The meaning we search for…

If you’re anything like me, you’re searching for a meaning in life. Without getting political or religious, what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? I’m still searching for this answer. I have posed this question before and the answers are all different. Some might say the meaning of life is “to find love”, “make money”, “be famous”, and a myriad of other reasons that inspire someone to keep going. There seems to be a theme developing in my opinion.

Upon analyzing these answers, I realized the theme is based in stability. Think about it, everyone wants love. I can’t think of one person that doesn’t want love in one way or another. What about love is appealing? Having someone to grow old with, or someone you can lean on emotionally when you’re feeling insecure. What else comes with the kind of love we all yearn for? Stability.

How about money? Very few people actually want to become filthily wealthy, but we want to cover our amenities. Money will usually hold hands with working, which is another thing that we would hope is stable.

How can we tell stability is a motivator for people? You can see it in our media. You can see it in our behavior. Try to change a detail in a television show that’s been on air for a decade. Try to disrupt the schedule of an elderly couple. You will get backlash like no other.

Let’s look over some theories, there’s a plethora of them, that could be viable and you’ll see what I mean. The link cited at the bottom goes into more detail about semantics, such as “the meaning of meaning”, and who is asking the question. I intend on giving you some insights to ponder. I’m not swaying your decisions in any way, I merely want you to think. I ponder the meaning of life often. The significance of my existence is one I grow weary of pondering.

When the topic of the meaning of life comes up, people often pose one of two questions: “So, what is the meaning of life?” and “What are you talking about?” — Quoted from the weblink below.

Besides achievements to be made that make “life meaningful”, there are also moral standards that tend to be brought up. One such example is to be kind and treat others with respect, or to be morally upstanding. “Moral”, it is a subjective ambiguity we overlook on a regular basis. The problem with morals, is we all have different standards. My moral could be, let’s say, I don’t believe in a relationship that involves more than two people. Yet my polyamorous neighbors tend to have a stronger moral fiber than I do as a monogamous person. I don’t believe this personally, this is merely an example, but you see my point. Some people might think I’m morally bankrupt for thinking this way.

I digress to some further examples.

“First, to ask whether someone’s life is meaningful is not one and the same as asking whether her life is happy or pleasant. A life in an experience or virtual reality machine could conceivably be happy but very few take it to be a prima facie candidate for meaningfulness (Nozick 1974: 42–45).”

An interesting idea is that the meaning lies within sacrificing one’s happiness for another’s. This is paraphrased from the weblink below. Can you imagine? Who would end up being the happy one if we all sacrificed for each other? It is truly the mind of a madman, the meaning of life to be “the sacrifice of one’s happiness for another’s”.

The obtaining of vast knowledge, the enlightenment, the idea that we all must possess great awareness.

(Taylor 1989, ch. 1). It is implausible to think that these criteria are satisfied by subjectivist appeals to whatever choices one ends up making or to whichever desires happen to be strongest for a given person. — quotation for the cited weblink below.

Although relatively few have addressed the question of whether there exists a single, primary sense of “life’s meaning,” the inability to find one so far might suggest that none exists. In that case, it could be that the field is united in virtue of addressing certain overlapping but not equivalent ideas that have family resemblances (Metz 2013, ch. 2). Perhaps when we speak of “meaning in life,” we have in mind one or more of these related ideas: certain conditions that are worthy of great pride or admiration, values that warrant devotion and love, qualities that make a life intelligible, or ends apart from base pleasure that are particularly choice-worthy. Another possibility is that talk of “meaning in life” fails to exhibit even this degree of unity, and is instead a grab-bag of heterogenous ideas (Mawson 2010; Oakley 2010). — quotation for the cited weblink below.

I will not wrangle with religion or politics in this piece, however, it is mentioned in the weblink. I personally do not believe the “meaning of life” should be associated with religion or politics. That is my opinion.

How about in relation to the soul? Does this have any bearing on how the “meaning of life” can be interpreted?

A soul-centered theory is the view that meaning in life comes from relating in a certain way to an immortal, spiritual substance that supervenes on one’s body when it is alive and that will forever outlive its death. If one lacks a soul, or if one has a soul but relates to it in the wrong way, then one’s life is meaningless. There are two prominent arguments for a soul-based perspective. — quotation for the cited weblink below.

I tend to lean on this theory because it has so much to do with impact. I’ve been hyper aware of how something small, like a smile, can be a huge impact to anyone. What if this has bearing on the meaning of life? Making an impact on those we meet? My problem is always the “why” part. Why make an impact. What impact does making an impact do, exactly?

Life seems nonsensical when the wicked flourish and the righteous suffer, at least supposing there is no other world in which these injustices will be rectified, whether by God or by Karma. Something like this argument can be found in the Biblical chapter Ecclesiastes, and it continues to be defended (Davis 1987; Craig 1994). — quotation for the cited weblink below.

However, both arguments are still plagued by a problem facing the original versions; even if they show that meaning depends on immortality, they do not yet show that it depends on having a soul. By definition, if one has a soul, then one is immortal, but it is not clearly true that if one is immortal, then one has a soul. Perhaps being able to upload one’s consciousness into an infinite succession of different bodies in an everlasting universe would count as an instance of immortality without a soul. — quotation for the cited weblink below.

These quotes are so influential to me because they resonate with me. I felt they were too good not to quote.

If I were to posit, for a moment, that the meaning of life were simple, mine would have to boil down to stability. I know, I know; I’ve been building up to this climax of how I think the meaning of life is merely the stability we yearn for, but there is some truth to it. If you think for a moment how terrifying the world and universe actually is, stability sounds mighty comforting.

We are rotating on a giant rock, hurling through vast network of galaxies and everything in between. I think the idea that all we really need right now is some stability, it’s not that farfetched. Of course the other luxuries come with it, such as: love, hope, health, interconnectedness with others, and acceptance.

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