The Meaning of Life

I haven’t written for a few days now and this article is why – naturally a lot to think about. I appreciate that this, like any of my other articles, is completely subjective but here are my insights – I hope you enjoy.

Now here’s an interesting topic to write about. Not many, such as the brilliant Monty Python crew, can pull it off successfully, but here goes. The meaning of life is a subject that just about every human will think about at some point in their lives. What is the purpose of us being here? Are we simply a complex mixture of chemicals, reacting to the probabilities of our genetic code? Or maybe we are something more.

Now there are several common paths which are widely accredited as possible truths. The most commonly known is procreation; the simple purpose of being born to produce offspring and carry on the cycle of life.

Now, personally, this isn’t a path I find credible. If we are simply created to create others, what of those males that are born, who would have much preferred to suckle on their fathers teat? Homosexuality as a whole could cover around 5% of the world’s population. Of course, it could be a lot more or less, but with certain societies incredibly closed-minded to such practices, it’s hard to know the actual number. (I won’t go into such bigotry here as I could, and will, do a whole article on the stupidity of certain racists.) Now that would be a rather crass mistake if procreation was our sole purpose. No doubt procreation is essential for life, but is it a sole meaning to our lives? I don’t think so, that would render possibly 30 million lives without purpose.

Religion is the next obvious path. The number of religions in this world are infinite. As the interpretation of everyone’s brain to either the teachings they follow or the philosophies they themselves believe, essentially every single person alive follows their own unique path – or ‘religion’. That’s what brings so much conflict to the inner parts of every religious organisation, which is why I find myself despising large amounts of religion. If everyone could accept the subjectivity of reading texts and interpretation, there would be a lot less conflict in the arrogance of individuals trying to convince everyone that only one word is truth – often by means of violence and threats. As an example, look at the leader of the Catholic church – the pope. Last year he claimed that condoms would help the spread of HIV and AIDs in Africa. I don’t think I need to highlight my view on that, as I assume everybody reading this has been to primary school and could make a more intelligent assessment.

That said, religion does bring such meaning to so many lives that, in fact, a lot of followers dedicate their whole life to the teachings of a few. What I find quite incredulous to my mind is that I see religion quite like a hereditary disease. Depending on whereabouts in the world you are brought up, and the parents you have bringing you into the world, you seem to be assigned a religion. I find that quite hard to get my head around this. I find it’s almost like tribal traditions. Some tribes slaughtered lambs in sacrifice, some slaughtered pigs. Depending on which tribe you were brought up in, that was the ‘word’ you believed. I could never personally base my life’s purpose on this concept. Especially as tribes kill each other because they chose the lamb, not the pig.

Next up – life. The meaning of life is life? Sounds a little surreal when put like that, yet isn’t it the path which makes the most sense? With each breath we take in, we move one step closer to the grim reaper. That’s quite a contradictory thought, potentially both morbid and inspirational. It can be taken either way: sit down and be depressed by the thought that death awaits or make the most of the time the reaper allows. This is a path many, many individuals follow. Live fa(s)t, die young: take in the full force of life, live it to its potential and disregard the consequences. This path can go in many directions depending on the nature of the individual. It could be drinking themselves stupid every night, taking every drug under the Sun. It could be trying that aforementioned procreation – except without the creation.

Sounds fun, does it not? Well, probably not to a Shoalin monk. Although this path no doubt fulfils some of the wildest dreams in a life with no regret, it can often lead to a person being spiritually and mentally unfulfilled. Look at the plights of many former rock stars: a life of unlimited money, sex and drugs often leads to deep depression. So, personally, this isn’t a credible path for me either.

Now the last meaning I’ll bring up: is that there’s no meaning at all. Some people may come to the conclusion that we are simply an anomaly. The whole universe is simply just a chemical reaction and we are a minuscule part of the result. There is no God, there is no meaning to our lives, we simply are born and then we die – nothing we do has the remotest effect on anything.

To counter this kind of argument, I find quite impossible – not because I believe it, but because it’s hard to prove that this isn’t true. For thousands of years philosophers and scientists have asked these questions, and none can give you a definitive answer. Perhaps, in years to come, they may discover the mathematical purpose of our being here, but I can’t see that happening. Life has an aura of mystery, one I’d love to discover, yet I along with many others doubt that I’ll ever find it.

So what is the meaning to life? I could answer you, but to be honest that’s personal.

Yet if you asked me what the meaning was to your life, well, that’s simple. It’s whatever YOU want it to be.

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16 responses to this post.

  1. Very profound post. It is something I have often thought about, but yes I think my interpretation is not dissimilar to yours. Life doesn’t have a general overall purpose, I think the meaning of life is to find your own meaning and try and achieve it. After all, life is the only thing we can really control and manipulate.

    Reply

    • Kind of coins the phrase, ‘Make it up as you go along’. I find my own lifes meaning constantly changes to the situation I find myself in. I would find it very hard to pinpoint the reason I’m here. I think you can only follow what you believe and hope to come out at the other end satisfied (or at peace) with yourself.

      Reply

    • Posted by Eric on May 30, 2013 at 23:33

      There is no meaning, Just get by as best you can and find a way to suit yourself,

      Reply

  2. Perhaps you should have titled this post ‘YOUR Meaning of Life’ because most of us have our own, individual beliefs. I believe that we are here to do the best we can for our fellow man, to live a good and honourable life and to serve and honour our Maker. I also believe that Love (agape) is the most important thing in the world.

    Reply

    • Did I not make my conclusion clear enough? That was exactly the point I was trying to put across.

      To explain – I entitled the post ‘The meaning of life’ as I was highlighting a few theories that others believe. MY conclusion clearly points out that I believe that each persons meaning of life, is completely down to themselves. I like to be slightly factual in the posts I write, and be subjective in the conclusion – not the title.

      My personal belief is to live as pure a life as possible by following my own ethics and morals, and not comprimising them.

      Reply

  3. “Perhaps in years to come, they may discover the mathematical purpose of our being here”
    It’s done:
    Do you know this?

    I guess so.

    Seriously: Terrific post! I’ll read the other ones soon.(Slowly, it’s a bit hard for me reading English).

    Reply

    • Haha, isn’t that out of the film, ‘A Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy’? I remember them asking the computer the meaning of life, and after a ridiculous amount of time, it just says, 42.

      Thank-you for your kind words. I appreciate the comment.

      Reply

      • I don’t know the film, but I read the book several times (in Spanish translation). Yes, the Definitive Answer is taken from this story.
        Regards!

      • Made me chuckle anyway. Is actually really interesting reading the different philosophies of life; such as Nihilism and Absurdism. Apparently, I have ‘Humanism’ views. Have a look though, even though I don’t agree with most of them, it certainly makes for an interesting read.

        All the best, Mike

    • The answer “42” is clear, but the precise question remains a mystery. The way one asks a question influences what the answer will be.
      In many ways, the question is more important than the answer.
      “Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. …”
      – Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a young poet

      Reply

      • An interesting take, though isn’t that essentially contradictory? The answer will never be clear, as the question is taken on a completely subjective level.

        Well actually, that is exactly what I’m getting at: to each and every person, the question and answer will be different.

        Thank-you for an interesting insight Tess. All the best, Mike.

      • That’s why I like this blog, there are questions, not answers.
        @ Tess: Beautiful the quote from Rilke!

      • Thank-you 🙂

  4. Yes, it could be contradictory.

    But I do see concrete examples of “how you ask a question does influence the answer.”

    I volunteer in the wp help forums and have often made assumptions about what a person is asking, thus missing their real question. That would be operator error, except sometimes the OP using the jargon in an odd way.
    “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’ ” ~Lewis Caroll

    A simpler example is what you do when using Google. I often look for Japanese recipes. Sometimes there is nothing useful in English, but even Google translate will show me a Japanese word that brings results. 愛

    Of course, “The question is more important than the answer.” is not a useful attitude to exhibit at the day job.

    Reply

  5. Oh definitely, I agree. It is easy to misunderstand the purpose of the question.

    It is rather similar to writing any piece. I often write an article with the intention of putting across a point I find is clear to myself, yet others have a completely different view on how I’ve written the subject. I find it amazing how many different ways a simple piece of writing can be interpreted, yet it adds to the enjoyment of actually writing.

    Haha, it most definitely is not the attitude for the day job. 😀

    Reply

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