What is the Philosophical Meaning of Life

Posted on July 31, 2010
What is the Philosophical Meaning of Life - Philosophy of Happiness in Life

Life can have a number of meanings and philosophical meaning is just one of them. I recently found a good answer to this question on Yahoo Answers. It was not only about the philosophical meaning of life but also covered this meaning in other terms like, temporal success and survival, its meaning in terms of wisdom and knowledge, ethical, religious, spiritual and other ways.

I liked the best answer so much that I’m publishing it here, if you wish to see the original page then visit the links at the bottom of this page.

Ways to find Meaning of Life

The philosophical question “What is the meaning of life?” means different things to different people. The vagueness of the query is inherent in the word “meaning”, which opens the question to many interpretations, such as: “What is the origin of life?”, “What is the nature of life (and of the universe in which we live)?”, “What is the significance of life?”, “What is valuable in life?”, and “*What is the purpose *of, or in, (one’s) life?”. These questions have resulted in a wide range of competing answers and arguments, from scientific theories, to philosophical, theological, and spiritual explanations.

These questions are separate from the scientific issue of the boundary between things with life and inanimate objects.

Popular beliefs
“What is the meaning of life?” is a question many people ask themselves at some point during their lives, most in the context “What is the purpose of life?” Here are some of the many potential answers to this perplexing question. The responses are shown to overlap in many ways but may be grouped into the following categories:

Survival and temporal success

…to live every day like it is your last and to do your best at everything that comes before you
…to be always satisfied
…to live, go to school, work, and die
…to participate in natural human evolution, or to contribute to the gene pool of the human race
…to advance technological evolution, or to actively develop the future of intelligent life
…to compete or co-operate with others
…to destroy others who harm you, or to practice nonviolence and nonresistance
…to gain and exercise power
…to leave a legacy, such as a work of art or a book
…to eat
…to prepare for death
…to spend life in the pursuit of happiness, maybe not to obtain it, but to pursue it relentlessly.
…to produce offspring through sexual reproduction (alike to participating in evolution)
…to protect and preserve one’s kin, clan, or tribe (akin to participating in evolution)
…to seek freedom, either physically, mentally or financially
…to observe the ultimate fate of humanity to the furthest possible extent
…to seek happiness and flourish, experience pleasure or celebrate
…to survive, including the pursuit of immortality through scientific means
…to attempt to have many sexual conquests (as in Arthur Schopenhauer’s will to procreate)
…to find and take over all free space in this “game” called life
…to seek and find beauty
…to kill or be killed
…No point. Since having a point is a condition of living human consciousness. Animals do not need a point to live or exist. It is more of an affliction of consciousness that there are such things as points, a negative side to evolutionary development for lack of better words.

Wisdom and knowledge

…to master and know everything
…to be without questions, or to keep asking questions
…to expand one’s perception of the world
…to explore, to expand beyond our frontiers
…to learn from one’s own and others’ mistakes
…to seek truth, knowledge, understanding, or wisdom
…to understand and be mindful of creation or the cosmos
…to lead the world towards a desired situation
…to satisfy the natural curiosity felt by humans about life

Ethical

…to express compassion
…to follow the “Golden Rule”
…to give and receive love
…to work for justice and freedom
…to live in peace with yourself and each other, and in harmony with our natural environment
…to protect humanity, or more generally the environment
…to serve others, or do good deeds

Religious and spiritual

…to find perfect love and a complete expression of one’s humanness in a relationship with God
…to achieve a supernatural connection within the natural context
…to achieve enlightenment and inner peace
…to become like God, or divine
…to glorify God
…to experience personal justice (i.e. to be rewarded for goodness)
…to experience existence from an infinite number of perspectives in order to expand the consciousness of all there is (i.e. to seek objectivity)
…to be a filter of creation between heaven and hell
…to produce useful structure in the universe over and above consumption (see net creativity)
…to reach Heaven in the afterlife
…to seek and acquire virtue, to live a virtuous life
…to turn fear into joy at a constant rate achieving on literal and metaphorical levels: immortality, enlightenment, and atonement
…to understand and follow the “Word of God”
…to discover who you are
…to resolve all problems that one faces, or to ignore them and attempt to fully continue life without them, or to detach oneself from all problems faced

Philosophical

…to give life meaning
…to participate in the chain of events which has led from the creation of the universe until its possible end (either freely chosen or determined, this is a subject widely debated amongst philosophers)
…to know the meaning of life
…to achieve self-actualisation
…all possible meanings have some validity
…life in itself has no meaning, for its purpose is an opportunity to create that meaning, therefore:
…to die
…to simply live until one dies (there is no universal or celestial purpose)
…nature taking its course (the wheel of time keeps on turning)
…whatever you see you see, as in “projection makes perception”
…there is no purpose or meaning whatsoever
…life may actually not exist, or may be illusory )
…to contemplate “the meaning of the end of life”

Other Meanings

…to contribute to collective meaning (“we” or “us”) without having individual meaning (“I” or “me”)
…to find a purpose, a “reason” for living that hopefully raises the quality of one’s experience of life, or even life in general
…to participate in the inevitable increase in entropy of the universe
…to make conformists’ lives miserable
…to make life as difficult as possible for others (i.e. to compete)

This is the answer  provided by Jayaraman at Yahoo Answers.  I hope you would have liked the answer and its depth as much as I’ve enjoyed reading.

For more updates on philosophy and life, finding success in life with natural positive approach within us, revisit this philosophical blog or read more in “What is the Meaning of the Life” and “Making A Meaningful Life” in this blog.

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