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April 22, 2022

Does Life Mean Something?

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It is the question that everyone at some point in their lives asks themselves. Does life mean something?

Well, you might be surprised to know that there is in fact an answer. Through centuries of philosophy and debate and research thousands of people have come to different conclusions.

Some of those conclusions include the desire for happiness to be the meaning of life. According to Greek philospher Plato though, the meaning of life is actually the pursuit of knowledge. Knowledge being the nature of the body and mind, earth and the universe to understand some of the secrets beyond what we can see.

Usually there is a divide however, between philosophical and religious viewpoints, albeit a lot of crossover. One who believes in God, as is the most popular God-based viewpoint on the meaning of life, is that ones existence is significant if that person fulfils a purpose assigned by God. Growing close to God being the point, and eventually reaching a higher level of consciousness, ready for the next life.

Influential speakers like Alan Watts purported that the meaning in life was to ‘simply be alive.’ A famous quote by Watts; ‘The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.’

All these contrasting viewpoints can leave people genuinely seeking an answer to become lost or confused as to what they should be looking for. Should they look for knowledge, God or simply live? Then there is the endless wave of new age mysticism, meditation and spirituality, offering supernatural insights and in the most extreme cases answers to life itself.

Meditation can be utilised to effectively quiet a loud mind, taming the ‘monkey brain’, becoming more self aware, calm and peaceful through the art of mindfulness. Meditation might lead one to understand something significant about themselves, or to come to a great revelation about life. All experiences should be taken with caution. Buddhism is partly based on the idea of changing mindsets to be calmer and more positive, which in turn will provide tons of benefits to the humble and practicing individuals. Gautama Buddha once said that ‘anyone who is not working toward the truth is missing the whole point of living.’

I would argue there is many things wrong with this statement. It implies that truth is going to lead to some purpose of fulfilment in life, and that it is the point of life. That is incorrect to say, as many people have different paths in life and all eventually come to realise their own truth. What is the truth? It is usually not specified, as if you are chasing a white rabbit you will never catch.

Perhaps the overall message is one of love and positivity, self respect and compassion for fellow humans. That could be the meaning of life. Ultimately, it is what you make of it. You can be a good person, or you can be a bad person. The play on earth will continue until earth burns in the sun. At the moment though, living is all about being oneself and trying the best they can.

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