One of the first topics that come up in philosophy, whether it be on an academic or entertainment platform, is the meaning of life. Well, here it is..
Let’s put this out there first, people don’t just go around questioning everything and anything. Philosophers don’t even do that. We question something when we feel as though there is a reason to question it.
When life is going according to plan (and let me specify, according to our plan), we don’t usually sit and ponder upon the meaning of life. It is when our preconceived notions of what should have been are destroyed that we begin a series of questions along the lines of; What was the point? Why did I even bother to make the effort? What am I doing? Why am I even doing it? etc. and continue on into the downward spiral of confusion and delusion that is wrongfully attributed as philosophy. Rather than getting overwhelmed in the attempt of trying to define the meaning of life, question why we’re trying to define the meaning of life to begin with. What has happened in life that is causing us to question the meaning of life? More often than not, something that once gave meaning to our life has been tampered with — we didn’t get in to our university of choice, our career isn’t going as we had expected, a relationship that we were heavily invested in has fallen apart, etc. these things that we have chosen to define us, to bring meaning to our lives, have been shaken; our beliefs, our values, our assumptions —in essence, our very foundations have been shaken! Of course some mental distress will ensue… but the keys are management and perspective.
Philosophy is the love for wisdom not confusion. Wisdom entails knowing the difference between accepting the things that cannot be changed and changing the things that can be changed. The differentiation that I have come to make between productive thinking (wisdom-inducing thinking) and over(whelming) thinking (confusion-inducing thinking) is in the questions we ask and what it is we think about — the problem, or the solution.
So, what is the meaning of life? … Whatever we make of it.