The Meaning of Life

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

Joseph Campbell

All around me, I see objects. As do you. We can interact with these objects using all of our senses. This object is smooth to the touch. This one smells like citrus. That one looks shiny. These taste sweet and those objects are noisy. These are simply physical properties of objects. These objects don’t matter until we assign them meaning.

Once something has meaning, we know how it relates to us and how to interact with it. For example, the clothes we wear help us stay warm and protected. They may also help us make a fashionable impression. So, we take care of them – we launder, fold, and neatly store them. And once they’ve outlived their usefulness, they lose meaning and disappear from our lives.

So what then, is the meaning of life? It either has no meaning, or it does. If it doesn’t have a meaning, there’s no reason for us to exist. So, we assume that there is meaning. And that’s what we spend time searching for.

While I don’t think it’s useless to search for meaning, sometimes it’s more efficient to assign ourselves meaning. For some, that might mean having kids and creating a supportive environment for them. It might mean dedicating your life to saving nature. Or, it might mean putting the tastiest things ever created into your mouth. The only wrong answer is to not have one.

Many of us think we fear not having purpose in our lives. However, the reality is that we actually fear having a meaningful life. Having meaning in our lives means that we can’t just lounge around. We mean something to someone, even if it is just ourselves, and therefore have responsibilities and obligations to fulfill.

So, what are you waiting for? Go figure out what you mean. I mean it.

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