The "Meaning of Life"

      We live in an age when what we do with our individual lives is more than ever before up to each of us to decide. It is up to each of us to give our own life some meaning. But, strangely enough, it is rare that anyone ever tells us this! It is as if there were a universal conspiracy to hide this plain fact from us; and many people never do figure it out.

      And so it happens that if you ask the man or woman on the street just what they think philosophy is all about, after the obligatory several moments of utter confusion, they will often say that philosophy is all about the "big questions", such as discovering the "meaning of life". This is an archaic or medieval conception; the view that the meaning of your life is something that is imposed on you—by God, by the Fates, or by the Cosmos—and over which you have no say. Thus it is, supposedly, something to be "discovered", rather than for you to create through your own endeavors.

      It is strange to realize that in this modern age so many people, and not just the religious fundamentalists, remain so much under the sway of a primitive medieval philosophy.

Those people who are truly lost
Are those who go around pitifully asking:
"What is the meaning of life?"
Such poor lost souls are somehow unaware
That it is up to each of us
To give some meaning to our lives!
And we will be judged—not by the gods—
But by the rest of humanity
Based on just how noble our choices are.
                 "Truly Lost Souls"

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