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What is the Meaning of (a) Life?

October 27, 2010

This is a question that has plagued me since my early life, when my consciousness of these words first emerged. In my previous post I suggested that what drives me is the desire to find out the purpose of life.  In that context I was thinking about the collective purpose of all life form.  What is the collective purpose of all life form? would be the question of interest in that context and post.

For an individual human, I think somewhat differently. In this context, I think, for example, that the meaning of life can be the meaning that one gives to one’s life, it can be an individual construction, it can be what one chooses it to be, when one is in a position of acknowledging and acting upon their choices in this matter.

For some, consciousness of choice is not developed. For some, the meaning of life is decided by someone or something other than themselves. For example, for many religious believers, the meaning of life is assigned to them through the teachings of the religion they belong to and believe in. Likewise, some individuals are assigned the meaning of their lives through their occupations, roles, positions etc. within their community/culture/society.

Based on these observations, I think that there is no one meaning of life. For those with choices, meaning can be what one wants it to be. This in itself results in many different meanings attached to life. For those whose choices are limited, meaning may be assigned by others. There is a diversity of meaning assigned in that context too.  For me, life itself is the pursuit of meaning, of sense-making. To the question, what is the meaning of life, I answer:  Life is Meaning.  And in order to attribute meaning, one must learn.  So to me, Life is Learning. Where the Learning takes us, is yet to be determined, but we can get a glimpse of our destination(s) by observing the paths that we have followed thus far, in either a collective or individual sense.


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  1. Hi Ken,
    Meaning of life – a wonderful reflection. Is meaning of life decided by someone? For you, life is learning, that sounds meaningful to you – the sensemaking you mentioned.
    For me as a Catholic, the meaning of life is embedded when I was created by my creator. So meaning of life to me is love, that goes beyond myself, to others. Learning is part of my love journey, where I connect introspectively and externally with others, including my most loving, and the neighbours….
    BTW, you must have enjoyed the discussion in the forum, though I am just a rare visitor….Hope you are also enjoying your doctorate study.

  2. deadvocate permalink

    Hi John, nice to hear from you! Thanks for your comments. Yes, for me, Life is Learning, and it is in the sharing that I express a form of Love.

    The forum is always fun for me, a place to learn and share. My doctoral studies are going well, there is a lot of reading and writing involved and I love it! Writing in the forums/blogs is a good way to exercise my writing. It is in a sense, like a warm-up exercise for the course papers.

    How is your life? You haven’t been in the forum much, but I see you have recently participated.


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