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Thread: What is it that gives our lives a meaning?

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    What is it that gives our lives a meaning?



    What comes to my mind immediately in answer to this difficult question is love. Without love life has little meaning : love for one's fellow man; love for one's spouse and one's children; love for one's friends; love for one's students; for strangers, for those who come from afar. Without this surely life has little meaning.


    And linked with love comes meaningful work of some kind. Without the dignity and meaningfulness of work it is very hard to love. We need to feel we, too, are lovable in order to be able to love others. We need to feel we have some intrinsic worth and this often comes through work, whatever kind of work that might be.


    In my own case I am a writer and thus a reader and hope with my words to reach out to others as the great writers have done for me. I hope to form a community of some kind, to share my own preoccupations, my insights, and my emotions with others. As a writer one hopes to distract and to teach and ultimately to uncover some deeper truth about life and share this with others. One needs to aspire to some higher cause, some higher realm. Certainly religion can give our lives its ultimate meaning in its hope for an after life, but above all it seems to me we cannot live in complete isolation and our attempts to reach out to others gives our lives the meaning it needs.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...e-have-meaning
    I agree, love is what gives our lives meaning. Love can come in many forms, and it may be hard to define; yet it is certainly a tangible feeling. It is also a great source of motivation to do great things. Instead of simply doing what is necessary to survive; a passion of some kind can make us yield greater accomplishments. If people think they're motivated by the opposite. It is because they are truly seeking a sense of love, and belonging. A life motivated by hate is unnatural, and misguided.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    What do you mean by meaning?
    Is it a reason we live for (reason behind "creation"), is it the "end game" of a single life or whole species, or meaning as a most important part of our everyday lives?
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    What do you mean by meaning?
    Is it a reason we live for (reason behind "creation"), is it the "end game" of a single life or whole species, or meaning as a most important part of our everyday lives?
    That's the way I interpreted it from the article. But I think pursuing what we love even in small things, can cumulatively give our lives a greater purpose. Even possibly leading to a great achievement along the way.

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    For everyday meaning I have few. Self improvement, exploring unknown, playing with kids and teaching them, being happy.
    When happy, it easy to love... ;)

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    WE give this meaning to our lives. This is the point!

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    I agree, love is what gives our lives meaning. Love can come in many forms, and it may be hard to define; yet it is certainly a tangible feeling. It is also a great source of motivation to do great things. Instead of simply doing what is necessary to survive; a passion of some kind can make us yield greater accomplishments. If people think they're motivated by the opposite. It is because they are truly seeking a sense of love, and belonging. A life motivated by hate is unnatural, and misguided.
    Love is motivating, but the fact that it motivates does not imply that it provides meaning. I would say that, if I had to chose a subjective feeling as a source of meaning (rather than philosophical arguments regarding objective facts), then awe and cosmic awareness would seem much more natural as a source of meaning to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oxxy View Post
    WE give this meaning to our lives. This is the point!
    Existentialism. :|

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    As a good husband and father I feel obligated to say that love gives my life meaning, but it's not true. For me, meaning is my image of myself (is that vanity?). That personal image includes a number of aspects: being a husband and father (raising my two sons was a hoot), but also includes being a runner, a gardener, a pilot, a family historian (what a geek thing to do!), a scout leader (a truly informative instruction in child-parent relations), and a Naval officer. My meaning is what I do. Is that existentialism? I'm afraid I began to nod off in my philosophy courses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    As a good husband and father I feel obligated to say that love gives my life meaning, but it's not true. For me, meaning is my image of myself (is that vanity?). That personal image includes a number of aspects: being a husband and father (raising my two sons was a hoot), but also includes being a runner, a gardener, a pilot, a family historian (what a geek thing to do!), a scout leader (a truly informative instruction in child-parent relations), and a Naval officer. My meaning is what I do. Is that existentialism? I'm afraid I began to nod off in my philosophy courses.
    I know what you mean, and I think so.

    It's never been enough for me, but I don't know what to substitute.

    Every read Frankel's " Man's Search for Meaning"? Love was enough for him or even just the idea of his wife, of love. It was my "bible" for a long time. As I said, it's not enough for me.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man%27...ch_for_Meaning

    Langer and all the other critics are idiots, imo.

    Of course, survival in that situation was dependent on a lot of factors: physical strength and psychological strength and a good immune system, things which we know now are heavily genetically based, intelligence and wit (again somewhat genetically influenced), whether or not you understood German (pointed out by Primo Levi), when you were picked up (nobody lasted for more than a year or two), whether you had a skill they needed, whether you had friends to help you, and, extremely important, luck.

    However, it is absolutely true that when people have no more to live for, when they give up, they die sooner.

    He never said or implied it was the fault of the people in the camps whether they died or not.

    Sometimes I despair of human intelligence when I read reactions like that.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Whoa, Angela! That's getting a little heavy for me. I think I can discuss what meaning may be in the context of a violence-free suburban world, but finding meaning in a world gone mad is a little outside my wheelhouse.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Whoa, Angela! That's getting a little heavy for me. I think I can discuss what meaning may be in the context of a violence-free suburban world, but finding meaning in a world gone mad is a little outside my wheelhouse.
    Outside mine too. :) Everyone experiences tragedy sooner or later, even in suburbia, but his experience was indeed completely out of the ordinary. Yet from it he drew his life's work.

    The book is about his experience in a concentration camp only in the sense that this led to his philosophy of life, and to the formulation of his brand of psychological therapy. It's a tiny little book which has helped a lot of people.

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    Internet and Overpopulation is growing while Meanings are decreasing. We never were that much alone as right now. A guy once created an utopia for overpopulated mouses, they all turned gay and didn't make it.

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    Before opening the thread I was thinking "love", and surprise!

    Love is the best thing. There's nothing like the feeling of love and care for others, and trying to see people in a more positive than negative light.

    One of the things that makes me feel more at ease, when thinking about the inevitable future we all hold (death), is that the love I have shared between my loved ones (family and friends, and others too) will always be part of history. Even if all things perish, logically speaking the past will be real. So when you hug your mother, that moment will always remain in the timeline of reality!

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    Love or the hope to get it. I think Love moves the world.

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    the next Carling

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    Absolutely agree! Human need to focus more on meaning of life.

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    Both my wife and I feel like life's purposeless without children to bother doing anything for ourselves otherwise. That's why we didn't do much without a baby or kid around, to rationalise any ambitions beyond surviving from paycheque to paycheque. Life certainly feels better with our family to be there for.

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    Similarly, I found becoming a Father changed everything for me. Before that, life was about enjoying the trip. The meaning was me. Afterwards, much of what mattered (though not all of it) was about helping shape these new human beings and seeing life through their “new” eyes. It also gave my life a different timescale. Things wouldn’t end with me.

    Perhaps the change centered on the difference between having meaning and having purpose.

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