Life is always going somewhere. Man as a uniquely designed part of the universe, has been endowed with neural networks which give him capacities of thinking, dreaming and doing which transcend even his own imagination. The meaning of life differs from man to man and from moment to moment based on his individuality and uniqueness.
Camus’ Le Mythe de Sisyphe has been the first major step in search for positive values that could justify man’s existence in a world rendered meaningless by the “death of God.” He takes away the little painted screen which the priest holds before the eyes of the condemned man so that the consciousness of death and of the finite length of his lifetime will render the victim aware of the only real value he can know with any certainty – his life.
Being-in-the-world does not imply being-in-the-midst-of-the-world. Heidegger believed that being makes or causes the world to be and which at the same time illuminates or makes appear to man the world which it also causes to be.
Purposes in life are individuals’ choosing in creating their own life and destiny. Sartre supposed that a meaningful life involves political commitment while Nietzsche an attempt to become a powerful creative personality he coined “superman.”
The truth according to Frankl is that love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Man’s salvation is through love and in love. It goes very far beyond the corporeal. It touches man’s spiritual being – his inner self. A love so honest and true fulfills the “nothingness” in one’s being. It is the only way to grasp the innermost core of another being’s existence. When he loves, he sees a potential in him which is not yet actualized but ought to be. That potential might be the meaning to his existence.
To live is to suffer; to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. If there is a purpose in life at all, there must be some in agony. Even in man’s suffering, he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. He who has a “why” to live for can bear almost any “how.”
Death deprives man of further satisfying his possibilities. The thought of death as an imminent possibility might serve to make life more meaningful. Learning to die is man’s last chance to realize his own value and time… his last chance to escape from the banality of everyday existence by recognizing his finitude before courageously facing up death’s lovely face.
Every being comes into the world with a God-given soul and essence which determine his very action; and from a knowledge of which his entire life history might be predicted. Man, by believing there’s an afterlife, affirms that everything he does in his lifetime of physical existence is not futile.
It is impossible to define the meaning of life in a universal way. The search for meaning is an exploration of the possible capacities of the mind and ideas which can most effectively be realized through right actions, behaviors and attitudes. Human life under any circumstances never ceases to have meaning. This meaning fills man’s “existential vacuum.” Significantly, man will give meaning to his life based on his own conscious existence and freedom inherent to his being as evidenced by the choices he has made and will make in the entire course of his life. The road may be long but surely it will end. And that meaning he searches for all his life may be just somewhere along the way…
I found this essay I wrote way way back in college, one Sunday morning. My nose is bleeding.