Rubin | May 6, 2018 | 3
Meaning Of Life [Explained & Quotes]
What is the (true) meaning of life? Why do I exist? Many people seek for answers, for example on Google. In this article, we will explore this question through quotes and essays about the purpose of life.
Is the meaning of life… the development of humanity as a whole?
Humanity is an organic system. Here is how:
- Humanity has manifested immense potentialities and latent capacities in its historical evolution through generations.
- Humanity will continue to reveal them in the course of its becoming.
This process may be likened to the biological, intellectual and moral evolution of the individual, from its embryonic state in the matrix, to its birth, maturity and procreation…
Or to the trajectory of the seed, that traverses in a similar way the stages of germination, blossoming, fruition and reproduction.
Thus the human caravan proceeds in its evolution, without interrupting its onward march notwithstanding the pains and difficulties it experiences, like a child tripping and getting up time and time again without stopping. This caravan has had distinguished guides who helped it surmount the tests and dangers of the way.
It has also had tyrannical leaders who sought to lead it along perdition’s footpaths. Even so, the caravan has overcome numberless obstacles and has continued its march ahead.
Does free will play a roll? And how does this give meaning to our life?
The human caravan proceeds in its evolution. What is the source of such energy?
Each individual and each human group have a role and a responsibility in the advancement or slowing down of this caravan, since the human being is distinguished by the gift of free will.
This raises the following questions:
- Could there be some individual or collective goal behind the march of this caravan?
- Might its movement have some underlying and impelling purpose?
- What is the human being?
- Why has humanity come into the existence?
Read more about free will (and its impact on evolution)
In this other article on my website, you can read more about free will and how it is related to finding the goal of life.
Barriers to finding the meaning of life
We are immersed in a labyrinth of different ideologies, religions and feelings. Our way of seeing and living life is influenced by our culture, our education, environment, religion; by our work and the times we live in, as well as by our feelings and ideas.
Each person has their own way of seeing life, and no individual perspective embraces everything. Therefore our vision and understanding of the world are limited.
How can we get more clarity on the meaning of life?
But if we raise our point of view more and more each time, we may reach new perspectives within which walls and barriers of prejudice disappear and a wider horizon can be glimpsed.
Likewise the study of history offers us a point of departure from which it is possible to widen a vision of the world.
History demonstrates that humanity has been evolving throughout the ages. We observe material social and spiritual progress, which implies a direction to human evolution.
Is it even important to have a purpose in life?
Yet again, some questions could be raised…
- But would it make any sense to progress aimlessly and without a purpose?
- Does human civilization have any goal?
- Could there be some purpose behind our life on earth?
What does science tell us about the meaning of life?
I have created a separate article on the viewpoint of science on the meaning of life.
Every creation seems to have a purpose…
In in the entire creation, everything has its function, from the smallest atom to the vastest celestial body, just as each cell has its own role. Can it be that there is no purpose, nor any goal to human existence?
“O SON OF BOUNTY! Out of the wastes of nothingness, with the clay of My command I made thee to appear, and have ordained for thy training every atom in existence and the essence of all created things. Thus, ere thou didst issue from thy mother’s womb, I destined for thee two founts of gleaming milk, eyes to watch over thee, and hearts to love thee. Out of My loving-kindness, ‘neath the shade of My mercy I nurtured thee, and guarded thee by the essence of My grace and favor. And My purpose in all this was that thou mightest attain My everlasting dominion and become worthy of My invisible bestowals.”
(Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)
The purpose of all things is hidden within their structure, as in the case of a guitar. From its shape, its substance, it’s tonality, it may be deduced what it was designed for and the best way to use it.
In the same manner we may discover the goal of human existence if we study its physical, mental, social, and spiritual structures.
Let us consider the life of man…
When the elements of existence engage in accord with the natural order and in perfect functioning, they act as a magnet for the human soul, or as a mirror that attracts light unto itself.
What can be the purpose of life within the womb? Might it not be the preparation for life after birth, through the acquisition of members, organs and senses necessary for life on earth? But the embryo does not know yet how his members and organs will be useful to him, the course he has note idea about life on earth.
Why do we like to live?
What could our purpose in life be from our birth until death? Might not life on earth have a preparatory function akin to life before birth – this time through the acquisition of spiritual capacities and qualities needed for life after death?
Just the embryo, we also ignore the full purpose of spiritual qualities, because we don’t know much about the life beyond.
What does religion tell us about the meaning of life / spiritual life / life after death?
I have created a separate article on the viewpoint of religion on the goal of life.
What about pride… is that the goal of life?
Today, our society seems like a ship without a capitan, out of control and moving at a faster and faster speed.
What then whose vision is limited take pride in this and celebrate the speed. They don’t realize the dangers they are facing.
Man labours against his own existence and survival, the calls he has greater confidence in his own capacities than in divine guidance.
The state of corruption which society in general has reached demonstrates that the advancement of science is not sufficient by itself to a ensure prosperity. We have put our entire confidence in science in the hope that it might answer our questions about life. But we don’t realize that science is merely a tool to take humanity to a higher level in its material, social and spiritual life. Only then, is science may be used in a constructive manner.
“material progress and spiritual progress are two very different things, and …only if material progress goes hand in hand with spirituality can any real progress come about, and the Most Great Peace reign in the world.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 107-108)
“Senses and faculties have been bestowed upon us, to be devoted to the service of the general good; so that we, distinguished above all other forms of life for perceptiveness and reason, should labor at all times and along all lines, whether the occasion be great or small, ordinary or extraordinary, until all mankind are safely gathered into the impregnable stronghold of knowledge. We should continually be establishing new bases for human happiness and creating and promoting new instrumentalities toward this end. How excellent, how honorable is man if he arises to fulfil his responsibilities; how wretched and contemptible, if he shuts his eyes to the welfare of society and wastes his precious life in pursuing his own selfish interests and personal advantages. Supreme happiness is man’s, and he beholds the signs of God in the world and in the human soul, if he urges on the steed of high endeavor in the arena of civilization and justice.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 3-4)
The purpose of creation is the manifestation of the divine perfections.
“Man is in the highest degree of materiality, and at the beginning of spirituality — that is to say, he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection. He is at the last degree of darkness, and at the beginning of light; that is why it has been said that the condition of man is the end of the night and the beginning of day, meaning that he is the sum of all the degrees of imperfection, and that he possesses the degrees of perfection.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 235)
Can we find meaning in our work?
Prayer can be expressed through words and songs of praise, but also by means of our work.
If man’s work is motivated by the noblest intentions and the spirit of service to humanity, such work is identical to an act of worship. Such work will engender the physical and spiritual well-being of man.
The gift of understanding
“First and foremost among these favors,
which the Almighty hath conferred upon man,
is the gift of understanding.”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 194)
Understanding “giveth man the power
to discern the truth in all things,
leadeth him to that which is right,
and helpeth him to discover the secrets of creation.”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 194)
The gift of detachment
What is the effect of the dust upon a mirror? Dust prevents the complete reflection of light in the mirror.
“O SON OF BEING!
Thy heart is My home;
sanctify it for My descent.
Thy spirit is My place of revelation;
cleanse it for My manifestation.”
(Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)
We may liken our hearts to a mirror. Extreme attachment to the world prevents the light of Truth from shining in our heart.
And what about sacrifice?
By means of the blows of the sculptor, the stone loses something of its matter, but at the same time it gains form, beauty and value.
In the same way, man is simultaneously the sculptor and the stone. Through the sacrifice of material things man can polish his spirit.
When sacrifice is motivated by pure intentions, in general it takes place unnoticed.
Just as the seed sacrifices itself to become a flower, the sacrifice of man leads not only to his own development, but also to the blossoming of society.
Is humanity on an endless voyage?
God destined for humanity an endless voyage. The trip begins millions of years ago.
It leads us from darkness into light, from ignorance into knowledge and insight, from imperfection to perfection, separation from God to His presence.
During our journey we are guided by the God’s Messengers. They know the path, they are authorized guides.
To progress – at the same rhythm, at the same speed as the age we live in – is a vital condition. But sometimes, we are badly led by others claiming to know the way.
The Bahá’í faith on the meaning of life
What does The Bahá’í faith say about the meaning of life? Click here for en explanation.
And – to finish this article – as Victor Frankl discovered: The meaning of life is to give life meaning.
Original text by Aladin & Lila Alaie