The Meaning of Life
Human beings are essentially animals with a basic need to survive. Getting food, water, rest, and procreation are essential parts of our daily existence. The meaning of life is something beyond these requirements, and could be something as varied as continuing evolution. However, most contemporary analytic philosophers hold the opinion that relevant value is absent from experience machines. Interestingly, Goetz does not agree with this view. He points to a Greek myth, which tells the story of a man rolling a stone up a hill for eternity.
According to the theory, meaning is a natural product, a collection of bits and pieces that form the individual’s world. Each bit is meaningful in isolation, but the sum of parts affects the individual’s sense of meaning. For instance, a child who is given a dog as a pet may not find that dog a meaningful toy, whereas an infant who has no object to play with will not feel meaningless.
The famous soul-centered argument suggests that if we are to have meaning in life, we must do something to change the world. But even if we are mortal and can’t make a difference, we are still living for ourselves. And what if we were to do something good for another? Perhaps it would be worth it to help someone suffering? That way, we’ll be doing something worthwhile for both of us. But how do we decide what to do with our lives?