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Polly_Math's avatar

How would you describe the meaning of life for you?

Asked by Polly_Math (1738points) December 23rd, 2009

What is the prime motivator in your life?
What makes you happiest?
What do you value most?
Why are we here?
Is there meaning?

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19 Answers

Justnice's avatar

This is a little odd but to me, the meaning of life is to find happiness. We all know it takes a while to achieve this but when we do (if we do) we will realize what we’re really here for

Carbonproduct's avatar

Counting down to the final round on time allotted from birth, and squeezing every last laugh along the wayl

Sonnerr's avatar

What is the prime motivator in your life? Life.

What makes you happiest?Life.

What do you value most?Life.

Why are we here?To live.

Is there meaning?Is there life?

VohuManah's avatar

The meaning of life is 42. Deep Thought has told us, so we should follow it.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s just what we do as living creatures. We have life: we consume, we eliminate, we act, we think, we feel, we behave. Parts of us grow and parts of us die. In time some crucial part will break or wear out. I don’t think it means anything other than itself. I don’t think there is a reason. We are here as a result of a rather lengthy biological process. At some point we won’t be here.

For most of us I think the prime motivator is to go on living: to have more of what we have, or to have better than what we have, or to have something we don’t have.

What we need and what we want are not the same thing.

To me one of the essential notions is this: what do we mean by enough?

hearkat's avatar

To give and share love.

Kravenhead's avatar

I think the meaning is what you make it… what you learn, how you manage yourself, how you relate to others… all the while… leaving as little damage as possible in your wake. There’s a great deal of satisfaction in that.. In the end, what more could you ask for?

LTaylor's avatar

The Meaning of Life to me:

If we were to find some scribbles on a piece of paper, and ask what they mean, then we would be asking what the person who made the scribbles meant them to signify. Scribbles only mean something if they were made for a reason. If we found out that the scribbles were just drawn at random then we would cease to look for meaning in them. Random scribbles don’t mean anything.

The same is true of life; it only makes sense to ask “What is the meaning of life?” if we believe that life was created for a reason. If life simply evolved on Earth by accident, if we just happen to be here, then life cannot have any meaning. Life can only have meaning if it was created for a purpose. If there is no Creator, then there can be no meaning of life.

Of course, people can try to find meaning in life without believing in a Creator. We can set ourselves goals—wealth, fame, helping others—and decide to devote our lives to achieving them. If we do this, then in some sense our lives seem to become about achieving wealth, or fame, or whatever, to take on that meaning. It seems possible to impose meaning on life through our own decisions and desires.

Indeed, most people who ask “What is the meaning of life?” really mean something like “What goals should we set ourselves?”

There is a misunderstanding here, however; meaning cannot be imposed on life through our decisions and desires. The attempt to impose meaning on a life that would otherwise be devoid of meaning fails

Either life has intrinsic meaning, or it doesn’t.

If life has intrinsic meaning, then the goals have already been set and there is nothing we can do to change them.

If life doesn’t have intrinsic meaning, then setting ourselves goals doesn’t get us any closer to fulfilling our purpose, because there is no purpose for us to fulfil. If there is no ultimate aim to life, then there are no better or worse goals that we could set ourselves; deciding to pursue wealth would add meaning to our lives just as well as deciding to pursue happiness, and neither would add meaning to life any more than a deciding to collect bus-tickets, or to pursue melancholy, or to commit as many acts of petty violence as possible. The answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?” is “There isn’t one; it doesn’t matter what you do.” If life starts off meaningless, then it must end up meaningless.

People can try to find meaning in life without believing in a Creator in just the same way as they can try to find meaning in random scribbles or in clouds. If one looks at a cloud hard enough for long enough and applies enough wishful thinking then one can find a hint of a familiar face or object, and try to project this meaning onto it.

That doesn’t make a cloud a portrait, though; it doesn’t give it true meaning. Thinking that the meaning of life is the pursuit of our self-set goals is like seeing a face in a cloud and calling it a portrait. The true meaning of life depends on the reason for our creation. If we want to find the meaning of life then we need to ask why we were put here.

Christianity gives one answer to this question. The reason that we are here, according to Christianity, is that God created us to have a relationship with him. This is why God created a universe fit for human life, and why he laid down guidelines for how to live our lives. According to Christianity, each one of us is created for communion with God; God wants to know us, to love us, and to rejoice with us.

Christianity continues to tell us that the barrier to this relationship is sin, but that in Jesus God heals that relationship, removes that barrier no matter how great it has become, and restores us (this is the gospel). Faith in God and in Jesus is therefore right at the heart of the Christian conception of the meaning of life as the means of achieving fulfilment.

Jeruba's avatar

Well said, @LTaylor, and hence GA. Moreover, I agree with you right up to the last two paragraphs. There we part company. And by this difference our views become entirely opposite.

I must add that when I say life has no meaning, this is not to say that it has no value. A diamond has no meaning either. I just mean that it does not signify or stand for or represent something other than itself. It is its own meaning.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Meaningless pain followed by nothingness.

Violet's avatar

To reproduce, love, and be happy : )

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Violet A far better answer than mine.

12_func_multi_tool's avatar

to search for meaning even if there is none. it’s the journey not the destination.

StupidGirl's avatar

What is the prime motivator in your life? Finding that one boy (or maybe two boys and a girl too)
What makes you happiest? The deepest feeling of love
What do you value most? The one(s) who give me that deepest feeling of love
Why are we here? To mess things up
Is there meaning? Yes, we need to mess things up properly

Violet's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land – your answer is sad : ( Are you ok?

Open_Your_Mind's avatar


HasntBeen's avatar

It is true that life in general has no inherent ‘meaning’, it’s just doing what it does. But there are principles which work with regard to humans and how they live their lives and how they relate to life, just as there are principles that govern how the planets move: there are ‘laws of nature’ and there are ‘laws of human nature’, so to speak.

In the arena of ‘laws of human nature’, the basic themes are pretty common. What works is to have your life be about becoming yourself more fully, which includes understanding that you are not an isolated little bag of protoplasm, but rather are intricately interconnected with others and the rest of reality. So an individual is unique, and “being yourself” involves developing and expressing and enriching that uniqueness. But it’s not an isolating ego-trip of the teenager who wants to “be special”, it’s an adventure shared with others that is ultimately grounded in compassion for others and yourself.

The goal is this: to be able to look back at your life at the end and say “I really did my best to live!”, and then die in peace.

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