What is the meaning of life? This is the question that man has wondered about for as long as he’s been around on this planet. In every culture and every country, through out history, philosophers have wondered about this question and they’ve all come up with many different answers. Some of these answers try to be completely rational while others are more about faith. Some are negative while others are positive and optimistic. Here are the top 10 meanings attributed to our existence.
10. A Random Accident:
One perspective is to think that there is no meaning to life. Life is just a random accident and in the long run it really doesn’t matter if life survives or dies. As an individual our lives have no meaning either. On one hand this theory can be very depressing but on the other hand it can be taken positively to mean that we are completely free to do whatever makes us most happy.
9. To Suffer and Die:
A highly negative view of our existence is to think that the purpose of life is to make us suffer before we die. It’s common among teenagers to have such a pessimistic view of life but many intelligent adults have held such a view as well. They feel that earth is the hell where we come to suffer for our sins of another life and we suffer all our life and then die.
8. To Become Better:
One way of looking at life is to think that we are here to become better human beings. This view is common in many religions. In Christianity we are supposed to atone for our sins and in Hinduism we are supposed to gain good karma and wisdom in our recurring lives till we become enlightened and achieve nirvana to break the cycle of birth and rebirth.
7. Biological Evolution:
A scientific way of looking at life is to think about evolution. We are part of life and even though individual members of every species die, life continues to survive and evolve. According to this theory our personal lives don’t mean anything as we all are part of the process of biological evolution irrespective of how we live. According to this view reproduction is the only purpose we have on earth.
6. To Love:
A romantic view of life is to think that we are here to love and be loved. We are sent on earth to spread love and happiness. When we get here we forget about our purpose and that’s why there is so much hate in the world. The best life we can live is to spread love and peace to everyone we meet. While romantically appealing, such a psychedelic view of life is not very productive.
5. To Live “The Good Life”:
A common view among philosophers in the western tradition is to think about “the good life”. We are here to find out what is the best way to live and then to live our life that way. We are also supposed to help others find this way of life so that everyone can live this way. Different philosophers at different times have held different views about what this good life was.
4. To Observe the Universe:
According to this point of view life is just a part of the universe, no different from matter and energy. Life in fact is the universe becoming conscious of itself. The purpose of life is to observe the universe. Life has evolved so that the universe can observe more and more of itself. We humans can not just observe a vast majority of the universe but we can also try to understand how it works. The pursuit of universal laws is the highest pursuit for us.
3. To Gain Knowledge:
A slightly different version of the above point is to view life as an opportunity to gain as much knowledge as we can. The knowledge doesn’t have to be about the workings of the universe alone but can be of any topic. By gaining all this knowledge we are moving towards becoming more conscious and aware of everything.
2. To Achieve Dreams:
A positive way of looking at life is to think of it as an opportunity to live our dreams; to experience both the pain and struggle of hard work and the joy and excitement of success. This life is an opportunity for us to realize our full potential. So the pursuit of our dreams is the only way of living. It’s definitely a motivational view of life.
1. Spiritual Evolution:
One view to look at life is to think about evolution and universalism but in a spiritual context. Life has evolved so that the universe can observe itself and our consciousness is actually the universal consciousness. We have evolved to become more and more intelligent and the next step in the evolution is to become more spiritual. One day we’ll be able to evolve into much more spiritual beings who can observe the universe at a much deeper level. The ultimate goal of spiritual evolution is the realization of the universal consciousness or soul; when all spiritual beings merge into one and attain Godhead.