The essence of life. The meaning of life. This ,many say is the true purpose of life – to find meaning to our living.
But then the question really to be asked is – what is that which we call “meaning?” What exactly is a meaningful life? Many say that that goals we set for ourselves or the accomplishments are what make life meaningful. Goals and accomplishments make meaning. But then, what about those who have no goals and no accomplishments and yet feel that life is meaningful? And others who have truckloads of accomplishments are sometimes heard saying that their life is meaningless.
The 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, says the question itself was meaningless because in the midst of living, we’re in no position to discern whether our lives matter. On the other hand, Thaddeus Metz, in his article in Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy has put this quest for meaning into four categories – those who seek purpose in God; those who believe in the journey of the soul and infinite existence beyond the physical; then there are subjectivists and objectivists who seek meaning purely in the physical world. Objectivists say that creativity offers purpose, maybe leading a virtuous or moral life could give some a purpose and for others an intellectual discovery, rearing children with love, playing music, and developing superior athletic ability and so on.
The theory of subjectivists is pretty interesting and makes more sense as they have assigned a value to everything that we do which keeps on changing as we grow, meet new people and confront different situations. Meaning is essentially a sense of worth which we may all derive in a different way—from relationships, creativity, accomplishment in a given field, or generosity. Thus it cannot be just one thing which will bring meaning to life but a set of variables which add or subtract value. A meaningless life is one in which there is not a sufficient number of aspects of sufficient value.
You are probably feel purposeless because you’re not as accomplished in your profession as you dreamed of being. But you could derive meaning from other endeavors, like relationships, volunteer work, travel, or creative activities. It may also happen that the things you already do really are meaningful but just that you are not valuing them sufficiently because you’re focused on a single factor for value.
Yes, because we live, life matters but give these thoughts some time and maybe introspect – does that make sense?