The life we live is believed to be a creation of the supernatural being, God. As human beings, we have a certain period of time in between birth and death which we know as life. Under historic beliefs, our life has a purpose and God has created each one of us to fulfill a particular purpose. Depending on this belief, you can state that the fulfillment of this purpose can be named as the meaning of life. On the contrary, there are factors defying this belief. If this belief isn’t true then what is the meaning of life?
Here we will discuss the meaning of life with the help of some theories and philosophical statements. You may or may not agree with what we discuss here. Keeping everything else aside, you must read for once. Even though this is a debatable topic, you don’t have to agree to everything described over here. There are certain things that might cross your mind when you go through this article. If you find something relatable then, you might also learn a bit more about the meaning of life.
Three Questions Related to What Is the Meaning of Life?
You should always have questions in your mind to live a healthy life. Yes, questions will keep the doors of knowledge open in your mind. If you don’t have any questions left to be answered then you have lived your life. The urge to learn and know more is fueled by questions. When you have questions, you search for the answers to them. Here are the three questions which you should ask yourself throughout your life until you get the answers.
1. What Is My Potential?
The first thing to ask yourself is what your true potential is. This question is important because it will help you become something in the future. Each and every human being has some potential in them. A lot of us get a hold on it at an early stage while others take some more time to know their true potential. If you know what is your true potential then start acting on it. Work hard and develop skills so that you are sure about your future goals.
2. What Is Important to Me?
Another question you need to ask yourself is what is important to you? To know the true meaning of life, you need to know what is important to you in life. What is the meaning of life can only be answered when the other questions achieve their true answers. Most of us depend on our parents, guardians, and teachers to point out what is important to us. It is you who needs to decide what is important to you as it is your life. No one has the right to tell you what is important to you. It might seem important to them so they tell you but do you find it important?
The things you should actually give importance has to be the things you value the most. Stop relying on your friends and family. You need to question yourself about what is more important to you in life. Is it money and luxurious life? Is it the love, care, and affection of your dear ones? What is it?
3. What Am I Truly Good at?
To know the true meaning of your life you must know what you are good at. The things which help you grow, focus and you enjoy the most. These things are the ones that will help you flourish in life. It is just one life and you truly need to understand what matters to you the most. You can be good at anything which later on turns out to be your talent, lifetime asset and adds value to your life. All this is only worthy when it contributes to make the world a better place. You are a part of this world and you have a responsibility towards it too. Your creativity, intelligence, smartness, ability to perform tasks will obviously help you grow but it needs to contribute to the world as well.
Philosophical Approach towards “What is the Meaning of Life?
There are various approaches in philosophy to answer this question but for you to understand with ease, only a few have been used here. For instance, the question regarding the meaning of life is pretty illogical because while we are living life, we cannot judge it. You just cannot say whether your life matters to you or not as you are living it. On the contrary, you cannot opt-out to learn about its importance because it is impossible. This theory has been established by Friedrich Nietzsche, a 19th-century philosopher.
Another theory presented by Thaddeus Metz, states that there are four distinct groups. This theory was published in the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy. Among the four groups, there is a group of people who believe in god and worship a deity. According to them, the god will show them their purpose of existence which will ultimately lead them towards the true meaning of their lives. Another group relies on their soul. According to them, the soul lives even after the body decomposes and through the soul’s existence they get to know the meaning of life.
Apart from these two groups, there are two more groups of naturalists. These people rely on the physical world and the theories of science but they too have a difference in opinion. This, in turn, divides them into the subjectivist and objectivist. According to subjectivist, life is meaningful and who we are or where we vary with every situation. The value of life depends on us and can change with the change in time and situations. Landau states that the meaning of life is a sense of worth that can derive from creativity, achievements, and relationships, the objectivist has a different point of view. To them, there are certain truths with values. For instance, there is a purpose in creativity according to objectivist but others think virtue serves as the mean to live.
How to Reframe Your Mindset?
Again coming back to Landau, a theory states that if you are feeling purposeless in life then you need to reconsider. You will only get to learn what is the meaning of life when you the purpose of your existence. One must have a purpose to live a happy and healthy life. He states that a meaningful life means a life with good number of aspects of values. On the other hand, he also defines a meaningless life as a life with lack of sufficient aspects of values. The very simple explanation to Landau’s theory is that being meaningful is like an equation.
You can add up to it, subtract it, multiply it and divide it. This leads to a sense of purposelessness which is caused due to lack of achievements in your personal as well as professional life. You can derive theoretical meanings from this in terms of relationships, creativity, travel, etc. However you perceive this factor, you need to reconsider your life and all the factors related to it. Once you change your way of approach towards life, everything else will fall in line with you.
You need to focus on three main keywords, initiative, consistency and development. You first need to take an initiative to change the course of your life. Next, you need to be consistent with your goals. Finally, development is the source of all forms of growth so you need to develop yourself. Developing oneself means developing in all sectors of life which are personal relationships, professional goals, and future initiatives. Your life will eventually set onto a new path once you reframe your mindset.
Your Existence Matters
What is the purpose of your existence is known to no anyone, not even to you. This doesn’t mean at any given point of time that your existence doesn’t matter. Your existence matters, if not to anyone then to you. You exist because there is a purpose in life to fulfill and you will eventually do it too. For the sole purpose of living a life and fulfilling your responsibilities is your cause of existence. A very interesting statement was made by Tim Bale, Politics Professor at the Queen Mary University of London, the UK in Philosophy Now, which was “The meaning of life is not being dead.”.
In addition to this, Philosopher Richard Taylor also stated that “The day was sufficient to itself, and so was the life.” which in simple terms means as you live, your life matters. You might be in a dilemma but life always has way-outs and you just need to figure them out. Contradicting theories suggest that, when compared to the vast universe, our life is just a moment. Even so, you must not forget that every moment has its own beauty and it does matter.
Mystery in Meaning of Life
Before asking what is the meaning of life, you must learn about the mystery in it. Why do you search for the meaning of life? What do you expect as an answer to it? What will you do when you get to know about the meaning of life? And what if the answer doesn’t match up to your expectations? Will you give up on life? Well, with so many questions to answer, let us go one by one.
Firstly, the search for the true meaning of life is eternal. You might get the answer or you might not. Even if you get the answer you may be pleased with it or maybe not. All the situations are hypothetical and depend on time. Under the circumstances they occur is very important for you. Secondly, what you expect might not be what it ultimately turns out to be. It is better to expect nothing and what you finally get should be accepted as a blessing.
Thirdly, the revelation of the meaning of life happens in the process of life. You don’t have to search for it. You will get to know when the right time arrives. Though this theory is very much philosophical, a lot of us believe in it. In scientific terms, your existence has its own values and the values define your life. Fourthly and finally, giving up on life will not fetch you the answer you are searching for. It is in the process of life that you might learn about the true meaning of existence.
Answer to the Ultimate Question
The question, “What is the meaning of life?” does has an answer. Alternative approaches have theories to verify this statement. A philosophy professor at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, Casey Woodling states that the question itself has an answer. He quotes, “What makes a human life have meaning or significance is not the mere living of a life, but reflecting on the living of a life.” According to Woodling, pursuing goals in terms of family, profession, fitness, academics, financial status, etc doesn’t serve as the meaning to life.
The meaning lies in why we pursue these goals in our life. It has a significant effect on our life and that is why we pursue these goals. This theory also reflects the statement of Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Hence, Casey states that a life unexamined has no value or virtue.
To conclude, it can be mentioned that the true meaning of life lies in it only. You will get to know when you live your life to the fullest. There are many more philosophical, scientific and religious concepts to defy and support such theories. What matters the most is how you wish to live your life. Is your worth living must not be your concern. Whether you live your life with all your effort or not must be your true concern. What you have earned from life is an asset but how you have earned it is the experience of a lifetime.
In life, you will come across many situations that might lead you to the point to question your existence. Remember that you have this one life and the meaning of life lies within it. You must love yourself and live your life to the fullest. Only then, you may learn the true meaning of life.