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The Forum > General Discussion > The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

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Itís a new year and the time when people review the last year and reflect on the future. What have they achieved, what does it all mean? Newspaper articles are written on the subject and the ABC, through its religious department, has initiated a program to find the answers to the great question: What is the meaning of life?

When I throw a tin can at some yowling cats on the back fence I mean to scatter them, and an intelligent cat amongst them would know that the meaning of that event was that a superior animal, a human, had meant to do it. Every individual is conscious of the meaning of their physical actions but when humans ask the question of the meaning of life beyond themselves they answer in the same way as the cat: that there exists a superior force, or being, which has its own meaning for us mortals.

No-one has ever met a supernatural being in the flesh to be able to ask it what meaning it might have so we have to return to earth to find the answer to the question.

The superior force to us individuals is the community into which we are born. The community sets its own goals of health, wealth and happiness. It lays out the behaviour required of its citizens to achieve those goals and, provided the individual meets those, the individual is regarded as a valued citizen. If an individual breaks the communityís rules they are looked on as sinners and punished. A recent ICAC investigation in NSW, in relation to coal leases, illustrates the point.

So, the meaning of life for an individual will be determined by their own contribution to the well-being of the community in which they live, for good or evil.
Posted by John Warren, Sunday, 26 January 2014 4:26:22 PM
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42
Posted by Paul1405, Sunday, 26 January 2014 5:49:39 PM
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I like what Julian Baggini in his book,
"What's it all about?" writes:

"Trying to work out the meaning of life can be
rather like trying to assemble Ikea furniture when
you're convinced that you're missing a piece or haven't
been given the proper instructions..."

Perhaps that's why some people turn to religion.
Religion provided a theodicy that gives meaningful
answers to ultimate and eternal questions about
existence. Religion offers explanations of humaan
predicaments and gives purpose to a universe that
might otherwise seem meaningless. People everywhere feel
a need for these ultimate meanings to give coherence to
their lives, and in most societies religion has almost a
monopoly over the available answers.
Posted by Foxy, Sunday, 26 January 2014 6:25:15 PM
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John Warren, "So, the meaning of life for an individual will be determined by their own contribution to the well-being of the community in which they live, for good or evil"

I do not know about an afterlife, but I do know that happiness in life involves caring for others and being of service to one's community.
Posted by onthebeach, Sunday, 26 January 2014 6:28:45 PM
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The meaning of life depends on the quality of life others let you have.
Posted by individual, Sunday, 26 January 2014 6:31:55 PM
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It's what you do with the life you've got
that gives it meaning.
Posted by Foxy, Monday, 27 January 2014 9:55:36 AM
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