What is the Meaning of Life?

By Elizabeth Summers / June 28, 2022 / No comments
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In Eastern philosophical traditions, however, there is still a simpler answer to the question–a answer which cannot be precisely stated, but is felt by deep observation of nature. In contrast with the synthesis approach, in this view, one is asking for a singular thing, the sense-making interpretation. On this version of the interpretive approach, asking for life’s meaning is primarily asking for a sense-making explanation (perhaps also narrative explanation) of our questions and concerns about origin, purpose, significance, values, suffering, and fate.

To propose a worldview, then, is to propose an assumed sense-making framework of life–a framework that is centered directly on a collection of questions and concerns around origins, purpose, significance, value, suffering, and destiny. We are looking for meaning for life, and that meaning is, at its core, some sort of unified sense-making framework to respond to, and integrate answers to, our questions of origins, purpose, significance, value, suffering, and destiny.

Understanding, purpose, and significance do not need to be thought of as three separate concepts, but rather as three tightly connected constructions that, together, constitute life’s meaning. The things (people, events) in the person’s life may have meaning (importance) as parts of the whole, but a discrete meaning for the life itself, (the) life, apart from the things (people), cannot be discerned. A person’s life has meaning (to himself, others) in the events in the life which are derived from his achievements, inheritance, family, etc., but saying that life, the actual life, has meaning is an improper use of language, for every signification of significance, or of consequences, is relevant only to the life (to the person), thus rendering the claim incorrect.

One possible explanation of this perspective is that life’s meaning to an individual is the knowledge of the nature of God, and that all of creation is designed to disclose that nature and demonstrate its worthiness as the ultimate storehouse, namely, of God. Theists also argue that life is meaningless without God, who gives it its final meaning, value, and purpose.

Our life’s purpose, therefore, is aligned with Gods purpose in creating the universe, and God is what gives our lives meaning, purpose, and value. Today, many believe that we humans are creations of a being called God, that God had an intelligent purpose in creating us, and that this intelligent purpose is the meaning of life. Our lives on Earth are evaluated by the supernatural being that some people call God, and God will give us certain rewards or punishments when we die.

External explanations often assert there is an afterlife domain where life is directed. The meaning of life also raises the question whether or not there is any other realm in which life exists. The most influential God-based account of meaning in life has been an extreme view in which ones existence is meaningful only insofar as it serves the purpose that God has assigned to it.

Philosopher Iddo Landau has said that everyone who believes that life could be meaningless would also assume value-importance. Believing that specialness is tied to meaning is, according to Landau, yet another fallacy that many make. For instance, some people claim that creativity offers purpose, whereas others claim that virtue, or living morally, provides meaning. Others subscribe to the idea that the soul is central, believing that something in us should persist after life, some essential thing that gives meaning after the material.