Looking for the Meaning of Life

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

Albert Camus

I might even go a bit further than Camus:  I have never understood the importance of finding some meaning in life.  It seems to me the mind inevitably creates meanings — and it does so faster and much more often than rabbits create offspring.  Moreover, that’s a real problem.  All those meanings get between us and just living.  So, by the time we are old, we are more intimately aware of  meanings than of life.

5 thoughts on “Looking for the Meaning of Life

  1. The problem, I think, comes from looking for “greater” meaning. Spiritual quests are, in my humble opinion, a waste of time. (But blogging on the internets – that’s not a waste of time at all! 😉 )

  2. I went through a Camus phase in my mid twenties thanks to a wonderful college professor. Reading Camus then helped me to soon after launch into Gide and Beauvoir. Only later did I read much of Sartre.

    Camus is onto something here. We give “life,” and our own lives meanings. Those meanings, if even realistic, are not really permanent, they change for many reasons as we grow, and as the culture(s) change. These meanings are not authentic if they are meanings that can’t adapt, or be discarded as appropriate. What was our “life’s meaning” becomes a trap that prevents us from living a life we think or realise is actually meaningful later on.

    If we go to the trouble to give life a meaning, and that meaning is wrong, or outdated we are making our lives something of an absurdity. A willingness to reflect, revisit, and even discard what we’ve built up as a “meaning of life” seems as important as actually arriving at the meaning itself.

  3. Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning describes how he managed to survive Nazi concentration camps by finding meaning in his suffering. Meaning can be very tangible: living to save someone else from suffering or to save their life. This Will to Meaning is in contrast to Freud’s Will to Pleasure and Nietche’s Will to Power. On a day to day basis I don’t start out with “my life has meaning.” I go to work as a therapist, I help some people, and I think “that was a meaningful day” in that I learned something new and so did the other person. Out of my own behavior I can generalized that some of the things I do have meaning, like interacting with my children. Taking a bath, watching TV, getting my hair colored, as I’m about to do in an hour. Purely selfish and vacuous. No meaning at all.

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