“If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, then he hasn’t got a reason to live.” These were famous words of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoken June 23, 1963 in Detroit, Michigan.
This will to meaning is the culmination of our developmental process. To cultivate an individual’s capacity to find meaning in their life is the greatest goal, and the source of mankind’s anxiety and neuroses. We all wish to find the meaning within our life, and are unfulfilled when we miss the mark. But according to Frankl, there is always meaning in life, in every single moment, from one to the next we all are capable of making a choice about ourselves, and beyond that, have a responsibility to do so. Even with the transitory nature of our existence and hopelessness in the face of certain death, there is still meaning to be found, there is still freedom to be earned.
Life, it might be argued, is the distinguishing feature of all organisms and may most usefully be thought of as involving various kinds of complex systems of organization providing individual organisms with the ability to make use of those energy sources available to them for both self maintenance and reproduction. Underlying this deceptively persuasive definition, however, lie those persistent traditional problems inherent in the search for an essential, distinctive substance characteristic of all forms of life. Additionally, as evolution theory makes clear, there is the problem of borderline instances, organisms of which it is not easy to say whether or not they may be defined as being alive. One such case
In The Meaning of Life, Richard Taylor argues that meaningless lives our lives that consist of a repetitive cycle of struggles that do not give us any purpose. Taylor describes a meaningful life as one that has a purpose, and is creative and unique to that specific person. Also, the meaningful life is lived in a good and just manner. In The Meanings of Lives, Susan Wolf argues lives that are not involved in an activity that brings positive value are meaningless lives. A person that has a meaningless life by the standards of Taylor can still have a life that is going well for them. Their well-being is not dependent on whether they have a meaningful life or not. Wolf believes that meaningfulness is an important factor in a person’s well-being. Well-being is present when a person’s is living a life that is going positive according to themselves. A person who lives a life that is meaningless as a result of being repetitive and pointless can still have a life that is going well for them.
Deontology and teleology have been regarded two of the dominant theories in the history of ethics. In response to the question ‘What shall we do?’ the former theory tells us that we should do the action(s) that adherence to a principle (s). Conversely, the latter theory holds the view that we should do the action(s) that promotes happiness or pleasure regardless of the principle(s). Intention plays a significant role between the two theories, though it acts differently. The intention of deontological theory is to follow principle(s) whereas for the teleological theory, the intention is to follow the better outcome(s). In her book Meaning in Life and Why it Matters, Susan Wolf rejects both of these theories because they leave out many of the
Most people want to live a meaningful life. They feel that is important to live a life that is sufficient and worthwhile. The meaning of life has been debated among many people and philosophers throughout history. There have been several theories used to try to explain the true purpose of life in some subjective or objective perspective. Louis Pojman argued that religion gives every individual life meaning to it and those who choose not to believe have no morality or purpose in life. On the other hand, suppose someone would object Pojman theory and believed that life with or without God is not required for finding meaning in life. In the following paper, I will explain Pojman theories about religion giving meaning to life and what that life may consist of. Second, I wish to explain how an atheist would reject his premise and provide a response to how a person of faith would respond to and atheists argument.
In Richard Taylor’s chapter “Meaning of Life”, he concluded that objectively, life is meaningless. He stressed his opinion by arguing that life tends to be a cycle of goals that cumulate to nothing. These goals require sequences of exhausting work and attempt that will continue throughout the rest of life but will have no meaning. As one goal is reached, the next is sought out for, forgetting the one that was just achieved. I do not support Taylor on his objective meaningless of life. Life has a meaning, even if it is just being alive, we were created by God and he has a plan for us. Goals help us become better people and they are important to us. Taylor explained that we can find meaning in our lives when a will is put behind our actions. This means that meaningfulness can be found within the veins of anyone. I agree with Taylor, that our actions should be of interest to us, yet his account fails to show that they will make our lives have a meaning. There is no validation, that a change of the state of mind will cause our lives to achieve meaning.
The author brilliantly uses contrasting examples of what meaning is not to extract her argument on how to obtain meaning in a life. Her first example involves someone who spends day and night watching television and drinking beer. While those two activities in themselves aren’t bad, the fact that this person is living in “hazy passivity…/…unconnected to anyone or anything, going nowhere, achieving nothing,” is certainly not a life of meaning; and she refers to this as
In the book What’s It All About? by Julian Baggini discusses philosophy and the meaning of life. This reading was able to bring different perspectives on ideas of the meaning of life that I have thought about before. I was also able to learn about these concerns about life 's meaning or meaninglessness in a philosophical standpoint. Some of the chapters that I found interesting included the chapters titled looking for the blueprint, here to help, and becoming a contender.
Similarly, humans often have to cope with doubt, and the students come to realize they are “different from the normal people outside; we perhaps even knew that a long way down the line there were donations waiting for us. But we didn’t really know what that meant” (pg. 69) In this quote, Ishiguro suggests that a purpose does not solidify one’s meaning in life. Despite knowing their purpose in life is to make donations, the students remain unfulfilled and continue to search for something that feels meaningful to them.
But also in the book it discusses how people do not agree with creating one’s own purpose. They think that if they create their own purpose, then that means that their life meaning is not as meaningful. I do agree with this to some extent but I also think that we know ourselves the best and if we create our own life meaning it can be the most fulfilling. A quote from this chapter is, “What matters is not necessarily what the inventor had in mind, but the uses or purposes the innovation actually has” (p.12). This quote is saying that for example the predetermined meaning of humans is not really important at all. It is what purposes a human can bring about in this world.
What is the meaning of life? Well known Greek philosphers such as Socrates and Plato believed that our purpose in this life was to gain knowledge in preparation for the next life. Other Philosophers such as Epicurus believed that pleasure is the main goal in life. After giving these ideas lots of thought, I have come to my own conclusion that the true meaning of life is far more complex than either of these; far too complex for any human to fully comprehend. In fact these two different philosophies are only part of the grand picture. If it were that easy for men to figure out our lives wouldn't be so messed up now. The meaning of life revolves around many different things. I
Life is a complicated twist of suffering, laughing, and learning all merging to tell a great story - or great many stories. Based on this view, "it is not the end goal or outcome of life that gives life meaning but rather the quality of the story, the quality with which one lives out and develops his or her role."
Throughout human existence, people have often contemplated about the meaning of life. Why do we exist? What purpose do we serve as human beings? Who created us? Is there a mission that humans are supposed to complete while alive? Richard Taylor sought out to answer these questions through his paper The Meaning of Life. He particularly uses the myth on Sisyphus and his life throughout the paper to help prove his point.
Life as we know it could vanish within seconds. The next day is not promised to anyone that walks on this earth. As we live our everyday lives peacefully, we tend not to think what our mission or purpose in life is. Instead, we think what we must do for that to be a “successful” person. Despite this way of thinking, just think for a second. What makes life meaningful? What is life anyway? These questions dive right into the heart of the philosophical, psychological, and the biological aspects of life and what the true meaning of life is. This is a very arguable topic due to every person’s different perspective on life and what it means to them. In summary, I personally think that life is simply what you make of it and each person’s accomplishments has its own merit