What's the Real Meaning of Life?
Below, some answers to the world's most fascinating question.
BY: Edited by David Seaman
You are a blank page. When you are ready to die, you are a full-length novel.
People don't live forever, but everyone leaves their mark, which lasts eternally on those they have touched. Although the passing of our lives seems timeless, the light is slowly dimming, and one day the only thing left will be memories of what once was. That is why I choose to be the best person I can be for others, because I know that one day the only thing left of me will be the outcome of my life and how it has affected others.
When people argue against the existence of God, they often say, "I just can't believe in a God that allows so many terrible things to happen in the world." And looking around it's easy to see what they mean. Headlines inform us daily of mass murders, school bus crashes, suicide bombers. It's so easy to ask, "Why couldn't God have just stopped that suicide bomber?" "Why couldn't Hitler have had an aneurysm at seventeen, sparing millions of lives?"
But I don't think we can live in a world without suffering. If no one suffered, then all people would have to be perfect all the time. Without the ability to cause suffering, we lose the ability to choose. Life is ultimately a choice, of how you will live, what you will do, what you will say, what you will believe. We could have been made to be all good, all the time. But we would have no choices, and to choose to be good is worth infinitely more than the most saintly goodness of a choiceless robot.
Many people believe we are born with a soul. I believe that our soul is the product of an entire life; it's something you make. It's shaped by how often you are kind to others, by how you treat your children, by how hard you work for the things you care about. Life is a dazzling and confusing array of choices, and what you do makes you who you are. We may begin life with different personalities and different situations, but what matters is not what we start out with but what we end with, and how we confront everything in between. Every religion, at its core, gives us advice on the best way to live, but in the end it's a choice we make only for ourselves. We may choose to feed the starving or kill the innocent, but no matter what our earthly rewards or punishments may be, every action we take makes us who we are. And what, at last, could be more precious than the quality of our own character, and the integrity of our soul?
I'm a twenty-year old, so my view on life is still somewhat...hazy. I need to live more. I don't know if I'm being original-if I'm not, at least I arrived at this on my own-but I think that the real meaning of life is "to look for the meaning of life." It's not a circular definition-I'm just saying that the generalization of something this profound is wrong.
Six billion people in the world, all different from the inside out, might have something in common, but the meaning of life? It should be more like "what's the meaning ofyour
life?" What are you? Why are you here? What are you looking for?
I'm still looking for my purpose, and I believe that's the meaning of life: to look for it.