I struggled with the meaning of life for a long time and never really got really far.
Religion offers meaning, but you had to buy the premise upon which whatever religion you considered offered, which I found difficult.
I saw books on the meaning of life, and never really understood them, since they were just arbitrary infusions of meaning that people put into their life, not absolute values.
However, as I got to understand life a little better, I came to also understand that from the perspective of the individual, life has no intrinsic meaning. It is one of the great choices left to us as humans to chose a meaning, that we find meaningful.
Like twinkies? Become a twinkie crusader. (Hey, if it works for you…)
An even bigger realization that I came to is that I could also choose to say that life HAS NO MEANING, and be perfectly comfortable with that too.
Of course, we all like to think that life has meaning, so it is an uncomfortable statement to make, but as an individual it is certainly my right – and honestly – it’s kind of hard to argue against someone who says that all meaning is arbitrary if you really think about it.
It’s actually interesting how far we go to infuse our life with meaning.
* We define ourselves through other people, instead of recognizing our intrinsic worth.
* We define ourselves through what we do, instead of recognizing our intrinsic value.
* We create belief systems that allow ourselves to be bigger than life (or really to escape death).
But the net result of meaning is that we actually tend to devalue ourselves in the process of finding our own value. Not only that, but I bet for many of you, this entire post makes you uncomfortable, and you are thinking, how sad, life without meaning would be. But really, life without meaning, doesn’t have to be sad, unless you define it that way. Who told you life without meaning is sad? Probably people who wanted to define your meaning!
So what is my model of life without meaning, you ask? Honestly, I think as humans, we have a need to find meaning. Either because, as religion would tell you, it is God given, or due to the fact that evolution wants man to connect and not live alone in caves. So there is an innate need for meaning in our lives, but I do think it is important to realize that meaning is a choice (since probably no one has ever told you that before) and that it is arbitrary (which you might have intuitively thought of already).
Now that it is arbitrary, you can accept religion, relationships, helping the poor, collecting things, or even twinkies as your meaning and live a perfectly meaningful life. At least to you.