Such a vast question. I was only posting this because in RS, we have to prepare a short speech about what we think the meaning of life is. I wrote the following (long) speech:
By asking the question ‘what is the meaning of life?’ we assume that there will be an answer. However we, as humans, could never work out the answer to such a big question. Sure, we can have theories and ideas, but, unlike science, there is no definite correct answer. That’s not saying that I don’t have my own personal view about ‘the meaning of life’.
Thinking about it, I kind of side with hedonism, because being happy is really an important part of life: what’s the point of living if you don’t enjoy yourself? People should just stop dwelling on the bad things in life, because if you think about it, people with amazing lives could just die. Just like that. If you’re complaining about how you only got 99% in your Latin exam or something, there’s really no comparison. You should be happy you’ve still got a chance to actually live, and feel happier, rather than having it all cut short at the best moment. If you take that into account, there’s no point in being sad: some people have, or had, way worse lives than you. So what I’m trying to say is that you should be happy, or at least try to be happy.
Another view I have is that humans can’t be totally selfless, like that Ayn Rand person. Anyway, it’s hard to be selfless, because there’s always an element of personal satisfaction whenever you do anything you claim to be completely for someone else. I disagree, therefore, with the Buddha’s point about living life for others: it’s first of all impossible to do so, and you can only be you, so why do everything for other people rather than pleasing yourself? Think about it, you’d be taking the blame for people, pushing them out of the path of a car and jumping on a grenade, just to make them happy. At the end of the day, you (unless you’re a twin, triplet, etc.) were born alone, so you should aim to do things for yourself. I’m not saying you should be totally selfish all the time: there is a part of you that does need to do ‘selfless’ acts. There are 7 billion other people in the world, so you may as well be friends with some of them. Also, this view of mine can link to hedonism—as in you should live to enjoy (hedonism) yourself (selfishness).
So those are the views I have about life, but they’re not really the meaning of life. Yes, the meaning of life could be to be happy, and it could be to live for yourself. But I don’t think you even need to make up an answer to it. You don’t need to have your own meaning to life and stick to it. For example, if someone’s died, you can’t laugh about it and say ‘sorry, the meaning of my life is to be happy, so I can’t grieve over this’. As far as I know, it’s called pragmatism, which is adapting your morals and ethics to suit the situation. But what I’m trying to say is that life doesn’t need to have, or indeed have a meaning. You should just satisfy yourself, see what comes and, if you like, make it up as you go along. I’ll end with a cheesy quote: life’s what you make it.
What do you think about that? I hope it’s OK. Lauryn’s answer was totally amazingly awesome! But now to ask the dreaded question: what is the meaning of YOUR life?
Also, I’m going to be in France from Sunday to Wednesday and I will hopefully post some pictures and tell of my experiences.
Your philosophical blogger, Jaz