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Meaning of life
The meaning of life, or the answer to the question "What is the meaning of life?", pertains to the significance of living or existence in general. Many other related questions include "Why are we here?", "What is life all about?", or "What is the purpose of existence?" There have been a large number of proposed answers to these questions from many different cultural and ideological backgrounds. The search for life's meaning has produced much philosophical, scientific, theological, and metaphysical speculation throughout history. Different people and cultures believe different things for the answer to this question.
The meaning of life as we perceive it is derived from philosophical and religious contemplation of, and scientific inquiries about existence, social ties, consciousness, and happiness. Many other issues are also involved, such as symbolic meaning, ontology, value, purpose, ethics, good and evil, free will, the existence of one or multiple gods, conceptions of God, the soul, and the afterlife. Scientific contributions focus primarily on describing related empirical facts about the universe, exploring the context and parameters concerning the "how" of life. Science also studies and can provide recommendations for the pursuit of well-being and a related conception of morality. An alternative, humanistic approach poses the question, "What is the meaning of my life?"
- Scientific explanations
- Origin and nature of life and reality
- Value of life
- Purpose of life
- What is the meaning of life? What's it all about? Who are we?
Philosopher in Meditation
(detail) by Rembrandt
- Why are we here? What are we here for?
- What is the origin of life?
- What is the nature of life? What is the nature of reality?
- What is the purpose of life? What is the purpose of one's life?
- What is the significance of life? – see also § Psychological significance and value in life
- What is meaningful and valuable in life?
- What is the value of life?
- What is the reason to live? What are we living for?
Suicide (or, "escaping existence"): a solution in which a person simply ends one's own life. Both Kierkegaard and Camus dismiss the viability of this option.
Religious belief in a transcendent realm or being: a solution in which one believes in the existence of a reality that is beyond the Absurd, and, as such, has meaning. Kierkegaard stated that a belief in anything beyond the Absurd requires a non-rational but perhaps necessary religious acceptance in such an intangible and empirically unprovable thing (now commonly referred to as a "leap of faith"). However, Camus regarded this solution as "philosophical suicide".
- Acceptance of the Absurd: a solution in which one accepts and even embraces the Absurd and continues to live in spite of it. Camus endorsed this solution (notably in his 1947 allegorical novel The Plague or La Peste), while Kierkegaard regarded this solution as "demoniac madness": "He rages most of all at the thought that eternity might get it into its head to take his misery from him!"
- To chase dreams.
- To live one's dreams.
- To spend it for something that will outlast it.
- To matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.
- To expand one's potential in life.
- To become the person you've always wanted to be.
- To become the best version of yourself.
- To seek happiness and flourish.
- To be a true authentic human being.
- To be able to put the whole of oneself into one's feelings, one's work, one's beliefs.
- To follow or submit to our destiny.
- To achieve eudaimonia, a flourishing of human spirit.
- To survive, that is, to live as long as possible, including pursuit of immortality (through scientific means).
To live forever or die trying.
- To adapt. Often to improve one's chances of success in another purpose; sometimes, as a purpose in itself (adapting to adapt).
- To evolve.
- To replicate, to reproduce. "The 'dream' of every cell is to become two cells."
- To expand one's perception of the world.
- To follow the clues and walk out the exit.
- To learn as many things as possible in life.
To know as much as possible about as many things as possible.
- To seek wisdom and knowledge and to tame the mind, as to avoid suffering caused by ignorance and find happiness.
- To face our fears and accept the lessons life offers us.
- To find the meaning or purpose of life.
- To find a reason to live.
- To resolve the imbalance of the mind by understanding the nature of reality.
- To leave the world as a better place than you found it.
To do your best to leave every situation better than you found it.
- To benefit others.
- To give more than you take.
- To end suffering.
- To create equality.
- To challenge oppression.
- To distribute wealth.
- To be generous.
- To contribute to the well-being and spirit of others.
- To help others, to help one another.
To take every chance to help another while on your journey here.
- To be creative and innovative.
- To forgive.
To accept and forgive human flaws.
- To be emotionally sincere.
- To be responsible.
- To be honorable.
- To seek peace.
- [He] [God] who created death and life to test you [as to] who is best in deed and He is Exalted in Might, the Forgiving. (Quran 67:2)
- To worship God and enter heaven in afterlife.
- To reach the highest heaven and be at the heart of the Divine.
- To have a pure soul and experience God.
- To understand the mystery of God.
- To know or attain union with God.
- To know oneself, know others, and know the will of heaven.
- To love something bigger, greater, and beyond ourselves, something we did not create or have the power to create, something intangible and made holy by our very belief in it.
- To love God and all of his creations.
- To glorify God by enjoying him forever.
- To spread your religion and share it with others. (Matthew 28:18-20)
- To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.
- To be fruitful and multiply. (Genesis 1:28)
- To obtain freedom. (Romans 8:20-21)
- To fill the Earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28)
- To serve humankind, to prepare to meet and become more like God, to choose good over evil, and have joy.
- To love more.
- To love those who mean the most. Every life you touch will touch you back.
- To treasure every enjoyable sensation one has.
- To seek beauty in all its forms.
- To have fun or enjoy life.
- To seek pleasure and avoid pain.
- To be compassionate.
- To be moved by the tears and pain of others, and try to help them out of love and compassion.
- To love others as best we possibly can.
- To eat, drink, and be merry.
- To strive for power and superiority.
- To rule the world.
- To know and master the world.
- To know and master nature.
- Life or human existence has no real meaning or purpose because human existence occurred out of a random chance in nature, and anything that exists by chance has no intended purpose.
- Life has no meaning, but as humans we try to associate a meaning or purpose so we can justify our existence.
- There is no point in life, and that is exactly what makes it so special.
- The answer to the meaning of life is too profound to be known and understood.
- You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
- The meaning of life is to forget about the search for the meaning of life.
- Ultimately, a person should not ask what the meaning of their life is, but rather must recognize that it is they themselves who are asked. In a word, each person is questioned by life; and they can only answer to life by answering for their own life; to life they can only respond by being responsible.
- Better never to have been. People will always experience pain (harm) which outweighs any pleasure. Not coming into existence means people will not experience pain, nor will they be disadvantaged by not experiencing pleasure as they do not exist. This is described as the asymmetry of pleasure and pain (see antinatalism).
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