The Meaning of Life
Reflections by Cedric
I’ve been so struck by this fundamental question – “What is the meaning of life?”
Most people I know have asked themselves this very thing, and have tried seeking the answer to it. I’ve pondered and pondered over this question under the sun and under the stars, and this is what I dug out of the depths of my brain:
1). That life has an objective meaning.
I like this. Thinking that life has an objective meaning gives purpose to life and we, as humans, can work our way to this objective Truth. However, there is a slight problem with this perspective. That is – ‘What is the objective truth?’ And if there was an objective truth out there somewhere, how do you know that you’ve attained it? Some people find this truth through the guise of religion, while others find it through their family, friends, ethics or the likes of nature. People will often say that this truth that they have, have changed their lives for the better, regardless of the source of that truth, whether religion or others. So it makes it really hard to know which one is the correct belief system. This jumbles up all ideas about objectivity and which truth has meaning, and which one doesn’t, as all have experienced some sort of goodness from their beliefs and community. Therefore, the fact of the matter is, even if there was an objective truth – How do you know that it is the truth? I guess I’m still yet to find out.
2). That life is meaningless.
I don’t like this as much. Regarding life as meaningless is a rather scary and depressing thought. One that makes you want to curl up in bed and never get up. I mean, why on Earth would you like to think life as meaningless? If life was indeed meaningless, then it means that my education, my search for a job, my dreams of getting married and having two kids called Jack and Bob, are all just fantasies. This assertion of life raises up a myriad of question, such as – what’s the difference between being dead and being alive if life is meaningless? And many people go through this. This questioning and disbelief of any meaningful experience can come through to the average person in what is called ‘existential crisis’. However, as depressing as it sounds, there is something rather beautiful about this. It is the realisation that everything is ephemeral and transient, including us. This belief of life can enable us to be aware that we are the ones who create meanings in our lives, rather than trying to find it. Therefore, this perception toward life helps us in our journey by telling us: rather than trying to find the meaning of life, create what it is you’re looking for. This sounds pretty good to me; that is, until I ask myself, “why should I do create meaning if there is nothing meaningful that can exist?” or “If life had no meaning, I shouldn’t have discovered that it had no meaning in the first place”.
3). That life is not real.
Imagine if life was not even real and this was all a dream?
Did I just stick your brain on a frying pan?
Jokes… But is it!?
If you’ve read this far, I would like to say sorry, as this has probably not cleared up or helped you find the meaning of life in any sort of way. I guess the title is a bit misleading.
For this post, I tried to incorporate some light existentialism as it is something I believe all humans grapple with throughout their lifetime, whether in the form of philosophy or not.
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