Questioning The Meaning Of Life Essay

2622 words - 10 pages

`Where did we come from?', `Why are we here?', `Where are we going?'. These are questions which surface, centre stage, at some point in most people's lives. For philosophers, and others, they constitute the core problem known traditionally as the Meaning of Life.

It might be thought that the first task in considering the question of the `Meaning of Life' is to define the key terms: `Life' and `Meaning'. However, the meanings of `Meaning' are many; and `Life' itself could be seen as not so much a separate entity, but rather, the totality of those meanings to which I have alluded. Anyway, I shall take `Life' in this context to mean HUMAN life, and the meaning of this life as, specifically, the condition of our existence so far as we bring this into question.

The question of life's meaning is not simply an exercise in intellectual curiosity; it arises when life is seen as a problem, and it is one that it is imperative to solve. For example, Albert Camus, in his `The Myth of Sisyphus', sees the question as linked closely to the problem of suicide: Why commit suicide? Why not, if life has no meaning?

A vivid description of the state of mind behind the question is also to be found in Tolstoy's `My Confession', where the great Russian enquires, `Is there any meaning in life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?'

It could even be said that those for whom life has never appeared problematic, have not really found - nor can they ever know - the meaning of life. For these people Life is just a matter of `living', and the question of its meaning simply does not arise.

As the question of meaning is not purely speculative, but practical, it is also related to the question of VALUE. The ethical question could be expressed as `What is the good life?' or `How ought we to live?' However, the question of life's meaning is `WHY should we live?'

So, `What is the meaning of life?' might be re-phrased thus: `Is life worth living?' All of which brings out an ambiguity in the phrase `the meaning of life'. Sometimes it is taken as equivalent to `the value of life', or that in virtue of which life is worth living. It may also be taken to refer to the nature of the human condition - how it is with us, how we FEEL about life. Nevertheless, to the extent that questions about the `Why' of life may be seen as concerned with the value of life (`What makes life worth living?'), they are therefore related to the ethical.

Pessimism is a possible answer to the question of life's meaning: life is devoid of meaning in the sense of worth. Pessimism or optimism may be thought merely an attitude people have towards life, something having no objective validity; the optimist sees the bottle as half full, the pessimist sees it half empty - and that's all there is about it. But, while some of our attitudes towards things are unreasoned others are not. A pessimist may have arguments for pessimism: one philosopher actually claimed to have proven that...

Find Another Essay On Questioning the Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life Essay

965 words - 4 pages As soon as the caveman progressed to the point where he ceased living in terror of the animals, the weather and all the gods, he started thinking about his life and what it meant. Since the conception of language and the thousands of technical refinements that brought us to the printed page, mankind has written much about this mysterious force.  It is interesting to note that "life" has 44 definitions -- one of the most defined words

The Importance of Questioning Essay

1119 words - 4 pages One of the main topics discussed during this week’s course module is the subject of questioning. This subject is a very important and necessary one in leadership, teamwork, and project development. I believe questions can and should be asked in every aspect of an organization. In this paper, we will investigate the importance of questioning in project success, as well as specific types of questions that may be asked. We will also discuss the

The Meaning of Life and Social Discourses

1512 words - 6 pages In Robert Lowell’s confessional poetry Life Studies (1962), Drusilla Modjeska’s memoir The Orchard (1994), Arthur Bochner’s personal narrative It’s About Time (1997) and Felicia Sullivan’s memoir The Sky isn’t Visible from Here (2008), the truth and meaning of a life is understood to be a product of social discourses. This means they are mediated between language, supplementations outside the life represented, and spectres of past, present and

Pursuit for the Meaning of Life

779 words - 3 pages meaning of life" and yet they differ in the totally optimistic and ambiguous attitudes towards life; in their traditional and irregular forms and many more.An easy access to a poem is to know what is about first. From the title "A Psalm of Life" and the repetition of the word "life" over and over again, Longfellow makes his topic obvious. He, as the "young man", tells the reader what he thinks the meaning of life, that is, to make the most of each day

The Meaning of Life and Death

3910 words - 16 pages The Meaning of Life and Death The abstract idea of life cannot be explained by such simple ideas as being animated, breathing, or speaking. Ordinary machines in this century can perform all of these basic functions. The quandary with defining death is not as abstract and elusive as that of life. The problem of defining life and death has plagued philosophers and the religious bodies for thousands of years for one reason; each philosophy or

Questioning the Truth of the News

4138 words - 17 pages happened with the Kobe Bryant case. Reporters have run out of material, so now they are digging up background information about the victim. They are destroying the victim’s life, but at the same time have a great story. The media has been so eager to report about trials that are going on, that people who are participating in these trials might feel in danger and possibly even ruin the case. Some of these instances occur when the media conduct pre

Meaning of life essay

1792 words - 7 pages PAGE Meaning of Life EssayWhat is the meaning of life? Many agree that the answer depends on the person asking the question. When Albert Camus and Richard Taylor decide to answer this question, they must take an in-depth look into the real and mythological worlds to arrive at a concise answer to this question that has baffled so many. Both have similar views with subtle differences - however Taylor's view is the more accurate of the two.When

Meaning of Life

1948 words - 8 pages Finik 1Michael FinikMr. GodboutENG4UA11 July 2014Meaning of lifeWhy does one live? What purpose does one serve? What is the meaning of life? These are all existential questions that both ancient and modern philosophers have yet to satisfactorily answer. The weight of one's mortality and the differences of life and death are introduced right from the start of Shakespeare's play Hamlet having Hamlet, in the aftermath of his father's death, attempt

The Existence of God and the Meaning of Life

1408 words - 6 pages Canadian author, W.O. Mitchell, is fascinated with the meaning of life. Whether this is a result of growing up during the depression or simply indicative of Mitchell’s deep philosophical thinking, this theme constantly shows up in his work. In both his humorous drama, The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon and the eloquent children’s Canadian classic, Who has Seen the Wind, Mitchell tackles the age-old question with grace, humor, and care

The Meaning of Life in Walt Whitman's Song of Myself

1009 words - 4 pages The Meaning of Life in Walt Whitman's Song of Myself Our culture seems to be fascinated by the unknown and specifically that which pertains to things of an eternal nature such as Heaven, angels, God and the meaning of forever. These things cause us to think about what we can't see and even allow us to engage ourselves in questioning the meaning behind our existence and what our purpose is here on earth. Some of these may be humorous and

A Reflection On The Meaning Of Life From Three Perspectives

2521 words - 11 pages What is the most asked philosophical question? It seems to me that the answer is: what is the meaning of life? Everywhere in the world, one can find the evidence that finding a meaning in life is very important for people. Humanity appears to be preoccupied with this question since the very dawn of civilization. What do Socrates, Baruch De Spinoza and Simone De Beauvoir have in common? Yes, their names all have an ‘S’ in it. But there is

Similar Essays

The Meaning Of Life Essay

2555 words - 10 pages of life, then life will always be meaningless. If ambition brings about advantage, those advantages must be neutralized. This is the goal of the atheist. If there is nothing but darkness after life, the goal must be to create heaven on earth.       Everyone has questioned their purpose in life for example in his article, “My Confession”, Leo Tolstoy has gone through his life without ever really questioning the meaning

The Meaning Of Life Essay

2253 words - 9 pages The Meaning of Life The most difficult thing in life is finding something worth living for. The second most difficult thing is knowing when you've found it...... by Jamie Andreas Okay, let's be light hearted for once. Let's not talk about some heavy subject. Let's pick something more down to earth and fun. How about the meaning of life? Yes, the meaning of life, and the purpose of our lives. Teen-agers (that group of people who are most

The Meaning Of Life Essay

693 words - 3 pages 1Emiliia DruchukProf. Susan MurrayEnglish 12Essay # 1March 27, 2014The Meaning of LifeOur life is a gift. Not just a simple gift, but also a valuable gift that is given to mankind. So every person on the earth have to live his/her life to be a useful, bring a benefits to people around, and fill it with deep meaning. Famous American psychiatrist David Viscott once said:" The purpose of life is to discover your gift, the meaning of life is to give

The Meaning Of Life Essay

681 words - 3 pages If one were to conduct a survey of one hundred random people posing the question of the meaning of life, the answers given would vary drastically among those questioned. The most popular answer, however cliché, would most likely be, "to find love." From the time that we are infants we are shown, as well as told, about stories that finish "...happily ever after". The feelings that are associated with these mental images make us feel light