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Meditations on ‘Meaning’ in Life

Lesson: Do more of what you love doing, do less of what you hate doing.

What does it mean to have a “meaningful” life, or a life full of meaning?

Some thoughts:


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What does “meaning” mean?

When we talk about a “meaningful” life, I think we mean to say “purposeful” life. In this regard: a meaningful life is a life led with intent, purpose, and precision of pursuing your life goals.

But is it possible to live a “meaningful” life without consciously realizing it? I think so.

An unconscious meaningful life

I can live a meaningful life without knowing it. For example, I can be maximally virtuous and leave a legacy that lasts a thousand years. But I might not know it while I am alive, and of course I cannot know after I die.

Thus, one doesn’t NEED to know that they’re living a meaningful life, if they’re already living a meaningful life (without consciously knowing it).

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What if I’m living a meaningful life, but feel depressed or dissatisfied?

Another thing:

Let us say I am living a meaningful life, but I still feel dissatisfied or depressed. Does it mean I am still living a meaningful life?

Yes, you are still living a meaningful, purposeful life, but you still feel depressed and dissatisfied.

Then comes the question:

Is it worth it to live a purposeful life EVEN THOUGH you feel depressed and dissatisfied?

Then the next question: is a better life a life in which you DON’T feel depressed or dissatisfied?

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Depression and dissatisfaction in life

Heraclitus was once known as the ‘weeping’ philosopher, as his thoughts tend to be more gloomy and melancholic. Personally I see Heraclitus as insanely wise, and his “gloominess” is just his rigor in thinking and logical precision.

Much of modern thinking is this:

How to eliminate feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear.

But what if feelings of melancholy, gloom, anxiety, and fear are a second source of our intelligence? What if by castrating these emotions from ourselves, we also castrate our ability to feel extreme joy? (Nietzsche’s thought in ‘The Joyful Wisdom‘). Nassim Taleb also thinks about this in his book ‘Antifragile’, in which the feelings of ‘hüzün‘ (gloominess, sadness) in the Turkish winters can be a source of profound insight.

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More than purpose


My thought:

Instead of purpose in life, perhaps we should strive to simply DEEPEN our wisdom, augment our intelligence, and to strive to create more powerful/dynamic artwork.

Artwork via photos, videos, writing, or any form of art you love.

You choose.

Also the problem with living a ‘purposeful’ life:

We often think that a ‘purposeful’ life is a virtuous life.

But who is to deem what is virtuous and what isn’t virtuous?

I say you live your life in a very simple way:

Do more of what you love doing, do less of what you hate doing.


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