2014-06-15

Is there a meaning of life?

You have an intuition on this, even if you cannot articulate it probably. Every major vector of our existence is derived somehow from this intuition: why we make children, why we try to preserve our existence, why we help others, why we don't kill each other.

I would postulate that our everyday moral code can be derived from this intuition on "the meaning of life". The major religions captured it in slightly different ways; however there seems to be something more unifying behind various religious dogmas. I believe there is something very convergent in the intuition that we each have about the meaning of life.


But wait; is there really a meaning of life?
I would answer this by paraphrasing the Descartes's quote "I think, therefore I am". If there would not be any meaning of life, then there would be no meaning in everything we could do. The answer to this question would be meaningless too. If there is no meaning, it does not matter if we answer this question right. It does not matter if our life is happy or we live the worst sufferings we could imagine. Actually, the life would not exist at all; it would be only a strange atom vibration and no one to notice it.

Deep down, you know that there must be a meaning of life, it is proven by the very fact that you continue to live. Even if you are not convinced that "doubting the meaning of life is meaningless" proves that "a meaning exists", you may still reach the same conclusions by using a bet: if there is a meaning of life, it may be worth to try to fulfill it. If there is no meaning in living, then there is no meaning in knowing it. If there is no meaning of life, any advantage taken by not obeying any rules would be also meaningless.

You can still chose to live a life without meaning, but in this case arguing with you would be meaningless ;)


P.S. This is the hard one! Normally it should be like the aim of the journey, not the start. I started with this because I will probably touch a lot of subject that seem unrelated, one with each other. They will be probably related with what is above.

About me
I work as a software engineer and in my personal like I like to think about psychology, economy and philosophy issues. I will put here my reflections and findings. Often, they will be only speculations and, sometimes, they may be proven to be mistaken. I hope I will learn something from you too.

I am not a native English speaker. If the meaning of the phrase is really affected, please give me a note, otherwise just please excuse my language mistakes ;)

Disclaimer: any use of my ideas to justify doing harm is misguided!

3 comments:

  1. "I think, therefore I am" is a hollow starting point and does nothing to suggest a meaning to life; the proposition rests itself on an understanding of language and merely asserts that if one is capable of having thought, they must be in existence. This, clearly, is a long way removed from proving the meaning of life. The statement "this is the meaning of life" ought to be followed by the statement on why one would know this. To say, 'I think, therefore I know my life has meaning', is dually hollow. A more accurate statement would be, 'I think, therefore I know that I am capable of meaningful and organized thought.' But this statement is both odd (who would say that?) and again fails to give any proof of the meaning of life, unless your posit is that the meaning of life is to have organized thought.

    Next, the statement "'doubting the meaning of life is meaningless' proves that 'a meaning exists'" is without ground. What I mean by this is that doubt in itself is not an answer, doubt is the point at which one opts to either challenge their beliefs, or to ignore contradictory evidence in favour of holding onto one's existing beliefs. In this sense, doubting the meaning of life is not meaningless, nor does it prove that meaning exists, it only suggests that to doubt the meaning of life is rather hard as it is nearly impossible for one to compile proof of such a meaning (especially if one argues that proof must be verifiable via falsifiability, meaning that the 'meaning of life' must be proven, ideally, through logic that cannot break, or less ideally, beyond reasonable doubt). The proposition above does not pass the 'beyond reasonable doubt' test, instead it uses the proposition as proof, which is very shake ground.

    Meaningful or meaningless, this question is such that it likely cannot be answered through the lens of philosophy. Instead, it is probably best explained through the lens of personal experience, in which case, each 'meaning' would be unique.

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    1. apologies for the errors in writing... I'm at work ;)

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  2. Philosophy consists of Metaphysics and Epistemology.
    Essentially what exists and how do you know that.

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