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What is the meaning of life? Simple answers to tough questions.
Can we at least understand what makes up the meaning of a person’s life, does it change over the course of life? And where do you begin to search for him, if your life really seems meaningless to you and for you it is not an empty reflection, but a really serious problem?
What is the meaning of life?People often ask this question, but not one psychological resource can find not only an answer, not even a direction, where to at least begin the search for the meaning of life?
Psychologists give vague language about personal choice and the path of each, but for the most part clarity is not added.It seems that most psychologists themselves are not sure that it is - the meaning of human life. And try to get around this issue side.
Difficult, hard, no universal recipes. And they really are not.But can we at least understand what makes up the meaning of human life, whether it changes with the course of life.And where do you begin to search for him, if your life really seems meaningless to you, and for you this is not an empty reflection, but a really serious problem?
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of suffering? Development as the main guide of the life process. How to start looking for the very individual meaning of human life? The meaning of life - the process or result, momentary or eternity?
Let's think, andwhen the question "what is the meaning of life?" It is unlikely that you thought about this in childhood. It is unlikely in childhood, even when faced with problems, resentment, disappointment and pain, you were included in the search for the meaning of life and asked the questions "why am I suffering?"
As a child, you have parents who solve your problems to one degree or another., there is always an opportunity to get support or at least be sure that by itself your life is not exposed to obvious danger, and you do not need to seriously decide anything. Now I'm talking about the average version of the family, which, perhaps, was not so happy and was not so conscious, but at the same time it provided you with basic security and the basics of development.
And if that was the case, thenyou are unlikely to ask the question "what is the meaning of life?" before adolescence What happens at this age? Start growing up.You begin to understand that there are problems that your parents cannot solve, even if they would like to and were able to. Indeed, even the most enlightened, educated and conscious parents can not do anything, for example, with your unhappy love. And even if, due to the positive example of the parental family, it does not grow into a chronic addiction, you will still suffer for a while.And no parent “from the height of experience” will help, because specifically you have no such experience.And until you get it yourself, you will not draw conclusions.
But it hurts you now, and even if it will not last long, you still do not know about it. Nothing can be done with the feeling of a changing body (and parental stories are not comforted that “all this will pass, but you look great now”)it is impossible to do anything with the fact that you are still not socially valuable(and parental knowledge that everything is normal, that we all learn and need to build up our social and professional experience from scratch) will not help, and it’s hard to be that same zero.
Simply put,you are faced with pain, disappointment, despair as an adult. Parents cannot solve these problems just becauseit's time to decide them yourself.And here comes the thought: "why all this?"
Confronted with sufferingwhich cannot be stopped with a simple hug, a promise that “everything will be fine”, parental care, warmth or just a sense of belonging to a family, to a more protected area,you put the question - "what is the meaning of life?"
For most, at first it sounds like “what is the meaning of suffering?” And this is true.We do not think about what is the meaning of pleasure and joy?No, we just consume them since childhood and consider them the norm.
But suffering ... Nobody wants to endure suffering just like that."Then it makes no sense to suffer" - some make a very categorical conclusion, and begin to think about death. That does not always lead to it in fact, but does not add optimism either. Suffering must have meaning. And he really is, but we'll talk about it a little later.
Now I want to say another facet, which begins the search for the meaning of life -motives for action.Why graduate? Why pursue something in a professional field? Why have children? Why love? Lermontov is remembered: “To love ... but whom? .. for a while is not worth the trouble, And it is impossible to love forever. Do you look into yourself? - there is no trace of the past: And the joy, and torment, and everything there is insignificant ... "
If all this does not lead anywhere, then why invest in something, why believe, hope, and most importantly - why act?If everything has a finale, if beyond the limits of the life that has been given to us, it is not known what? A person who asks the question “what is the meaning of life?” Has no experience yet, who could tell him that there is something else outside of this life. And not everyone needs just such an experience.
Sometimes the meaning of a person’s life can be found without going into the consequences of this life that has been given to you.The important thing is this: the search for the meaning of life begins with one simple thing - with an understanding of why we need suffering, and also why overcome it (motive to action). After all, almost no action is complete without obstacles (suffering), and those actions that do not cause suffering, we carry out easily, without thinking about the meaning.
What is the meaning of life, what is the meaning of suffering? There are many concepts that provide an answer to this question. And each flow of human thought has its drawbacks (at least, this is how it is often perceived by those who are searching for the meaning of life).The general essence of religious teachings, for example, on this subject comes down to the fact that the experience of suffering will not remain without reward.Where - it already depends on the specific teaching. Some teachings do not imply rewards in life, which few people can rejoice. Some suggest that during life it is possible at least in part, although it will create additional efforts, which, in fact, also have suffering.
And in orderTo decide whether the game is worth the candle - experience is needed. And for him, it is an effort, and this is a certain risk of wasting energy, unnecessary suffering and an unknown result.. Some, already philosophical, trends call for the search for the meaning of human life not in eternity, but in this real reality, and pleasure can be the essence of this meaning. That in itself is not bad, at first glance, but then the question arises -Are sufferings comparable with pleasure?And for many, it often turns out that not very.
Other currents believe thatyou can assume the meaning of human life is to leave behind something significant(depending on what you decide to consider essential - from the offspring to a serious masterpiece in the field of science or art, social activities or sports).
However, plunging into all these religious and philosophical reflections, a person seeking an answer to the question “what is the meaning of life?” Cannot escape from two things over which neither his mind nor any of the currents of human thought has power.We are programmed for happiness, and we have a need to always strive for something more positive,to put it simply, to more joy, trying to minimize the amount of suffering. This partly ensures our survival.
Physical pain, as well as animals, tells us that there is something wrong in our body.and / or we traumaticly interact with the environment.Pain makes us changeand look for more comfortable conditions in the environment. Mental pain is a more complex phenomenon, but it, in fact, pushes us to the same thing - to change, develop, do something to end suffering in one way or another.
We cannot confine ourselves to problems of survival. We are awarefear of deathnot only in a situation of obvious danger, but also “in general”, and hemakes us look for some other motive for actionbesides ensuring survival, it urges persistently to look for some ways to prolong oneself in eternity or to know it in one way or another.
The meaning of human life, thus - an individual understanding of the purpose of existencebeyond the mere survival of both the individual and the species. And the meaning is that which should give energy for actions, and therefore, bring satisfaction on an emotional level. Actuallyfor the sake of which we will be able to overcome the suffering not only momentarily, but also in the long run.
How to find your meaning in life?If to collect all this in a certain simple scheme, the following will turn out. The desire for satisfaction and pleasure encourages us to act. In action, we inevitably run into obstacles because we are members of the system (which consists of at least people, material objects, nature), andno system exists only to make us well. Accordingly, conflicts arise with other representatives of reality, with its processes and laws independent of us. By running into these obstacles and entering into these conflicts, we ask ourselves questions.Well, for example, “Is the game worth the candle? - Are sufferings proportional to expected pleasure and joy? ”Or:“ What am I doing wrong, why can't I do it? ”Or maybe:“ Is this my goal, do I really want it? ”
Simply put,Suffering (obstacles, conflicts, failure of the world to instantly satisfy your needs) is a signal that your movement through life (behavior, thoughts, perception) needs to be corrected.Notice - not the world, but your movement.
Here are a couple of examples. Suppose you have an unrequited love. You are suffering. And the object of your sighs is in love with another person, and the person reciprocates. Will these two people want to correct their way and in general the device of the world? No. For them, all is well in it. This is bad for you. And your suffering shows you that you went the wrong way. What (it turns out!) You are capable of falling in love unrequitedly. Or even inclined.
And all this is not just so, this is important information. If you take it as information about yourself, then it turns out that your suffering will have a very specific meaning:thanks to the attempts to understand the situation, you will find out what the problem is, and most likely, with the help of this information, sooner or later you will figure out how to find yourself such a partner, with whom you would be satisfied with him.
Or, for example, you constantly lack money. And your needs are tearing you apart and make you suffer, envy others, get angry and indignant. Or you do not notice, ignore your needs, but vaguely suspect that if there were more money, there would be more joy too. But there are those around who are quite comfortable within this system, this world, who either have enough money or do not have so many needs, andit turns out that this is again information about you.No one is to blame for the fact that you do not have enough money, you just were not on the path that would allow you to meet your needs.And this painful situation may push you on the path you need, allow you to earn money and fulfill your dreams, and it is possible to reconsider part of your needs.
And now ask yourself: would you do something, change, think, try, if it would be good for you in unrequited love? Or you would not care about the lack of money - unfulfilled dreams would not bother you at all.What would happen to you then? Would any search for the meaning of life be needed? Scientists conducted an experiment at one time. They implanted a rat in the brain electrode, an annoying pleasure center. And they connected it to the pedal in the cage of the rat. After some time, the rat found a connection between the pedal and the feeling of pleasure, and began to actively use it. The rat has stopped eating, being interested in other rats, mating and even sleeping. She pressed on the pedal, enjoyed it, and nothing interested her anymore. As a result, she died of exhaustion.
Development as the main guide of the life process. Now think: what would happen to your life if there were no suffering in it? Think you are very different from a rat? Our instincts and the desire for pleasure are not far from the animal level, and the signals of our nervous system are arranged according to the same principle. We, just like animals, feel pain, they just feel it mainly from physical stimuli that prevent them from surviving and receiving simple pleasures, and a person is able to suffer on the mass of other causes. And I think in a similar situation he,having ceased to suffer and having received unlimited access to pleasure, would die even faster than a rat.
Unfortunately, I happened to see similar examples in real life. For example, drug addicts who had enough money to keep themselves in a state of drug intoxication constantly. Some people didn’t stop for a long time, meanwhile, they supported their livelihoods - they went after all to shop for food, washed clothes, etc., some even quite successfully continued to work or study. But those who did not stop constantly consuming pleasure and tried not to face suffering, gradually degraded, paid less and less attention to their lives, including their lives. Some of them, becoming quite inattentive, died from overdose, and some simply from concomitant diseases, which they “did not notice” safely. Those of them who tried to undergo rehabilitation at a drug treatment clinic, as one, confessed that they were tormented by the question “what is the meaning of life?”, To which they could not find the answer.
Ongoing pleasure does not help us answer the question "what is the meaning of life", find it and live in it.It is, strangely enough, on the contrary - it helps to die very well. Because,having reached the ultimate pleasure, man will not move anywhere.
Development is what all life is subject to.Everything is moving. From the smallest bacteria in the soil and air to the huge size of the tectonic plates of the earth. Your heart is beating day and night, the brain works in different modes, even when you sleep, the work does not stop for a minutetrennyh bodies.Can a man stop? Yes, only if he dies. And no one guarantees that something outside its physical shell, whose expiration date has expired, will not continue life in some other format. Indeed, this is exactly what happens in nature - all obsolete organisms in one form or another serve as food and fuel for others and continue to develop.
It turns out that nothing dies at all, but only changes shape.And therefore it is difficult to deny that your consciousness can also change shape, even if the body becomes humus, ash, and in one form or another becomes food for the earth again.
But in the development process, you can participate either consciously or not.. No - this is if you lived life at random, it is not known why, they died and became a nutrient solution so that with time a tree would appear with your help.I will not talk now about the path of your soul and in general about the fact of its existence, suppose you do not believe in all this.
The important thing is that you still have to participate in development.. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, alas. You cannot stop development, it exists as an immutable foundation of all life. And therefore you will have to participate in it, consciously or not. And your individual meaning will have to look exactly in it. You do not develop in all the way others do.
How to start looking for the very individual meaning of human life? Each person has abilities, inclinations, features of character, temperament. He is not born completely clean sheet, he already has his special circumstances of birth, which are different from other children, there are congenital features of the functioning of the body, there are innate abilities and psyche.
You already have a certain set of abilities.There are no people deprived of everything and good for nothing.Everyone has certain peculiarities, inclinations, in general, something that can be realized one way or another. And, as a rule, it is from them that your desires flow.For some reason, one in childhood wants to sing, the other - to draw, the third - to build huts, the fourth - to cook soups and bake pies, even while out of sand or grass picked in the yard. Sometimes these things change, but only you yourself as a result can determine what really attracts you and what asks from the inside out.
The search for the meaning of life - the search, above all, of this unique set of features, thanks to which you can contribute to this life.This solves more than one problem.First, you enjoy it.If you do what you like, it is unlikely that the question “what is the meaning of life” will arise so often.Secondly, you can benefit society and leave something behind you.Most often, masterpieces and just something well done is obtained precisely when a person is genuinely passionate about what he does.Thirdly, you gain experience - actions, communications, solutions, bug fixes, etc. And as a result - become more confident and more successful.
And for a person who lives on the whole happy, successful (according to his own criteria, first of all) and full of life, the question “what is the meaning of life?” Rarely arises. He just wants to live on,he has a lot of new goals, desires, plans, and his only concern is to manage it all. Because it is precisely in this that his individuality is manifested, it is this that brings him maximum pleasure, it is this that makes him even more confident and experienced, gives recognition, necessity, love, wealth - in general, everything that many would like to have in life.
Will you ask the question “what is the meaning of life” if your life as a whole deeply satisfies you?If you have formed a picture of the world for yourself, if you know what you believe, if you know what you would like to leave behind you, and most importantly, you do not perceive more suffering as meaningless injustice, if you already have experience of extracting information from suffering and its successful application? By and large, if all this has happened to you, it is already clear to you what the meaning of a person’s life is and what you have at the moment.
However, if you are still in the experience, you are tormented by the search for the meaning of life and it seems that everything is meaningless, this means that you have not shown enough interest in yourself.After all, everything really begins with you. Who else besides you can decide whether you want to believe in Christ, Buddha,science, consider yourself an agnostic or something else? Who, besides you, will decide whether you need to leave behind a masterpiece, or is it enough to give birth and raise a child? Who, besides you, will understand what style and lifestyle will allow your talents to reveal themselves to the maximum? No one.
Here we really run into individuality. There is everything inside you - the tendency to rational or intuitive in a certain balance and proportion, in a unique combination in you there are female and male traits, tendencies to this or that kind of art, science or craft, your mental characteristics leave imprints on the style and character of your perception peace, interests, your activity, its rhythm, and it is you who, with such abilities, with such a rhythm and with such desires, can realize all that unique things that no one else has.What is the meaning of life? To you.
That you were born that way. For what reason you may have to find out. Perhaps you will not need it.But the search for the meaning of life begins precisely with this - self-interest.You can not understand the meaning of human life in general, it really is. And it is useless to look for it outside of yourself.Because it is impossible to do what you are not capable of - it still will not bring any result or pleasure.
And on the other handyou can be sure: inside you there is something that will bring you pleasure, joy, will lead to results, success, happiness and will allow you to form exactly that picture of the world within which you will be comfortable, reliable and confident
The meaning of life - the process or result, momentary or eternity?The last thing I want to say. The meaning of human life can not be the only one for life. He is changing. But on the other side,all our life we do only one thing - we develop one way or another.Even degradation can be called a development - still the system, which is a person, is changing in this process.The meaning of life is a paradox, a combination of the incompatible, a balance between extremes and an attempt at every moment, in every period of life, to find some kind of optimal balance for you.
In adolescence and youth, the main purpose of human life is to learn to be independent, to grow up, at least to take this path. In another period, the meaning may be the creation of relationships, family, birth of children.In some periods of life, knowledge of the new, professional development, spiritual development comes to the fore, in some - the desire for greater comfort and security, in some - creativity. And in some - rest, rethinking the past, the development of new goals. All this is a process of constant change, which, of course, contain results, butThe achieved result is always replaced by a new goal, and this is normal.. As they say, there is nothing more permanent in life than variability.
Therefore, it is difficult to break life into some clear-cut segments and say: "here is my process, and here is the result, here I am doing momentary, and here is eternal."The meaning of a person’s life is to know extremes and learn to live them simultaneously. Viktor Frankl, a past concentration camp and who wrote a wonderful book, “Man in Search of Meaning,” said that at the most difficult moments he was helped to survive the desire to leave his descendants with his thoughts, observations, and the fruits of his work. In his head he composed, wrote a book, not even one, and believed. So the pursuit of eternity helped him to survive the terrible deprivation in that terrible present.But maybe the opposite. Routine, everyday activities can bring you closer to eternity. And adherents of different religions have repeatedly spoken about this. ThatMuch is learned through the affairs of man, and affairs sometimes consist of completely ordinary things.
You will never find a single and universal answer to the question “what is the meaning of life,” but you can find it every moment, every period of your life. In accordance with his desires, abilities, his own way, you have formed a picture of the world. And all this will change over time.It will not change while you are alive, only one thing - all the answers will still be inside of you and you will develop all your life, even if you degrade.And the search for the meaning of life for you will begin with the study of your own individuality, the definition of your immediate goals, your own (and not someone else's and “what is necessary”) desires, abilities and inclinations. Good luck on this difficult journey!