Explaining the Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

Explaining the Meaning of Life

The meaning of life, also known as the answer to the age-old question: ‘what is the meaning of life?’ pertains to the meaning of life in general, which is, to put it simply, the purpose of one’s life. Many other related inquiries include: ‘What would be a perfect life’, ‘what does beauty consist of’, ‘why is there suffering?’ and ‘would life be possible without certain basic necessities?’ Answers to these questions are endless, and each offers different perspectives and insights into the nature and structure of life. What is the meaning of life therefore is relative to the understanding of what is required to make it happen, as well as what makes it happen in the first place.

Philosophical engagements with the meaning of life begin, naturally, with an inquiry into the nature and purposes of being and the existence of being. Most philosophers hold that we exist in a material world and that our purposes or intentions determine the nature and quality of that world, both materially and qualitatively. Thus, the meaning of life is also determined by the meaning of reality. However, other philosophers argue that the meaning of life is something entirely different from and independent of anything that has been described or proven by science. For these philosophers, the meaning of life is something that has been shaped, molded and developed over time through human interaction with all of the universe, including non-living matter.

The most common explanation for the meaning of life is that it is a function of being and purpose, with the meaning of life being determined by a purpose or a plan. However, other philosophers argue that the meaning of life must be something other than this, such as the idea that life is just or right because it benefits humans or other living things. In addition, some philosophers argue that even if the meaning of life were explained through science, meaning would still be completely relative to humans, and thus would not pertain to all of the species of creatures that share the planet.