Table of contents:
- About the question as a whole
- Is it possible to live without meaning?
- What is meant by the meaning of life in philosophy?
- Interpretation from the pointview of religion
- The idea of the "spiritual elite"
- What does hedonism say about this?
- Utilitarian Theory
- Objections to hedonism
- The meaning of human life in the literature of Leo Tolstoy
- What is said about this in domestic and foreign literature?
- The meaning of being in psychology
- Is there really a meaning to human life?
- The first judgment: there is no sense and cannot be
- Second judgment: there is a sense, but everyone has their own
- Third judgment
- Most common answers
- What to do, how to find the answer?
2023 Author: Henry Conors | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 12:05
What is the meaning of human life? Many people at all times thought about this question. For some, the problem of the meaning of human life does not exist at all as such, someone sees the essence of being in money, someone - in children, someone - in work, etc. Naturally, the greats of this world also puzzled over this question: writers, philosophers, psychologists. They devoted years to this, wrote treatises, studied the works of their predecessors, etc. What did they say about this? What was the meaning of life and the purpose of man? Let's get acquainted with some points of view, perhaps this will contribute to the formation of our own vision of the problem.
About the question as a whole
So, what is the meaning of human life? Both Eastern sages and philosophers of absolutely different times tried to find the only correct answer to this question, butin vain. Every thinking person can also face this problem, and if we are not able to find the right solution, then we will try to at least reason and understand the topic a little. How to get as close as possible to the answer to the question of what is the meaning of human life? To do this, you need to determine for yourself the purpose, the purpose of your existence. Depending on what you want to achieve in a certain segment of your life, the meaning of a person’s life will also change. This is easy to understand with an example. If at the age of 20 you firmly decided for yourself to earn a lot of money, that is, you set such a task for yourself, then with each successful transaction, the feeling that life is filled with meaning will only grow. However, after 15-20 years, you will realize that you worked hard to the detriment of your personal life, he alth, etc. Then all these years may seem, if not meaninglessly lived, then only partially meaningful. What conclusion can be drawn in this case? That a person's life should have a purpose (in this case, meaning), even if it is transitory.
Is it possible to live without meaning?
If a person is deprived of meaning in life, this means that he has no intrinsic motivation, and this makes him weak. The absence of a goal does not allow you to take your own destiny into your own hands, to resist adversity and difficulties, to strive for something, etc. A person without the meaning of life is easily controlled, since he does not have his own opinion, ambitions, life criteria. In such cases, their desires are replaced by others, as a result of which individuality suffers, hidden talents and abilities do not appear. Psychologists say thatif a person does not want or cannot find his own way, purpose, goal, then this leads to neuroses, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, suicides. Therefore, each person should look for the meaning of his life, even if unconsciously, strive for something, wait for something, etc.
What is meant by the meaning of life in philosophy?
Philosophy about the meaning of human life can tell us a lot, so this question has always been in the first place for this science and its admirers and followers. Philosophers have been creating for thousands of years some ideals to strive for, some laws of existence, in which the answer to the eternal question lay.
1. If, for example, we talk about ancient philosophy, then Epicurus saw the goal of being in obtaining pleasure, Aristotle - in achieving happiness through knowledge of the world and thinking, Diogenes - in the pursuit of inner peace, in the denial of family and art.
2. To the question of what is the meaning of human life, the philosophy of the Middle Ages gave the following answer: one should honor the ancestors, accept the religious beliefs of the time, pass all this on to posterity.
3. Representatives of the philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries also had their own view of the problem. Irrationalists saw the essence of being in a constant struggle with death and suffering; existentialists believed that the meaning of a person's life depends on himself; positivists, on the other hand, considered this problem to be meaningless, since it is expressed linguistically.
Interpretation from the pointview of religion
Each historical epoch poses tasks and problems for society, the solution of which most directly affects how a person understands his destiny. As living conditions, cultural and social needs change, it is natural that a person's views on all issues also change. However, people have never abandoned the desire to find that one, so to speak, universal meaning of life, which would be suitable for any stratum of society, for each period of time. This same desire is reflected in all religions, among which Christianity is especially worth noting. The problem of the meaning of human life is considered by Christianity inseparable from the doctrine of the creation of the world, of God, of the fall, of the sacrifice of Jesus, of the salvation of the soul. That is, all these questions are seen on the same plane, respectively, the essence of being is presented outside of life itself.
The idea of the "spiritual elite"
The meaning of human life was considered by philosophy, or rather by some of its followers, from another interesting point of view. At a certain time, such ideas about this problem became widespread, which cultivated the ideas of the “spiritual elite”, designed to save all of humanity from degeneration by introducing it to cultural and spiritual values. So, for example, Nietzsche believed that the essence of life is that geniuses are constantly born, talented individuals who would elevate the common people to their level, deprive them of the feeling of orphanhood. K. Jaspers shared the same point of view. He was sure that representatives of the spiritual aristocracy shouldto be a measure, a model for all other people.
What does hedonism say about this?
The founders of this doctrine are the ancient Greek philosophers Epicurus and Aristippus. The latter argued that both bodily and spiritual pleasure is good for the individual, which should be positively evaluated, respectively, displeasure is bad. And the more desirable will be the pleasure, the stronger it is. The teaching of Epicurus on this issue has become a household word. He said that all living things are drawn to pleasure, and any person strives for the same. However, he receives not only sensual, bodily pleasure, but also spiritual.
This kind of hedonism was developed mainly by the philosophers Bentham and Mill. The first, like Epicurus, was sure that the meaning of life and human happiness is only in obtaining pleasure and striving for it and in avoiding torment and suffering. He also believed that the criterion of utility could mathematically calculate a particular kind of pleasure or displeasure. And having made their balance, we can find out which act will be bad, which one will be good. Mill, who gave the current its name, wrote that if any action contributes to happiness, then it automatically becomes positive. And so that he would not be accused of selfishness, the philosopher said that it was important not only the happiness of the person himself, but also those around him.
Objections to hedonism
Yes, there were, and quite a few. The essence of the objections boils down to the fact that hedonists and utilitarians see the meaning of human life inpursuit of pleasure. However, as life experience shows, a person, performing an act, does not always think what it will lead to: happiness or chagrin. Moreover, people deliberately do such things, which are obviously associated with hard work, torment, death, in order to achieve those goals that are far from personal benefit. Each individual is unique. What is happiness for one is torment for another.
Kant deeply criticized hedonism. He said that happiness, which hedonists speak of, is a very conditional concept. It looks different to everyone. The meaning and value of human life, according to Kant, lies in the desire of everyone to develop good will in themselves. This is the only way to achieve perfection, to fulfill a moral duty. Having a will, a person will strive for those actions that are responsible for his destiny.
The meaning of human life in the literature of Leo Tolstoy
The great writer not only pondered, but even agonized over this issue. In the end, Tolstoy came to the conclusion that the purpose of life is only the self-improvement of the individual. He was also sure that the meaning of the existence of one individual cannot be sought separately from others, from society as a whole. Tolstoy said that in order to live honestly, one must constantly fight, tear, get confused, because calmness is meanness. That is why the negative part of the soul seeks peace, but it does not understand that achieving the desired is associated with the loss of everything that is good and kind in a person.
MeaningThe life of a person in philosophy was interpreted in different ways, this happened depending on many reasons, the currents of a particular time. If we consider the teachings of such a great writer and philosopher as Tolstoy, then the following is said there. Before deciding the question of the purpose of existence, it is necessary to understand what life is. He went over all the then known definitions of life, but they did not satisfy him, since they reduced everything only to biological existence. However, human life, according to Tolstoy, is impossible without moral, moral aspects. Thus, the moralist transfers the essence of life into the moral sphere. After Tolstoy turned to both sociology and religion in the hope of finding that single meaning that is intended for everyone, but all was in vain.
What is said about this in domestic and foreign literature?
In this area, the number of approaches to this problem and opinions is no less than in philosophy. Although many writers also acted as philosophers, they talked about the eternal.
So, one of the oldest is the concept of Ecclesiastes. It speaks of the vanity and insignificance of human existence. According to Ecclesiastes, life is nonsense, nonsense, nonsense. And such components of life as labor, power, love, we alth, have no meaning. It's the same as chasing the wind. In general, he believed that human life has no meaning.
The Russian philosopher Kudryavtsev in his monograph put forward the idea that each person independently fills beingmeaning. He only insists that everyone see the goal only in the "high" and not in the "low" (money, pleasure, etc.)
The Russian thinker Dostoevsky, who constantly "unraveled" the secrets of the human soul, believed that the meaning of a person's life is in his morality.
The meaning of being in psychology
Freud, for example, believed that the main thing in life is to be happy, to get maximum pleasure and enjoyment. Only these things are self-evident, but a person who thinks about the meaning of life is mentally ill. But his student, E. Fromm, believed that it is impossible to live without meaning. You need to consciously reach out to everything positive and fill your being with it. In the teachings of V. Frankl, this concept is given the main place. According to his theory, under no circumstances in life can a person fail to see the goals of existence. And you can find meaning in three ways: in action, in experiencing, in the presence of a certain position on life circumstances.
Is there really a meaning to human life?
In this article we consider such an ever-existing question as the problem of the meaning of human life. Philosophy on this score gives more than one answer, some options are presented above. But each of us at least once, but thought about the meaningfulness of their own existence. For example, according to sociologists, approximately 70% of the world's inhabitants live in constant fear and anxiety. As it turned out, they were not looking for the meaning of their existence, butjust wanted to survive. And for what? And that fussy and disturbing rhythm of life is a consequence of the unwillingness to understand this issue, at least for oneself. No matter how we hide, the problem still exists. Writers, philosophers, thinkers were looking for answers. If we analyze all the results, we can come to three judgments. Let's try to find the meaning and we?
The first judgment: there is no sense and cannot be
This means that any attempt to find a target is a delusion, a dead end, self-deception. Many philosophers adhered to this theory, including Jean-Paul Sartre, who said that if death awaits us all ahead, then there is no point in life, because all problems will remain unresolved. A. Pushkin, P. Vyazemsky, Omar Khayyam also remained disappointed and dissatisfied in the search for truth. It should be said that such a position of accepting the meaninglessness of life is very cruel, not every person is even able to survive it. Much in human nature opposes this view. On this occasion, the next paragraph.
Second judgment: there is a sense, but everyone has their own
Admirers of this opinion believe that there is a meaning, or rather, it should be, so we must come up with it. This stage implies an important step - a person stops running from himself, he must recognize that being cannot be meaningless. In this position, the person is more frank with himself. If the question appears again and again, then it will not be possible to dismiss or hide from it. Please note that if we accept such a concept as meaninglessness, we therebywe also prove the legitimacy and right to existence of that very meaning. It's all good. However, representatives of this opinion, even acknowledging and accepting the question, could not find a universal answer. Then everything went according to the principle "once admitted - think for yourself." There are many paths in life, you can choose any of them. Schelling said that happy is the one who has a goal and sees in this the meaning of all life. A person with such a position will try to find meaning in all phenomena, events that happen to him. Someone will turn to material enrichment, someone - to success in sports, someone - to the family. Now it turns out that there is no universal meaning, so all those “meanings” are what? Only tricks that cover up the meaninglessness? And if, nevertheless, there is a common sense for everyone, then where to look for it? Let's move on to the third point.
And it sounds like this: there is a meaning in our existence, it can even be known, but only after you know the one who created this being. Here the question will already be relevant not about what is the meaning of a person's life, but about why he is looking for it. So, lost. The logic is simple. By committing sin, the person has lost God. And there is no need to come up with a meaning here, you just need to know the Creator again. Even the philosopher and staunch atheist Russell Bertrand said that if the existence of God is initially ruled out, then there is nothing to look for meaning at all, it will not exist. A bold decision for an atheist.
Most common answers
If you ask a person about the meaning of his existence, he is more likelyin total, will give one of the following answers. Let's take a closer look at them.
In procreation. If you answer the question about the meaning of life in this way, then you show the nakedness of your soul. Do you live for children? To train them, put them on their feet? And what's next? Then, when the children grow up and leave the cozy nest? You will say that you will teach your grandchildren. Why? So that they, in turn, also do not have goals in life, but go in a vicious circle? Procreation is one of the tasks, but it is not universal.
In progress. For many people, future plans are career related. You will work, but for what? Feed the family, dress? Yes, but this is not enough. How to realize yourself? Also not enough. Even the ancient philosophers argued that work would not please for a long time if there was no general meaning in life.
In we alth. Many people believe that saving money is the main happiness in life. It becomes a passion. But in order to live fully, countless treasures are not needed. It turns out that making money all the time for the sake of money is pointless. Especially if a person does not understand why he needs we alth. Money can only be a tool for the implementation of its meaning, purpose.
In existence for someone. This is already more filled with meaning, although it is similar to the item about children. Of course, caring for someone is grace, it is the right choice, but not enough for self-realization.
What to do, how to find the answer?
If, nevertheless, the question posed does not give you rest, then the answer should be sought in yourself. In this review, we briefly reviewed some of the philosophical,psychological, religious aspects of the problem. Even if you read such literature for days and study all the theories, it is far from a fact that you will 100% agree with something and take it as a guide to action.
If you decide to find the meaning of your life, then something does not suit you in the present state of affairs. However, be careful: time is ticking, it will not wait for you to find something. Most people try to realize themselves in the above directions. Yes, please, if you like it, it brings pleasure, then who will forbid it? On the other hand, who said that this is not possible, that it is wrong, that we do not have the right to live like this (for children, for relatives, etc.)? Everyone chooses his own path, his own destination. Or maybe you shouldn't look for it? If something is prepared, then it will come anyway, without any extra effort on the part of a person? Who knows, maybe it's true. And don't be surprised if you see the meaning of life differently at every stage of your existence. This is fine. The nature of man in general is such that he constantly doubts something. The main thing is to be filled like a vessel, to do something, to devote your life to something.
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