let us thank God for having made us this gift of death, so that life is to have meaning; of night, that day is to have meaning; silence, that speech is to have meaning; illness, that health is to have meaning; war, that peace is to have meaning. Let us give thanks to Him for having given us weariness and pain, so that rest and joy are to have meaning. Let us give thanks to him, whose wisdom is infinite.
Where there is meaning, there is paradigm, and where there is paradigm (opposition), there is meaning... elliptically put: meaning rests on conflict (the choice of one term against another), and all conflict is generative of meaning: to choose one and refuse the other is always a sacrifice made to meaning, to produce meaning, to offer it to be consumed.
[T]here is nothing to say about life. It has no meaning. You make meaning. If you want a meaning in your life, find a meaning and bring it into your life, but life won't give you a meaning. Meaning is a concept. It is a notion of an end toward which you are going. The point of Buddhism is This Is It.
In the example of the navigator, no writing was essential to draw the meaning of observing the object at a distance from the ship. In the real the observation has been noted and that is enough to give it a meaning, a subjective meaning, a meaning exclusively important for the navigator himself.
A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. When anybody asks what a story is about, the only proper thing is to tell them to read the story. The meaning of fiction is not abstract meaning but experienced meaning.
But there's the rub. The present can never deliver one thing: meaning. The way of happiness and meaning are not the same. To find happiness, a man need only live in the moment; he need only live for the moment. But if he wants meaning--the meaning of his dreams, his secrets, his life--a man must reinhabit his past, however dark, and live for the future, however uncertain. Thus nature dangles happiness and meaning before us all, insisting only that we choose between them.
Man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a "secondary rationalization" of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning.
Viktor E. Frankl
There is a close connection between art and religion in the sense that both are concerned about questions of meaning - if not about the meaning of existence generally, then certainly about the meaning of one's individual life and how a person relates to his or her total community/environment.
The Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert talk about the two "hungers". There is the Great Hunger and there is the Little Hunger. The Little Hunger wants food for the belly; but the Great Hunger, the greatest hunger of all, is the hunger for meaning... There is ultimately only one thing that makes human beings deeply and profoundly bitter, and that is to have thrust upon them a life without meaning. There is nothing wrong in searching for happiness. But of far more comfort to the soul is something greater than happiness or unhappiness, and that is meaning. Because meaning transfigures all. Once what you are doing has for you meaning, it is irrelevant whether you're happy or unhappy. You are content - you are not alone in your Spirit - you belong.
Laurens van der Post
Billy Pilgrim had a theory about diaries. Women were more likely than men to think that their lives had sufficient meaning to require recording on a daily basis. It was not for the most part a God-is-leading-me-on-a-wondrous-journey kind of meaning, but more an I've-gotta-be-me-but-nobody-cares sentimentalism that passed for meaning, and they usually stopped keeping a diary by the time they hit thirty, because by then they didn't want to ponder the meaning of life anymore because it scared the crap out of them.
Life in itself has no meaning. Life is an opportunity to create meaning. Meaning has not to be discovered; it has to be created. You will find meaning only if you create it. It is not lying there somewhere behind the bushes, so you can go and you search a little bit and find it. It is not there like a rock that you will find. It is a poetry to be composed, it is a song to be sung, it is a dance to be danced.
When a poet writes a poem, meaning arises - because the poet is not alone; he has created something. When a dancer dances, meaning arises. When a mother gives birth to a child, meaning arises. Left alone, cut off from everything else, isolated like an island, you are meaningless. Joined together you are meaningful. The bigger the whole, the bigger is the meaning.
What is the meaning to this life?' is a wrong question? A blank paper doesn't contain any meaning till we don't write anything meaningful on it. Similarly this universe doesn't contain any meaning without this beautiful life. So life gives meaning to this universe and we should respect it.
Human life has no meaning independent of itself. There is no cosmic force or deity to give it meaning or significance. There is no ultimate destiny for man. Such a belief is an illusion of humankind's infancy. The meaning of life is what we choose to give it. Meaning grows out of human purposes alone. Nature provides us with an infinite range of opportunities, but it is only our vision and our action that select and realize those that we desire.
Frankl asserts that "the potentialities of life are not indifferent possibilities, but must be seen in the light of meaning and values." Such meaning and values cannot be imposed; each individual must seek out for himself or herself the meaning of each situation and the implications the present moment may have for the future.
William Blair Gould
When we work creatively and productively with others, our experience of meaning can be profound. When we work directly for the good of others, meaning deepens in ways that reward us beyond measure. Whenever we go beyond satisfying our own personal needs, we enter the realm of what Frankl called "ultimate meaning." some call it connection to a higher self, to God, to our own spirit, to universal consciousness, to love, to the collective good. No matter what it's called, it is deep meaning and it transforms our lives.
The Existential-Epistemic Spiral-Meaning Our central beliefs shape and guide us, but the staggering synergistic power of our dynamics working together creates an existential centripetal force at the core of our being-meaning. Nothing affects us like meaning. Meaning is everything, the cumulative effect of all dynamics spinning inside of us. It generates and sustains our identity, creates stability and purpose. It drives our choices, shapes our feelings, and guides our morality.
Contemporary poetry ... tries to transform the sign back into meaning: its ideal, ultimately, would be to reach not the meaning of words, but the meaning of things themselves. This is why it clouds the language, increases as much as it can the abstractness of the concept and the arbitrariness of the sign and stretches to the limit the link between signifier and signified.
Many young people today do not concern themselves with style. They think that what one says should be said simply and that is all. For me, style - which does not exclude simplicity, quite the opposite - is above all a way of saying three or four things in one. There is the simple sentence, with its immediate meaning, and then at the same time, below this immediate meaning, other meanings are organized. If one is not capable of giving language this plurality of meaning, then it is not worth the trouble to write.
The war for our Union, with all the constitutional issues which it settled, and all the military lessons which it gathered in, has throughout its dilatory length but one meaning in the eyes of history. It freed the country from the social plague which until then had made political development impossible in the United States. More and more, as the years pass, does the meaning stand forth as the sole meaning.
there is no real person whose embodiment plays no role in meaning, whose meaning is purely objective and defined by the external world, and whose language can fit the external world with no significant role played by mind, brain, or body. Because our conceptual systems grow out of our bodies, meaning is grounded in and through our bodies. Because a vast range of our concepts are metaphorical, meaning is not entirely literal and the classical correspondence theory of truth is false.
What do I know about God and the purpose of life? I know that this world exists. That I am placed in it like my eye in its visual field. That something about it is problematic, which we call its meaning. This meaning does not lie in it but outside of it. That life is the world. That my will penetrates the world. That my will is good or evil. Therefore that good and evil are somehow connected with the meaning of the world.The meaning of life, i.e. the meaning of the world, we can call God. And connect with this the comparison of God to a father.
I have finally figured out the meaning of life: there's no such thing. And that's a beautiful thing, because that means that WE get to choose it ourselves. Life has no meaning besides the meaning you give it. You are indeed the author of your destiny. So why not write a book worth reading?
Seek for no meaning in it; it has none. What meaning is there in pain and pleasure? They are twins; that is all we know. Seek no meaning in anything you see here. Images, ideas, flashes of purpose will peer out in all our ways and deeds, but there is no intention here below. Is there any intention anywhere?
People wonder why there seems to be no meaning in life. Meaning does not exist a priori. There is no meaning existing in life; one has to create it. Only if you create it will you discover it. It has to be invented first. It is not lying there like a rock, it has to be created like a song. It is not a thing, it is significance that you bring through your consciousness.
I can not 'make my mark' for all time - those concepts are mutually exclusive. 'Lasting effect' is a self-contradictory term. Meaning does not exist in the future and neither do I. Nothing will have meaning 'ultimately.' Nothing will even mean tomorrow what it did today. Meaning changes with the context. My meaningfulness is here. It is enough that I am of value to someone today. It is enough that I make a difference now.
There is no use in one person attempting to tell another what the meaning of life is. It involves too intimate an awareness. A major part of the meaning of life is contained in the very discovering of it. It is an ongoing experience of growth that involves a deepening contact with reality. To speak as though it were an objective knowledge, like the date of the war of 1812, misses the point altogether. The meaning of life is indeed objective when it is reached, but the way to it is by a path of subjectivities. . . . The meaning of life cannot be told; it has to happen to a person.
A fact was the hard outer cover of meaning, and meaning was the soft living stuff inside a fact. Fact and meaning were the driving cogs of living. If the gear of fact drove the gear of meaning, then they revolved in opposite directions, but put the gear of fantasy between the two and they both revolved in the same direction. Fantasy was and is important; it leads to heaven knows where, but follow it and see. Sometimes it pays off.