asked the traveler. ‘Do not you see? - I carry bricks’- the man replied. After going some distance, the traveler saw another worker who rolled the same wheelbarrow, and repeated his question. In response, he heard: ‘I earn my bread’. After some time, the traveler met another worker with a wheelbarrow and again asked what he was doing. ‘Building a cathedral’ - was the answer.

As is evident from this parable, the same actions can have completely different meanings depending on what value a person attaches to them and why and to what people are committed.

The meaning of life is richer and more varied than the meaning of human actions beyond their own petty and selfish interests and the daily struggle for survival for the sake of self-affirmation. When the sense of something bigger and more valuable is in contact with the eternal issues, then the meaning of life becomes different, seen in serving the highest good and all living beings. It is no longer seen in its most important forms. This can be religion, philosophy, science, art, or something else, but the fact that people do not live for themselves, but in order to serve and bring good, reveals such facets of life, which for most people still remain a mystery.

This value cannot be imposed from the outside. This is the result of a deep and sincere internal belief and above all, a conscious choice of their life.

Another point of view on the issue of meaning of life is that it depends on the system of values. It means that the person creates his own system of values, their own world, and their world view. As a rule, this is related to myths established on the basis of world views of many generations, who lived in a certain place before and after contemporary generation of people. As a rule, it also includes the myths, slogans, stereotypes and prejudices created not in the past and in the present but during the era, in which people live. Very often a person builds the system of values based on the valuable objects and things that were preached by the dominant ideology, political system or religion, and in this case it is difficult to talk about a substantial sense of life.

If one does not have personal experience, his/her stay in this word is affected if someone else’s worldview is accepted as a matter of fact. It can also be dangerous if a person does not ask any questions so that it becomes possible to speak about a certain share of spiritual blindness fraught with consequences against which outstanding personalities and sensible people fought for many ages. The thing is that dogmatism and fanaticism always leads to a denial and destruction of the distinctive values for which the fanatics are fighting with significant zeal.

To do good things and enjoy them at the same time is a bad reputation because this is something attributed to royal people. History has confirmed a tragic fact: the simpler the idea, proposed as a slogan or ideology symbol, the more likely it is to assemble an army of followers. But unfortunately, while simplifying ideas, truth and those who understand it deeply trying to share it with their contemporaries are always sacrificed. History shows that their executioners have always been adherents of a particular ideological or religious system that has been developed on the basis of dogmatism and fanaticism, or the angry mob, led by them. As a rule, to enhance their ideas of the world, they had to choose, pursue and execute outstanding personalities.

This should be done to them because they were fighting against lies in order not to allow any stain or distortion of truth, whatever it was manifested and whatever facet of the meaning of life could be disclosed. The system of values is one of the most questionable variants of meaning of life as the system can be affected by other people’s thoughts and ideas which will not lead every person to their real destiny and most of such people will be doing things that are not good and are not intended to be done by them.

An alternative to the system of values and worldview that are created on the basis of blind acceptance of someone else’s world can be offered by philosophy. In this regard, it is interesting that thousands of years ago it was established by Pythagoras, who defined philosophy as love of wisdom.

Philosophical search for the meaning of life means continuous inner work, for which questions are more important than answers. On the one hand, it is always interesting to acquire certain knowledge, even when there is a set of facts that are perceived as "truism" or another theory that requires discussion and confirmation.

But on the other hand, knowledge as the accumulation of facts sooner or later reaches its limit, beyond which a person must admit that he/she is studying the topic that is exhausted or that a person has gained not enough knowledge while the accumulated facts require infinite expansion, improvement or confirmation. Thus, all facts are answers to the questions asked and suffered by someone else. For a person who gets them for free, these facts will always be a theory, as long as they do not affect a particular string of his/her soul, or at least until these facts become something valuable for this person or the questions will not be lived through by him/her.

It is for these reasons that philosophy offers a deeper and wiser approach: it is important to look not only for knowledge, but the keys to knowledge, to learn not only how to accumulate facts, but primarily how to look for the meaning, principles or laws reflected in these facts. When one finds the key, which reveals the meaning of any fact or theory, this means that the same principle and law can be found in other facts from completely different areas.

Moreover, any principle or law that is discovered by a person is a key just because one can learn from them and apply them to his/her own life. They can explain the causes and meanings of most of things that are happening inside a person and around, and they help to understand how to act in a given situation, and acquire much more useful abilities.

And most importantly finding the key is not a dry theorizing. Through this key a sense can be discovered. This is like a revelation that causes delicate strings of person’s soul and the heart to vibrate. First is living, and only then comes realization. First are soul, heart and intuition, and only then the mind defines what at first cannot be explained in words. When subsequently this sense is also confirmed by one’s own experience, in a variety of forms and situations, then it is possible to say that not so great the knowledge is, but the inner knowing or wisdom of the soul, which has been awakened, is greater.

And another statement: people always reveal only one meaning, principle, or key, which at the moment for some reason is particularly relevant and important for a specific person.

Therefore, philosophy argues the questions of ‘why?’ and ‘what for?’ that are more important than the answers. These questions play the role of permanent internal engine that would not work being a delicate mechanism. It is rather the mystery inherent to human nature to reveal the meaning of life in one’s heart and get it disclosed due to the sense that the heart is not open. The meaning of life and beliefs, which has been found, is firmer than any knowledge and any theory presented to him/her on a silver platter.

Different times and cultures, different religions and philosophies through the ages have given their own concepts of the meaning of life. In one form or another, everybody tried to answer the question of what is worth living, and why life is important and how to build life to become important and not to miss the real life during the whole process.

In religious systems and many philosophical concepts, the meaning of life is revealed in the context of the higher beginning and its manifestations. This includes God and the gods. The meaning of life is also revealed in the context of the laws of the universe and the evolution of all things and in the context of the Greater Good for people based on his/her virtues. This gave rise to a special system of higher ethical and moral values, the higher laws, or for someone’s commandments to be followed by people. Taking various forms, each system of higher values has the same sacred task, the same hidden meaning of life which is to become closer to God for some people or to the gods for others. It means to follow the Divine Laws or even merge with God or the divine together.

Higher values and ways in which one can get closer to God or the divine are formulated differently, but it seems that without significant controversy they reveal different facets of the same hidden meaning. Every religion or philosophical system highlights what was thought as the most important thing after all paths leading to the divine. It could be a way of perfection through liberation from the power of material world, from the power of illusion or evil. It could be a way of understanding the Universal Laws and Divine Harmony, the path of effort, the purpose of which is to live in tune with the universe and nature, and not to disturb the harmony, but to develop the virtues that make this harmony restored in the man and environment.

It could be a way of love and sacrifice, renunciation of personal interests and the personal benefits. This could be a way of saving souls through the observance of divine commandments, through the upright and godly lives in accordance with the principles transferred by religion. If considered separately in an attempt to understand more deeply any of these ways, it becomes clear that each of them in one way or another containing all other aspects.

Fairly, it should be noted that not all philosophical currents and not all philosophers searched for the meaning of life so deeply. For example, the ancient philosophers, hedonists believed that one must live for the sake of pleasures, while adherents of eudaimonism proclaimed meaning of life as happiness, and utilitarian even today believe that the highest value of life is directly notable results and benefits that can be derived from anything. In the XIX-XX centuries the initiative in studying the problem of the meaning of life was intercepted by psychologists, having pressed philosophers and theologians.

Psychologists that study the issue based on an analysis of how a particular person tries to find the meaning of life, what happens if that meaning is not found, and what general conclusions are useful for all, and what the most important and useful thing can be learned from all this. In the sphere of interests of psychology there is raised the question of how and due to what factors the formation of meaning of life happens and what influences the person acquiring or, on the contrary, the loss of meaning in life.

It was noted about de Montaigne that he wanted to know how to live a good life - meaning a correct or honorable life, but also a fully human, satisfying, flourishing one. Thus, for some people the meaning of life was in some special kind of living. This was determined by specific actions, life conditions, people surrounding, activities, status and general life situation of some person.

On the basis of numerous polls by different psychologists, the classification of meaning of life and life priorities was made. Although responses were differed depending on age and level of education, the results were overall predictable: health priorities, relationships and different hobbies were leading factors, especially for young people. Among other factors were money and material welfare, fortunately, not in the first place, but, unfortunately, not the last. Only outstanding people have first of all chosen a favorite labor and faith.

Disregarding the outcome, the answers to the question about the meaning of life can be given only by life itself. The experience of many generations has shown that the search for the meaning of life is not a question of construction of theories about their own lives or about life in general.

Meaning is revealed gradually, due to the desire to live by the desire to understand the greatest of all the arts that is the art of living in the present. Any attempts to construct the meaning of life by artificial means will be quickly refuted by life. It is possible to add the words of writer William James: ‘Believe in the fact that life is worth living and this belief will help create the fact.’

Thus, people have to understand that they have to listen to their feelings, not their thoughts and understand what they want to do in life. They have to find a hobby and passion, which will lit up their eyes and help to overcome the greed that makes them get involved in an unpleasant business. A person can be happy just doing what he/she likes.

Search for the real destination in the outside world should be carried out through trial and error. In this regard, people need to get away from the everyday hustle and stop looking for the meaning of life. Having overcome fear and coming out of the comfort zone it is essential to undertake the work which will be dear to heart.

Having found the calling, a person will begin to enjoy life and its every moment. People have to learn to think here and now and try to reflect and make better use of their lives. In order to be sincere they have to learn how to express themselves. The truth is that happiness is not all about money or pleasure, but it rather lies in the person’s destination. Now it is clear that there are a lot of answers to the question of the meaning of life. It is through finding true vocation and occupation in life, the person finds his/her own meaning of life. The meaning of life of every person is unique, so it is necessary to be able to truly express own self.

In the life of a person who found his/her destination, there is no difficulty; the life is easy. Such person happily gets up in the morning in an anticipation of going to work to be engaged in a favorite hobby. It is essential to understand and accept that people should live here and now doing their favorite things.

Lately, some people like to speculate over the word ‘success’, equating it to the material oversupply, but they are wrong. Success is finding the real calling in life.

Every person should decide what the meaning of life is on their own. For some people it is a life when it is possible to think, speak and search for the meaning of life. For others it is to build a strong family that will appreciate the power of love and kindness that are given by this person for the sake of the family. For others, the main meaning of life is to reach a significant level of appreciation by a greater amount of people to become apolitical activists and promote some ideas guide the social activities. Still others consider that the meaning of life is to invent a new medicine of a new generation that will be able to save the humanity and protect it from dangerous diseases. Nobody knows their destination; people are not aware of the future but at the same time everybody can choose which road to go and what to do. Choosing the right meaning of one’s own life is not easy but this is the problem of every person. Nobody has any moral right to make other people follow some specific meaning of life because it is inside everybody and nowhere at the same time. The world is big and the search for the meaning of life is eternal.

About the author: Joseph Miller is a master in English philology and literature at California University. Joseph is currently working as one of the best writers at the He also studies feminine psychology.




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