What’s the meaning of life?

This is a question that’s always in my mind. I constantly reflect on it and reconsider it. Partly this is because I don’t know of a more important question. It seems to me that everything should revolve around this question. If you’re interested, I’d like to ponder it with you at any time.

Yesterday I was extremely tired because I’d stayed up the night before trying to finish my EE 454 and Phys 152 homework. It seemed that it was just too much. I was unusually depressed, but that was understandable because I hadn’t had enough sleep. I read somewhere that when we feel bad, 90% of the time it’s due to a lack of sleep. So I knew I had to sleep more. And since my homework was late, I also knew I had to do my homework earlier. But I had good reasons for pushing homework for later. I’m working on iPhone apps, and time of the essence. Every second matters. Delaying one more day could easily translate into $1,000 or more.

What’s the purpose of life? If money is what matters, I’m fairly confident that I could be a millionaire. Sure, disaster could strike, I could get sick, any number of things could happen. But overall, the odds are pretty good. I could earn a million dollars by age 25. But at what sacrifice? And for what benefit? I might have to dedicate my life to it. It might be the only thing I do.

Is it to be happy? Many people who say that it’s to be the happiest possible. That means it depends on what makes me happy. And how do I measure and sum happiness? I could measure it on a subjective sliding scale. Right now my happiness level is 70 out of 100. Maybe not doing so well. Is it a cumulative sum over all my years of life? Is it long-term or short-term? What level of short-term loss is appropriate for the long-term gain? This is particularly relevant to my EE 454 homework. Doing the homework is making me unhappy. It’s possible, quite likely in fact, that it will bring me some amount of future happiness in the future, in the form of an A grade in the class. But I have enough A grades. The happiness they bring is rather short-lived, and nearly zero if considered on a long enough time scale.

And there’s an opportunity cost, of course. There are things I’d be doing instead, if I weren’t doing the homework.

Is it what Christians believe: to glorify God? This is the only eternal thing.

I watched a video documentary (1 hour) on Rick Rosner, who is supposedly the smartest man in the world. At least that’s what a recent Domino’s commercial says.

“I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to retrieve lost time.” – Rick Rosner

That’s something worth thinking about. Everyone has a finite amount of time on earth. It’s unavoidable: we’re all going to die someday. It’s absolutely going to happen, and there’s no getting around it. You can extend it. But you can never make it infinite. Even if you could, would you? Why would you?

What’s the importance of what I’m doing right now? What’s the importance of anything that I do? At the moment, I’m writing a post for my blog. But where is my blog going to be in 100 years? I consider the people who are going to read my blog and read this post. What possible influence could my blog have in 1,000 years? It will almost certainly be gone. I will most certainly be gone. And even if it did have an influence, why is that important? Why does that matter?

You might notice I have a lot of questions. Years of pushing myself to think of questions has made me come up with a lot of them. In class, teachers sometimes ask, “Any questions?” (I certainly ask this when I’m teaching.) I’m always tempted to throw in a random question at this point. This is usually a good idea, as it helps to clarify understanding. In general, I’m full of questions. I incessantly mull them over in an attempt to filter out the “good questions.”

Questions drive conversation. Often I wonder whether I should pose a question. During class, during conversation, or just anytime at all. In every situation, I consider what the effect would be. How would asking the question impact me and the people who hear it? What are the possible answers? I try to imagine the outcome. Usually I’m unable to do this with any degree of accuracy. That keeps questions interesting. Maybe I should pose them more often.

3 Responses to “What’s the meaning of life?”

  1. I hope you find the answer you are asking for.

    For me, the meaning of life is to learn and to be happy. The first goal is a ongoing road, and the second is state of the mind and the soul (if you believe in it)

  2. subxaero33 says:

    Oh the existentialist has emerged! Congrats on your existentialist awakening! You should take a class on existentialism or research it yourself. Ultimately, you create your own meaning to the life you live based off your choices and what you chose to accept/reject.

  3. JoAndrew says:

    All of us have a lot of questions in our mind. They vary from one person to the other. However not all questions have outright answers just like “What’s the meaning of life?” or “What’s the purpose of life?”. Some questions will only be answered by the time you have reached that so called self realization, others would remain a mystery. Purposes in life vary from one person to the other and self-realization is the key to discovering what your life is all about.

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