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fremen_warrior's avatar

Life - what is it?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5487points) May 25th, 2012

Here’s a question for all you jolly jellies out there: have you figured out what life is yet? Take a step back from what your roles are in society, set your personality aside, and answer to the best of your ability what you have learned, what you have concluded – what makes you get up in the morning, what is your take on death and what (if anything) might follow, and why you think so. Try to avoid dogmas, or ideologies – just based on what you see, observe and feel about the world and yourselves and life in general describe what you understand life to be, it’s your own opinion that interests me. A penny for your thoughts? :-)

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19 Answers

ucme's avatar

Bread is life nsfw
In fact you could say, life is won-doe-ful :¬)

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s just a game that you play – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose…


GoldieAV16's avatar

When you die, your grave marker will have two dates, separated by a dash. That dash is your life.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GoldieAV16 Yeah, it is.
I like to think that when they are throwing the dirt on my ashes they’ll at least stop and think I made my corner of the world a little nicer. That is how I see life.

noraasnave's avatar

I found this cliche to be true in my experience:

Life is a Journey

wundayatta's avatar

I think you’re talking about what is a human life. Not what is the biological definition of life. That’s pretty simple—just a series of a certain kind of chemical reaction. The kind we learn about in organic chemistry.

More specifically, I think you are actually asking what the meaning of a human life is, not how we might describe a human life.

My answer, as always, is that meaning-making is something that human beings do. In fact, it is the thing we do that it seems like no other form of life does. We ponder and try to find some satisfying reason for our awareness of our own condition. We need a purpose because that helps us decide what to do, and it makes our lives feel more satisfying. It’s probably built into us by evolution.

How do we make meaning? Actually, it’s pretty arbitrary. Mostly we do it in a social context. So we look around for a strong social group and we affiliate ourselves and take on its purpose. For many, a religiously organized group fills this need.

Others of us want to make our own meaning. We make our own choices. I think that’s where the greatest angst arises, because without reference to a social group, we have to be pretty damn sure of ourselves to make a choice about meaning purely based on our own preferences.

However, even without reference to any specific religion, I find my own choices are pretty similar to those from religions. I want to help people. I want to be useful. I want to make other people’s lives better. I derive a lot of meaning and satisfaction out of this.

I don’t need people’s thanks, but thanks always reinforce my desire to help and also helps me think I am actually helping (as opposed to fantasizing that what I am doing is helpful).

I also get meaning by feeling connected to others, especially on a kind of non-cognitive level. Music and dance help me achieve these connections, but again, I see that many religious traditions have “spiritual technologies” that enable their adherents to achieve similar states of bliss. Bliss is good. Bliss makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing. It makes me feel connected—not just to other people, but to the entire universe.

Then there’s evolution, itself. It is very meaningful to me to have children and a family. This is related to connection and to work (doing good). Children are an evolutionary legacy that will validate, I hope, the choices I have made in my life. My children are their own people, but I hope I have been a positive influence on them. If they do not validate me, I will be disappointed, but not angry. It is their choice. I am just trying to do the best I can, but it is possible I am on the wrong track. I trust evolution to be self-correcting over the long run, even if I turn out to be a dead-end, evolutionarily.

It is trying that provides meaning to me.

What gives meaning to me is only that which gives meaning to me. Other people will be different, and every person’s choices are, to my mind, equally valid. I don’t have any way of saying this is good or that is bad, except in reference to myself. I have no objective way to determining this. If someone chooses to be a murderer, I cannot say that is bad, in general. I can say it is bad in specific—it hurts me or people I love. But from a universal perspective, I cannot know. Perhaps we need all people to die for some reason I don’t understand.

I don’t think that is likely, though. I think what is likely is that there is no universal imperative. All we have is our own preferences, and we use those to choose what is meaningful to us and to decide how to live, and from all our actions, the future will arise.

fredTOG's avatar

What is the meaning of my life? It is so simple. life is a series of choices. life is a series of opportunities. life is a series of decisions. life is a series of actions. You control your life, and its meaning, with your daily actions. We often ignore that.each day to make positive changes in your own life, and to have a positive impact on the lives of those around you create meaning by helping others.What is the meaning of your life? In answering that question you give your life meaning.

tups's avatar

Life could be an illusion. Who knows?
To me, life is getting up in the morning (sometimes at noon) and going to bed at night (sometimes morning) and in between try to make the best out of it. Life is experiences, both good and bad. Life is the days that passes – the important ones and the ones that will be forgotten. Life is smiles and tears. Life is meaningful and meaningless. It’s our choice. And the truth is just another word we’ll never really know the meaning of. What happens after life is one more thing we’ll never know. I believe we must all chose what we’ll believe and not care too much about what other people think will happen or will not happen after life.
But this is just my take this far and I am young. Maybe I’ll see it all in a different perspective in a week, a month or 25 years.

King_Pariah's avatar

Just a poor player’s act. A game everyone loses. An existence brought around by chance. It is insignificant and adds up to nothing.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Life is what happens to people. It’s a lot more boring than they – and by extension you – say it is.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Life, for me, is trying to understand everything and not being able to.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

It’s the awful price man has to pay for having sex.

kess's avatar

Life is the totality of goodness in every which way you are able to think.
and it in this earth age, I am its representation.

flutherother's avatar

It is everything and yet nothing.

gondwanalon's avatar

I feel like my life is similar to that of a hunter-gatherer navigating a jungle of adversity. I daily compete with the strong, the daring and ruthless to live for today as well as prepare for an unknown and unforgiving future in a very troubled world. Life for me has always been “full speed ahead” rarely stopping for rest breaks. I see my life ending in the near future but I have no regrets as I have fought a good fight. Death is a natural part of life. The great joy in my life has been the struggle. The one word that characterizes my life is “struggler”. I seem to revel more with in my failures than my victories because no winning result for me is ever good enough. Life has been very tough for me but I love it!

thesparrow's avatar

Life is a lavish and exquisite journey—one that should be enjoyed on a plush throne.

Only138's avatar

Life is an awesome television series that was only on for 2 seasons. It kicked ass though.

fremen_warrior's avatar

You want to know what I think? So do I! I have absolutely no clue what to make of all of this. I’ve spent a large chunk of short life pondering this and all I got was nothingness.

What is the MEANING of this, I say? :-)

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