You can’t expect to get a sensible answer unless you ask a sensible question. But what the hell is “What’s the meaning of life?” or “What’s it all about?” supposed to mean? They may be grammatical, but so is “What’s the meaning of cheese?”
Julian Baggini, The Guardian, Monday 20 September 2004
So, really, what is The Meaning of Life?
1) A 1983 Monty Python film.
2) 42, according to Douglas Adams.
Okay, let me be serious. I’m a having a small crise existentielle (if we’re getting all Albert Camus about it), and I need an answer. Without getting you all too depressed, if I don’t have an answer, then I don’t have a purpose. If I don’t have a purpose, then, really, do I have a life?
Well, actually, yes. This has cheered me up substantially. Researching “the meaning of life” yields 253 million results on a well-known search engine. Some of which I looked at. And some of those I found helpful.
What I realised is that I’d been focusing on all the things I didn’t have in my life, and that’s the highway to despair. I don’t have a billion pounds, I haven’t cured AIDS or Malaria recently and I have not once climbed Everest. I’m a waste of space.
In fact, some people are extremely broad-minded when it comes to finding purpose in life. Among others on the 253 million-long list I found ‘cry’, ‘expel waste’ and ‘work to survive’. Not examples that would immediately spring to my mind.
However, in my search, I found good old Wikipedia to be concise and considered in its list of potential meanings of life (see below).
Other websites offered a whole array of ideas, some of which were quite affirming for me. Feeling down, I’d only come up with a few, very narrow definitions. Reading through other people’s suggestions, though, made me feel much more positive. Instead of all those I don’ts, I found quite a few I do’s.
I do, for example, accept others, break rules, celebrate, communicate, cry, decide, feel, find things and people, grow (emotionally, intellectually and stomach circumference-wise), have challenges and experiences, learn how things work, lose things and people, love, photograph, play, work to survive and write my story.
For now, that’s enough to stop me hitting the vodka. I hope it’s broadened your mind and given you ideas for meaning and purpose in your own life.
1) To realise one’s potential and ideals
2) To achieve biological perfection
3) To seek wisdom and knowledge
4) To do good, to do the right thing
6) To love, to feel, to enjoy the act of living
7) To seek pleasure
8) To have power, to be better