The meaning of life
Does my life have meaning? It is a question that humans have struggled with throughout history. Many, many answers have been offered: both through religion and philosophy. Yet, for the majority of humanity, no one answer has ever proved satisfactory.
Even the world’s most popular religion, Christianity, with about one-third of the Earth’s population as adherents, has failed to convince the other two-thirds of humanity that it’s correct. This result is not through lack of trying!
It’s certainly possible that one group has found the one true answer, and is just searching for a way to convince the rest of us. No doubt most people of religious persuasion would feel that this is the true situation.
If you are searching for meaning in your own life, however, try this simple thought experiment. Suppose for a moment that there was no big cosmic reason for us being here and you had evidence beyond a doubt that this was the truth. Suppose that we are born, live, die and that’s it, with no other significance attached to our existence. Even in this scenario of universal meaninglessness, does it really even matter? Do our lives suddenly become not worth living?
Of course not.
If you choose to look, even for a moment around you, you will see that your life is filled with significance. It may not be of the nature often assumed when the meaning of life is discussed, but it is no less potent. It is the deeply personal worth that we find in our everyday acts, relationships and feelings.
You can feel such meaning flowing through your existence with every passing moment. It’s in your role as a friend, enemy, lover, spouse, parent, child, colleague, teacher, student, believer or sceptic.
What you feel when having a good meal, or enjoying and entertaining film, or listening to a beautiful piece of music is filled with significance.
When we grieve for a lost loved one, can you really say that the emotional impact we feel is devoid of all importance? Is it just tears falling into the void? The very thought is so false as to be ridiculous. Only someone who has never experienced such a thing could even suggest it.
Meaning is intrinsic in the impression you make on those around you, and that which they make on you. You can feel it when you have an impact on the world and also when it impacts on you.
It’s there, deep inside us – at the very core of our being. You’ve felt it many times and you’ll feel it again.
It may not be something you can put into words, explain with numbers, measure, or provide evidence of, but it exists nevertheless.
It doesn’t have to be proved. You can feel it.
Our lives are overflowing with significance. You just have to take a moment to realise it.