“…meaning intuitively comes from losing oneself, i.e., in becoming absorbed in an activity or experience (Frankfurt 1982). Work that concentrates the mind and relationships that are engrossing seem central to meaning…” – excerpt from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
When I was a young, naive college student I once asked myself what my purpose is in life and then decided that my life is so small relative for the vastness of the universe that I probably didn’t even matter.
In that moment I thought that I had discovered something very profound about life and only later on did I learn that I didn’t have an wildly original thought. In fact, a lot of my peers have had the same experience. There’s even a word for it – an existential crisis.
Now that I’m older ( but not necessarily wiser ) I prefer to consult history and the advice of other people when I deal with philosophical questions. Hence, I wanted to share two resources that I really liked to go to when I think about meaning of life.
The first is Wikipedia. And in particular section 7 at the bottom where they discuss popular reviews. This might be obvious to you, but I was really surprised to see that there are many different interpretations for the meaning of life. These range from obtaining success, so doing “good” in the world, to even the belief that nothing really matters in the scope of the universe. Since they offer the full buffet of views on Wikipedia, for anyone seeking for a meaning of life I would suggest heading over to that wiki page and then picking your poison.
The second link was introduced to me by my professor of philosophy. This is great resource known as the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy and I’m linking to the page on the meaning of life. This resource offers great references to well studied views on a variety of philosophical topics. Even better, they offer a comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of different philosophies. So if you’re looking for more of a discussion on the meaning of life then I would suggest checking out the link with particular attention to the section on naturalism ( Subjectivism and Objectivism) because I think these are more in line with what the popular mainstream interpretations for the meaning of life.