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The meaning of life¶
What is the meaning of life? Does my life make sense? This question is maybe the most basic of all existential questions. It has always been asked by humans, and no religious or political teaching can give a definitive and reasonably clear answer.
We might differentiate between the meaning of life in general and the meaning of my life. The former is at political or community level while the latter is at individual level. But in the end they are weaved into each other, we cannot really separate them.
A logical answer is “The meaning of life is to reproduce itself”. This statement is indeed true. We have a hard-wired instinct that makes us struggle for life. There are people who live happily without asking any further questions. Blessed are those who don’t worry.
I think that people start asking further when they encounter some obstacle in their life. Some accident, some crisis. Something that makes them consider to escape from their frustrating or useless life by committing suicide or by using narcotic drugs. At least for me it was like this.
At this point the logical answer didn’t help me. Because it is a self-referring statement. It works only as long as you don’t ask “Why then does this reproduction machinery of life exist?”
Douglas Adams humorously describes in his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy how a distant people in a distant galaxy builds a supercomputer to find the answer to the “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”. After 1,5 Million years of computing it announces the answer, which is simply 42. Adams concludes that the problem is the question, not the answer.
Does it make sense to live? Yes, this question is somehow absurd because any system “makes sense” only for some observer who looks at it from the outside. Some time ago it was possible to ask whether a given slave made sense. Nowadays slavery has been abolished. Because I am a free human, my life makes sense only if humanity as a whole makes sense. And humanity as a whole makes sense only if the Universe makes sense.
Life, the Universe and everything makes sense only if there is some world beyond the visible world. This hypothetical world must be invisible to us, i.e. not detectable by any scientific method. It has neither a clear definition nor a name because by definition it lies beyond our thinking. It is bigger than anything we can conceive.
All religious systems do basically the same thing: they assume a world beyond the visible world. Only this assumption can give a meaning to everything.