Does life have meaning? – Natalie Galbraith
A. My question was about whether life has a true meaning we find over time, or if it is a social construct we make up. I chose this question because I find the idea of it interesting. Do things such as the meaning of life really exist? Or have humans made it up to cope with the idea of life and how truly insignificant we could be in the universe?
according to frankl (1959/1962/1984, 1978), the conditions of modern society have left many individuals with a feeling of meaninglessness—an affliction he refers to as an existential vacuum. When this condition remains unresolved, individuals are said to “lack the awareness of a meaning worth living for. they are haunted by the experience of their inner emptiness, a void within themselves” (frankl, 1959/1962/1984, p. 128). frankl further contends that “the existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom”
C. The paper I found addresses the correlation between people without meaning or purpose in their lives, and the link to higher levels of boredom, depression, and anxiety. It mentions the importance of one having meaning in their life as for some people, the quest to find and fulfill a sense of meaning in their life is the escence of human motivation. Without meaningful life goals people are more easily susceptable to developing chronic boredom. Many aspects of this paper gave me light towards my original question. Mostly the many experiments conducted to link lack of purpose and boredom to each other were what gave me my answer.
the purpose of study 1a was to determine whether boredom, life meaning, depression and anxiety are correlated, yet psychometri- cally distinct, constructs. to achieve this purpose, structural equa- tion modeling analyses were used to determine whether these vari- ables could be best described as four separate constructs.
Many of the studies conducted seemed repetitive to me as they all have the same objective; to link life meaning, boredom, anxiety, and depression, but they all proved to be true. People who are depressed or severely bored don’t see anything bigger to live for than themselves. The meaning of life is different to every single person, which is why there is no “true” meaning of life. The meaning of life is a social construct for humans to be able to cope with life.
When we talk about someone having a sense of “meaning” in life, it means they believe life has a certain significance to it, so they act according to those beliefs. What a person believes to be meaningful can vary though. for example, some people might believe that life is about helping others so they try to do things that make a difference in the world. someone else might believe that life is about trying to be satisfied, so they then try to be happy or to enjoy themselves. others might feel life is about achievement and success, so they try to make money. others might believe that the purpose of life is to serve god, allah, gaia, or some kind of higher power or deity. there are many ways people’s lives can be meaningful. having a sense of “meaning in life” means that a person determines their goals and behaviour based on the beliefs that they have about their life meaning and purpose. a person who says their life is really meaningful is someone who spends their time doing things that fit with those beliefs.
After coming to this conclusion this leads me to wonder why? Why are so many humans not capable of going through life without the idea of something larger, more important than them, pushing them through each day. Is it because humans are naturally self centered and hate the idea of our lives being insignificant in comparison to the universe? Or is it the opposite where we need to believe in something bigger in hopes we aren’t all that’s to the universe?