The Book of Answers

What is the meaning of life?

The meaning of life is what you make it.

Boy, doesn't that sound like a cop-out answer?

Permit me to explain. The problem with the question is an incompleteness of the word "meaning". An object, idea, or other noun or noun phrase can have meaning to someone, but cannot have an objective meaning devoid of an observer. As a trivial example, the word "pan" means cookware to an English speaker, and means bread to a Spanish speaker. It means nothing at all to a rock or to the universe. It is absurd to consider any meaning of the word "pan" to be right or wrong in an objective sense.

The same goes for life. The question, "What is the meaning of life?" is incomplete. What does it mean to whom? What it means to me may not be what it means to you. If you are the one asking the question, then you are the one whose interpretation matters. The real question is, "What does life mean to you?"

But what does life mean in the grand scheme of things?

Nothing, of course. Weren't you paying attention? There's no scheme. Assuming that the universe is not a sentient being (which I am happy to assume), nothing at all can have any meaning to it. The universe did not create life (or you) for a purpose; it created life because it tends to create just about anything, given enough time. Life alone has the gall to ask, "Why?"

You don't get an answer conveniently handed to you about what your life should mean to you. Sure, you could take one from your favorite preacher, parent or philosopher. But you'll get the wrong answer: You'll get what life means to them, and even that only if they're honest. Instead, you have to experience enough of life to derive a set of values, then figure out what it all means to you.

(And what does life mean to me? I don't assign it meaning at all. I just like it.)

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