I was having a conversation with a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while. As I’m wont to do, I started offering my thoughts on living well, how our lives work and all that. He listened patiently, and might even have gleaned something useful from my blabbering.
Something I mentioned, that seemed to pique his curiosity, but that we didn’t really have time to go into, was “meaning.”
I stated that: humans are meaning-seeking and meaning-creating creatures and that – as far as we know – we are the only species that thinks about what things “mean.”
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When we have a strong, clear sense of meaning in our lives, meaning is almost invisible. To the extent that our lives are authentic and purposeful, meaning is increasingly invisible.
When we live a meaning-rich life we feel stability, clarity and peace.
When we feel we have an understanding of ourselves, the world and our place in it, we experience fulfillment and have a sense of direction.
When our sense of meaning is missing, cloudy, conflicted or diminished, we feel anxious, and sometimes even alone. We feel detached and adrift seeing happiness and peace as outside of us – something that others, somehow, someway, are experiencing.
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What this means for our lives, and our happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment is both simple and complex:
As humans we need to understand ourselves, our world and place in it.
We have the capacity to think about our existence, and the inherent drive to do so (with regularity).
We create meaning and seek it – a sort of oxygen for our Soul.
We thrive on it and preserve it (even if it’s flawed in its construction or maintenance).
Humans need meaning and humanity is made from meaning.
To the extent we both understand and embrace these truths we will lead peaceful, joyous and useful lives.
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* This subject will no doubt become more clear to me as I think and write about it more; please excuse any rambling above.