I guess I’m on a quest for the meaning of life. I’m 42 and it’s time I figured it all out. I’m giving myself until December this year, then I’ve got to have the answer.
When I say I want to know what the meaning of life is – what am I saying exactly? Do I mean that there is one meaning for everyone on this planet? Is there one meaning to life that everyone shares?
Or, is it phenomenological and specific to each person. The point of my life might be carving wooden phallus’s to sell to villagers that will offer them to the god of fertility to ensure a good crop growing season. The meaning of your life might be helping Asian orphans find homes abroad.
I don’t know. I’m leaning toward the idea that there are both. There are two meanings of life. One is the overall meaning which is shared, or can be shared by everyone that realizes it. The other one is your personal meaning of life, the one that helps you get through 70 years of hell or bliss – depending how you view it.
Over the years I’ve lived my life with various ideas about what it means and what I ought to be focusing on.
Fun ranks highly. I’ve said in the past that fun is the entire meaning of life. Having fun has taken me through quite a few years. Most years I think. I’ve spent a lot of time in fun-mode and it worked for a long time. It’s an outrageous good time in the present moment and gives me great memories, but having fun most of your life doesn’t prepare you for the future at all. Fun is for now.
Is having as much fun as possible during life the real meaning of life? In the past I might have said yes. Today I think that while it’s a part of life that must happen, must be sought-out I think that having fun is just a part of life, not the meaning. A life of fun is rather selfish and I’ve since decided and I can no longer focus 95% of my life on having fun and know that I’m doing the most I can with this life I have.
Some people live their lives for God. Whatever god they choose is irrelevant. They live their lives according to stories that someone told them that make enough sense that they pour all their beliefs into one basket. People living their lives this way are relying on a morality that was already decided for them. A complete lifestyle that was decided for them. Their church, a book, other followers of the same god dictate what right and wrong is and believers follow it. To most believers the point of life is total (or as much as you can) dedication to whatever god being worshiped.
For a short time I thought some God or religion might be the answer too. It didn’t take long to realize that it was too illogical to believe in something I could neither see or interact with. Religion doesn’t do it for me. There might be a god. There might be a hundred. I don’t know who they are and they aren’t all that interested in 2-way communication so I’m pretty firmly convinced that religion and dedication to a god, spirit, book, religion, or other group based on beliefs of the past or in the supernatural is outside the realm of possibility for me. Gods have nothing to do with the meaning of life except that if they created this world and gave me life then they must have had some idea for human beings in mind. They must have had some sort of point to creating us. They must have had some idea how our time living could be best spent.
That’s something I believe in.
I also think that, though this life looks like an ungodly mess… something very intelligent started this for us. Whether it was a god we know or a god we don’t know. Whether it was intelligent humans before us or smart creatures from another galaxy… I’ve no idea, nor do I spend much time at all thinking about it. What I see here is that life is arranged according to an outlandish number of rules that we’re all following by default.
The world is set up as it is. We are set up as we are. Animals, trees, properties of materials… physical laws, biological laws, laws of thermodynamics, electricity, radiation… all being what they are – are already in motion.
We’re players in this game with thousands and thousands of rules that guide us.
What are these rules of life guiding us toward?
I think they’re guiding us toward the meaning of life.
What else? Are we here for someone’s amusement? Possibly. I don’t want to believe that, but the real reason we’re here could be anything. Whatever created us could be a Jekkyl/Hyde character bent on seeing how long it takes intelligent, selfish humans governed by 68,000+ laws to destroy themselves and everything else living on the planet.
That’s a real possibility. If that’s the case, or if it’s for any other trivial or meaningless reason that we all exist then so be it. That’s neither here nor there. It doesn’t affect me at all. Meaning, it doesn’t affect my thinking on a daily basis. It affects me ultimately, yes… but if I’m unaware of it – it doesn’t really affect me now as I live each day.
What affects me is the nagging question about why I’m going through this life as I am. What is the point of me going through this life? What is everything pointing toward? Surely if there is a point to life then many of the 68,000+ rules that govern us are pushing or nudging us toward that goal. Yes?
If there was really a meaning to human life – wouldn’t that meaning have to be reachable from day 1? Meaning, if there were human beings 5,000 years ago which have a lifespan of 50 years or however short it was at that time – wouldn’t they need to have the tools to come up with the meaning for life at that time as well as we can today?
I think so. Assuming life is fair. By fair I mean, statistically fair. Everyone seems to be subject to the same laws of chance and probability. It all seems to even out across individuals and groups of individuals. For instance, the Chinese as a group aren’t more predisposed toward high-blood pressure anymore than anyone else. And, if they were they’d have other complimentary traits that were not shared by other groups. It’s all kind of evened out.
I have this idea that I need to figure out the equation about the meaning of life. It’s an equation all right. What is important to figuring it out? Can I look at each rule that humans live under and question where it is going… add that all up in a matrices of data and have it point to something?
I don’t think so. People with an average intelligence or below average couldn’t do that. Maybe a team of the smartest people in the world couldn’t do that objectively without looking for an answer they didn’t already believe in – and sway the result.
I think it has to be something obvious that anyone can figure out.
For that reason alone I decided that the meaning of life must be inside me. It doesn’t matter if one is a doctor, physicist, Christian or Buddhist scholar… The answer is inside each one of us. It must be. There’s nothing outside of us that everyone in the world has access to. The meaning of life, if hidden in chalk scrapings in Kyrgyzstan in a cave wouldn’t really be fair – would it? Would there be any point in that?
I think it’s here inside me. I think it’s inside you. I think many people come up with a meaning of life for themselves. They realize at some point that this or that is the real meaning of their life.
Popular Personal Meanings of Life:
- Be a good mother or father.
- A life of servitude.
- Advancing technology in some area that ultimately helps others live longer or with less pain or problems.
- To have as much fun as possible.
- To make the most money or ascend to the highest position of power in a group.
- Enjoy everyday as if it’s the last. Enjoy what life has to offer.
Personal meanings of life can get you through the day, or through a lifetime. Some and maybe most people don’t go beyond that search. Once they find a personal meaning to life they stop asking.
For myself I’ve found various meanings of life. Some last me one or two years, some 10. Right now I’m more interested in the ultimate meaning of life – one that might be shared by everyone. Is there such a thing?
I’m not sure – but I may have found something. I may have found the ultimate meaning of life for everyone on the planet.
Best of Life!
Peter KayThe meaning of life is living in Hawaii with family and friends… that’s it!