One of the questions I tend to get is what I think the meaning of life is. I never have a good answer because I've never tried to answer the question. And I've never tried to answer the question because I don't think that it matters.
As children we're conditioned to do what we're supposed to do. That makes sense, because five-year-olds probably aren't well equipped to decide when to go to school or the dentist. The problem, though, is that we stay in this "supposed to" mode way too long. It becomes a habit and a way of life.
To me, figuring out the meaning of life is just an extension of figuring out what you're "supposed to do". Except, of course, that it can't be figured out. Humans have been trying forever and no one's gotten it yet. Odds are that you won't either.
And the reason it hasn't been figured out is that there isn't a meaning to life, other than the meaning you give it. And that's a good thing.
I don't believe in a higher power, a higher purpose, or life after death. No spirits or souls. Some people, maybe those who are too conditioned to the "supposed to" way of life, find that depressing.
I find it liberating. It brings what we can all agree we have-- a life-- to the forefront, cuts away the distraction, and gives us the responsibility to figure out what to do with it. It makes life a blank canvas rather than a color by numbers cartoon.
One of the best skills you can develop is the ability to completely ignore what you're supposed to do, and do what you think is best. That's not to say that these things don't overlap; you'd probably agree that driving the way you're supposed to down a one way street is a good idea. The idea isn't to be a contrarian, it's to disregard "supposed to" entirely.
So that's my advice to people looking for the meaning of life. Make your own meaning by doing what you think is best. Follow that advice and I doubt you'll have many regrets on your deathbed.
Love topics like this... "what is the meaning of life". Life is meant to be lived, not over analyzed by the nonsense us humans come up with. Life is beyond something as silly as "a meaning". it is immense. it is magnificent. it is meant to be experienced fully.
Tynan, when you say that you don't believe in anything after life. I would go one step further and say that I don't ever think about that either: is there an after life? YES or NO?... all of these thoughts are distractions that take me away from the immense gift that is right in front of all of us... our life!
I am like that kid whose parents told him he could do something wild and before they could change their mind, he is off-- laughing and playing, smiling and singing... life is like this for me: Somebody fucked up and gave me the greatest gift ever, Ima play with it until they decide to take it away... :)
Good stuff bro.
i agree with this philosophy except that it makes it hard to find the meaning you give to your life. because its completely in your hands, its both "hard" and "easy" to deal with. i can't really explain it but for me, it definitely doesn't let me off the hook. i'm solely responsible for my own life. radical concept!
You have no idea how much I needed this post.
About 15 minutes ago, I was scared to death about telling my parents I dropped out of College.
As soon as I thought "Holy Sh*t, mt life is over", and email came into my inbox saying you had a new post up.
I've been following your posts for quite some time now, and reading your posts gives me the jolt I need to make a change, this being no exception.
I read it, and thought, I really need to just do what I need to do.
Thank you, just, thank you, this post was just what I needed to get my life in order.
The meaning of life is to exist. This is why living things reproduce. I believe this is the purpose of our existence. Why else would the act of reproducing be so desirable. Why is it important that we exist is a better question. Why does anything living or not exist. If the world would end tomorrow would it matter to someone or something?
I agree with the this article I don't think there is life after death and no body that I know that has died as come to me and told me how it is to be dead and what its like and if there is life after death then of course then there must have been life before this one. But if there was life before this one then why don't I recall that life?
Life has a very basic meaning. Survive and duplicate. Then we modify it using our capabilities for a diversity of reasons, including art, or enjoyment.
I personally agree with this article. It is true that your life is what you make of it.. But as young as I am its almost impossible to do anything. Sometimes I wonder why life was even created, and I find myself questioning every little thing around me, easily making me depressed. Dosent any one ever realize that everything you do in a day is insignificant, because no matter what you do, death will always be your end?
I have been reading your blog for several months now. I enjoy this post very much.
Perhaps what one is "supposed" to do is to follow his/her instincts and fulfill his/her desires. Most importantly, to live happily, one should live in the moment. I think this is along the lines of what you are saying.
It seems that when talking about subjects like this, many people have disagreements not because of the concepts, but because of their understanding of the word/phrases. I.e. One person's interpretation "soul" may be something totally different than my interpretation of the word.
You should spend your life doing something you're passionate about, right? Everyone agrees with this, but tons of people have trouble figuring out exactly what their passion is. It seems like the kind of thing that should be glaringly obvious, but for some reason it just isn't.
I think a big part of the problem is that we're looking in the wrong places.
Passions are very rarely big nouns like, cars, computers, or dogs. They're usually verbs, and they're usually specific.
Man's search for meaning just might be the biggest cliche to have ever existed. I currently find myself in the rarest of situations where I have literally no care in the world. When the mind is not occupied by the myriad worries that wrap it up in daily life, is it any wonder that it turns to large pursuits with vague outcomes?
Spotty wi-fi. Ah shit, I can't dumbly surf the internet. Damnit, I want to play guitar but I didn't bring my axe with me. After long struggle with austerity and simplicity I have no I desire for shiny, new possessions so shopping is out. There is music I want to listen to, but that also requires internet. Oh no! I have nothing to keep me from looking around me and going on walkabout in this busy, alien city!
What woes did I birth in a past life to be given, despite my perverse nature's whining, the time and ability to think?
I take as a fact that the human mind is a machine that attempts to solve problems, and it is especially good at finding simple, uncorroborated answers. To that end, why is the assumption that the meaning of life is complex?
Evidence points to the fact that my function on this planet is to eat, poop, and sleep. Those are, indeed, the most overriding impulses I've ever felt, and each need manifests itself most painfully when it is dire. Sure I've felt love and hate and those certainly override reason, but I've never in my life thought "If I don't love right now I think I'm liable to pass out/die of waste poisoning."