Meaning of Life
In brief Meaning of Life is the result of churning of the outer world by the inner self or the way inner self relates with the outer world in all its multiple manifestations.
It is just a simple quote for which I could just clicked like and shared it, but then I remembered having written down many things about the word meaning itself and of curse constantly trying to find out the meaning of life.
I hunted down my old files in my external hard disks and combined them here.
We need to know what does the word ‘meaning ‘means’, and also try to understand what is mostly meant by ‘Meaning of Life’.
Meaning- the meaning of the word ‘meaning’ itself has multiple dimensions because of plethora of connotations it has inevitable acquired over the centuries.
Implied, intended, inferred, inherent, inevitable, in context, in relation to something, interpreted, injected, in between the lines, impregnated, internalized meaning, interactional meaning, infused, confused and so on.
Besides, it takes multiple prefixes like philosophical, religious, political, scientific, social, cultural, conceptual, idealistic, perceived, predetermined, perverted, acquired, assigned, appropriated and humorous and so on and so forth.
All these go to indicate one thing clearly that the word meaning and more so ‘meaning of life’ can be better defined by the context or the situation in which it is used and by the relative experience that a person undergoes living through a maze of confounding edicts, complicated ethics and contaminated environments.
So, ‘meaning of life’ is neither predefined and nor, fortunately, patented and therefore cannot be prescribed as ‘such and such’ with a definite label.
It is so because life itself has too many facets and dimensions and perceived and lived differently by different species at different times and at various places.
Meaning of life cannot be defined away or described away by any conceptual definition or description however lofty and logical, and irrespective whichever source it emanates from.
Here are some interesting links all which throw up various perceptions from different perspectives which can help us understand better or grasp the complexity of the topic ‘Meaning of Life’:-
http://www.webwinds.com/frankl/meaning.htm- a great collection from excellent souls
Purpose of Life--by Neal Donald Walsch says, “Here is the meaning, the purpose of your life: to create yourself, to create who you are. To express, to experience, to declare, to fulfill, to be, who you really are. Every decision you make -- every decision that you make every second -- is not a decision about what to do, it is a decision about who you are. Every act is an act of self-definition.
Once you understand this, things start to change. You start seeing everything with a new perspective, you start placing everything you do in context.
With every decision, every thought you have, every word you say, every deed you do, ask yourself: Is this Who I Am? And things will start to change. And you will know, as you create her, who you are."
J.Krsihnamurthi on Meaning of Life , “What is life all about? What is it all for? We are born and we die, and during those years of pain and sorrow, joy and pleasure, there is the everlasting struggle and effort, going to the office or the factory for forty or fifty years, trying to climb the ladder of success, accumulating money, pleasure, experience, knowledge, and at the end death. Some scientists say that through knowledge comes the ascent of man. Is that so? We have an infinite amount of knowledge about many things - biological, archaeological, historical and so on - but apparently knowledge has not changed man radically, deeply; the same conflict, struggle, pain, pleasure, the everlasting battle for existence goes on.
Seeing all that continuing in every country and in every climate, what is it all about? It's very easy to reply with an emotional, romantic, neurotic explanation, or with an intellectual, rational explanation. But if you put all these aside as obviously being rather superficial, however intellectual, I think this is a very important question to ask - important to ask and to find an answer for oneself, not depending on some priest, some guru, or some philosophical concept, not asserting anything, not believing in anything, not having any ideal, but merely observing very deeply. Otherwise we lead a very mechanistic life. Our brains have become used to a mechanical way of life; part of this brain must be mechanical, necessarily so, in the acquisition of knowledge and the skilful use of that knowledge in every way of life, in every action outwardly, technologically. But this knowledge that one has acquired - and we can pile up knowledge more and more - does not answer the fundamental question: What is the meaning, the depth of our life?
Religions have tried to offer the meaning of life - that is, organised, propagandistic, ritualistic religions. But, in spite of 2,000 or 10,000years, man has merely asserted certain principles, certain ideals, certain conclusions, all verbal, superficial, non-realistic. So I think it becomes very important to discover a meaning for oneself, if one at all serious - and one must be serious, otherwise one does not really live at all, which doesn't mean one never laugh or smiles - serious in the sense of a total commitment to the whole issue of life. So when we ask what is the meaning of life, we are faced with the fact that our brain is caught in a groove, caught in habit, in tradition, in the conditioning of our education, cultivating only knowledge, information, and so making it more and more mechanical.
If we are to inquire into this very deeply, there must be great doubt. Doubt, skepticism are essential, because they bring a certain quality of freedom of mind through negation of everything that man has put together - his religions, rituals, dogmas, beliefs which are all the movements of thought. Thought is a material process as even the scientists accept. But thought has not solved our problems, it has not been able to delve deeply into itself; it has merely, being itself a fragment, broken up all existence into fragments. So there is this quality of the brain which is mechanistic, and necessarily so in certain areas, but inwardly, in the psychological structure of the human mind, there is no freedom. It is conditioned; it is bound by belief, by so-called ideals, by faith. So when one doubts all that, sets all that aside - not theoretically but factually, meticulously - then what is left? One is afraid to do that because one says to oneself, "If I deny everything that thought has put together what is left?" When you realize the nature of thought - which is a mechanical process of time, measure, the response to memory, a process which brings more and more suffering, agony, anxiety and fear to mankind - and go beyond, negate it, then what is there?”
DAVID VISCOTT says, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
SWAMI VIVEKANNDA says , “You have to grow from the inside out. none can teach you, none can make you spiritual. there is no other teacher but your own soul.”-
Osho says, “Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny — he has something to fulfill, some message has to be delivered, some work has to be completed. You are not here accidentally — you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you.”
“Meaning is man-created. And because you constantly look for meaning, you start to feel meaninglessness.”
“Nobody can give you the meaning of your life. It is your life; the meaning has also to be yours. It is your life and it is only accessible to you. Only in living will the mystery be revealed to you”.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoQMdMYI1bg&list=PLE23FDD0AD0550F8C - Steven Pinker’s speech on Meaning of Life who says, “The meaning of life is to perpetuate life, to increase knowledge, wisdom, and beauty, and to maximize the flourishing and minimize the suffering of sentient beings”.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvXc4q21TPc - Aron Ra on meaning in life
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxGMqKCcN6A&list=PL259525AF5257A404 - Richrad Dawkins
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fjkbm26loE -Dan Dennett on creating meaning in life
Some parts of Interview with Steven Pinker by Wright which are relevant to the topic under discussion.
“Wright: Yes and given the fact again if you accept the contention that the trajectory toward more and more complex sentience is inherent in evolution in you accept my contention that that's true that seems to me to somehow make teleological scenarios somewhat more palatable especially in view of the fact that sentience is what gives life meaning it's a fact that it feels like something to be alive that makes happiness possible it's the reason we...
Steven Pinker: It makes it the reason it's bad to kill someone or hurt them...
Wright: Yes I mean this is one thing I think you do so well in "How the Mind Works" is stress that the human mind is is very limited organ in a certain sense I mean it shouldn't surprise us that it can't answer a lot of cosmic questions, it was designed to solve a finite set of tasks on a on a on a particular planet. It says "our minds evolve by natural selection" I think this is very near the end of the book, it's in the final chapter "The Meaning of Life," "our minds evolve by natural selection to solve problems that were life and death matters to our ancestors not to commune with correctness or to answer any question we're capable of asking. We cannot hold 10,000 in short term memory. We cannot see in ultra-violet light. We cannot mentally rotate an object in the 4th dimension and perhaps we cannot solve conundrums like free will and sentience..."
Steven Pinker: Yes.
Steven Pinker: Yes.
Wright: And I think really one of the I mean people consider evolutionary psychology kind of dispiriting in a lot of ways I mean many people don't understand it entirely but but one sense in which I think it has almost the opposite effect is to remind us that we should be a little humble about our ability to dismiss philosophical questions I mean we just don't we just don't get everything and we we probably by nature can't and and I think with respect sentience I mean it's possible there are metaphysical laws not not necessarily in the plain sense of metaphysics but in the once respectable sense of metaphysics... that we just perhaps we'll never comprehend.
Steven Pinker: Right. I mean the what one view is that there is actually a discipline devoted to topics that the human mind is incapable of understanding and that discipline is called philosophy...
On Meaning of meaning
Marcuse writes,” A genuinely philosophic analysis of meaning has to take all these dimensions of meaning into account because the linguistic expressions partake of all of them. Consequently, linguistic analysis in philosophy has an extra-linguistic commitment. If it decides on a distinction between legitimate and non-legitimate usage, between authentic and illusory meaning, sense and non-sense, it invokes a political, aesthetic, or moral judgment." [Ibid., p.159.]
"The separation of word meaning from evaluation inevitably deprives meaning of its place in the living social process (where meaning is always permeated with value judgement), to its being ontologized and transformed into ideal Being divorced from the historical process of Becoming….
"Meaning -- an abstract self-identical element -- is subsumed under theme and torn apart by theme's living contradictions so as to return in the shape of a new meaning with a fixity and self-identity only for the while, just as it had before." [Voloshinov (1973), pp.105-06, quoted in ibid., pp.334-35.]”
http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/a_meaning.htm- theories of/about meaning.[incidentally a very useful site]
“The Meaning Of Meaning
Nevertheless, if we reconsider the following words, they might help us understand what Parrington really means:
"…[I]nner speech is the fluid interphase where meaning can start to be formed and shaped, based on the emotional, practical and social experience of the individual…." [Ibid., pp.135-36.]
But, what sense of "meaning" is this? Is Parrington speaking about linguistic meaning? If so, it would be of little use in helping us understand Voloshinov, for according to him:
"Meaning does not reside in the word or in the soul of the speaker or in the soul of the listener. Meaning is the effect of interaction between speaker and listener produced via the material of a particular sound complex." [Voloshinov (1973), pp.102-03. Bold emphases added.]
Plainly, such an "interaction" cannot reside in the head of either interactor. Hence, if Parrington is trying to make Voloshinov's ideas clear, contradicting him is hardly a good place to begin!
[However, as we have seen (here and here), the source of this difficulty lies in the fact that Voloshinov can't seem to make his own mind up whether meaning is a social phenomenon or whether it is a private, 'internal' affair. Parrington has obviously inherited this confusion, too.]
Of course, part of the problem here is the fact that the word "meaning" itself has many different meanings; here are just a few:
(1) Personal Significance: as in "His Teddy Bear means a lot to him."
(2) Evaluative Import: as in "May Day means different things to different classes."
(3) Point or Purpose: as in "Life has no meaning."
(4) Linguistic Meaning, or Synonymy: as in "'Vixen' means 'female fox'", "'Chien' means 'dog'", "Comment vous appelez-vous?" means "What's your name?", or "Recidivist" means someone who has resumed their criminal career.
(5) Aim or Intention: as in "They mean to win this strike."
(6) Implication: as in "Winning this dispute means that management won't try another wage cut again in a hurry."
(7) Indicate, Point to, or Presage: as in "Those clouds mean rain", "Those spots mean you have measles", or "That expression means she's angry".
(8) Reference: as in "I mean him over there", or "'The current president of the USA' means somebody different at most once every eight years."
(9) Artistic or Literary Import: as in "The meaning of this novel is to highlight the rapid decline in political integrity."
(10) Conversational Focus: as in "I mean, why do we have to accept a measly 1% offer in the first place?"
(11) Expression of Sincerity or Determination: as in "I mean it, I do want to go on the march!", or "The demonstrators really mean to stop this war."
(12) Content of a Message, or the Import of a Sign: as in "It means the strike starts on Monday", or "It means you have to queue here."
(13) Interpretation: as in "You will need to read the author's novels if you want to give new meaning to her latest play", or "That gesture means those pickets think you are a scab."
(14) Import or Significance: as in "Part of the meaning of this play is to change our view of drama", or "The real meaning of this agreement is that the bosses have at last learnt their lesson."
(15) Speaker's Meaning: as in "When you trod on her foot and she said 'Well done!' she in fact meant the exact opposite".
(16) Communicative Meaning: as in "You get my meaning", or "My last letter should tell you what I meant", or "We have just broken the code, hence the last message meant this...."
(17) Explanation: as in "When the comrade said the strike isn't over what she meant was that we can still win!", or "What is the meaning of this? Explain yourself!"
(18) Translation, or a Request for Translation -- as in "What does 'Il pleut' mean in German?"59
This isn't to suggest that these are the only meanings of "meaning", or that several of the examples listed don't overlap. [For example, items (4) and (17) intersect, as do (5) and (11), and (9) and (14), as well as (4) and (18).]
From what little Parrington says, it looks as if he might have meant (i.e., "intended") senses (1), (2), and, of course, (15).
Nevertheless, it seems reasonably clear that many of the problems confronting Parrington, Holborow and Voloshinov's accounts of language arise from their failure to notice that this apparently simple word (i.e., "meaning", and its cognates) is in fact highly complex. Because these comrades have conflated several different connotations of this word, their ideas naturally create confusion instead of dispelling it -- as we have seen.
However, and once more: In this they are in good company: most Traditional Philosophers have done (and still do) the very same thing.
Jean Paul Sartre provides the example of the young man who puts his hand on his first date's hand. She, who does not really know him yet, must either leave her hand there or remove it. Either choice reveals something not part of her consciousness. We are far more than the limited opportunities present in the world.
A comprehensive nice PPT on Scientific aspects of Life
Meaning OF LIFE is result of churning of the outer world by the inner self or the way inner self relates with the outer world in all its multiple manifestations.
Inner self is a combination of heart (body) mind (conscious awareness) and soul.
Heart itself is wonderfully referred to as HRUDAYA in Sanskrit which is one of the most perfect term to indicate both the physical and psychological functionality of the heart.
Meaning of "Hrudaya" from the Bruhadaranya Upanishad:
'Hru' means to bring. This involves bringing impure blood from the body to the heart.
'Da' means to give, involves giving pure blood to the body.
'Ya' means to set right all the activities and maintain the stability of the body.
Find the above article in the following link