What a man lives for

  What a man lives for


What does man live for? What is the meaning of his life?

Everyone thinks about this, both adults who have lived more than half of their lives, and young people for whom their whole life is still ahead of them. 

I approach the question of the meaning of life and its solution from two different points of view: from the point of view of a single person and from the point of view of all mankind.


In the first view the meaning of life is an element of an individual's unique inner spiritual life, something that he formulates for himself independently of the prevailing systems of social values. From this point of view we cannot speak of a common meaning of life. Each individual discovers it in his own reflections, and on his own experience, building his own hierarchy of values. The search for the meaning of life is individual for each person pondering it. The individual's awareness of the purpose and meaning of life is a complex and lengthy process. Studies have shown that not all people are able to formulate them, not everyone lives a meaningful life. The measure of awareness is one of the indicators of personal spiritual world development. Realization of meaning is a continuous work on comprehension and reconsideration of those values that a person lives for.


At the same time, the meaning of life also exists as a phenomenon of human consciousness. Its peeps represent the second aspect of understanding the question of what is the meaning of life. Each generation and in it each individual exists only in order to produce his offspring, but this latter exists only in order to produce the next generation after him. So each generation has meaning in its life only in the next, that is, in other words, the life of each generation is meaningless; but if the life of each is meaningless, then the life of all is meaningless. This meaningless existence is called "generational life.


But is it, in fact, life?


If each generation exists only in order to perish with the appearance of a new one, which, in its turn, will face the same perishing, and if the genus lives in such continually perishing generations, then the life of the genus is constant death. The goal for everyone here is believed in something else (in posterity), but this other is also aimless and its goal is again in the other, and so on without end. The real goal is nowhere to be found, all that exists is aimless and meaningless, as an unfulfilled aspiration. The birth need is the need for eternal life, but instead of eternal life, nature gives eternal death. Nothing lives in nature, everything only strives to live and perpetually dies. When the question: what are we living for, what is the purpose of our life? - the answer is that life has a purpose in itself, that we live for life itself, then these words do not make sense either, because it is life itself that we do not find anywhere, but everywhere only an impulse and a transition to something else.


Somebody said that nobody went further than Plato, and all the philosophizing that followed was just a replaying of his views and teachings.


In Plato's views the human soul before its birth abides in the realm of pure thought and beauty. Then it falls to a sinful earth, where, temporarily in a human body, "remembers the world of ideas. Here Plato is referring to the recollection of what was in a previous life: the soul resolves the main issues of its life before birth; having appeared in the world, it already knows everything there is to know. It chooses its own fate: it is as if it is already destined for its own destiny.


Thus, according to Plato, the soul is an immortal essence; it distinguishes between three parts: the rational (the basis of human wisdom), the affective-willful (the basis of courage) and the sensual (driven by passions). Overcoming sensuality is the virtue of prudence. For the cosmos as a whole the source of harmony is the world mind. The soul in the process of thinking is active, internally contradictory, dialogical and reflexive. Therefore, the harmonious combination of all parts of the soul under the regulative principle of reason gives a guarantee of wisdom.

Christianity has fully embraced Plato's conception of the meaning of life. According to the canons of the New Testament, the meaning of human life is expressed by the Ten Commandments, within the limits of which he must conduct his earthly life morally: "Do not kill", "Do not steal", "Love", "Forgive", "Do not commit adultery"... at the end of such life the soul goes to the Kingdom of God, and if it misbehaves, then to Hell and is doomed to eternal torments.

Meaning of life is a philosophical and cultural category that reflects a long-term, stable task that has social and personal value and that is realized in a person's social activity. This task is determined by the system of social relations, the goals and interests of society and the free choice of the individual.


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