The Meaning of Life According to Seven Philosophers, Psychologists and Theologians An independent study project in psychology of religion, by Tracy Marks, Tufts University, spring 1972 copyright 1972 by Tracy Marks

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The Meaning of Life
According to Seven Philosophers, Psychologists and Theologians
An independent study project in psychology of religion, by Tracy Marks,
Tufts University, spring 1972
copyright 1972 by Tracy Marks

Here we have seven different but related interpretations of the problem of meaning in life and how it is attained.

For Erich Fromm, man makes his life meaningful by living productively, and by using his powers of love and reason to their fullest capacity.

For Abraham Maslow, meaning is experienced by the self-actualized, growth-motivated person who delights in using his creative powers for their own sake, and who can affirm himself and simultaneously transcend himself through peak experiences.

For Rollo May, meaning is experienced by a person centered in himself, who is able to live by his highest values, who knows his own intentionality, feels the power of his will to choose, and is able to love.

For Krishnamurti, the world is experienced as most meaningful when through the knowledge of self gained through self-observation, man frees himself of the self and attains the state of passive awareness and self-forgetfulness which is love.

For Paul Tillich, man can choose to make his life meaningful by surrendering in faith and love to Jesus. By opening to Jesus and experiencing His acceptance and forgiveness, one experiences the joy and freeeom of "new being" and the courage to be oneself.

For Abraham Heschel, man experiences his life as a meaningful when he lives in God's presence - not simpy by encountering God in the world, but primarily by serving God in everyday life, infusing every moment with the spirit of God, and by dedicating himself to ends outside himself.

Finally, for Viktor Frankl, meaning is experienced by responding to the demands of the situation at hand, discovering and committing oneself to one's own unique task in life, and by allowing oneself to experience or trust in an ultimate meaning - which one may or may not call God.

Variety of meanings of life from WebPages

Note: I found these on a web page which allowed people to read a list of answers to the question, “What is the meaning of life?” and then write in and append their own contribution. This is not the entire list, only some representative samples from it. I apologize that I did not save the web address along with this; if I find it again, I will send it along. Read, think and enjoy.

Life is a four-letter word with substantial and exhaustive emotional appeal.

Life is best lived by accepting our present condition and using our potential to achieve more. We must not be too aggressive in our pursuits or we will be consumed with greed. Nor, can we be too passive or we shall slowly drift away. We must find a good balance in

our life of things that we enjoy. There can be no other meaning in life that we can absolutely affirm than our own experience and we must enjoy that which we have.

The meaning of life is infinite. it expands and covers everything that ever existed, however personal philosophies on life differ in every way. for me, or for anyone else who is interested, the meaning of life is to be happy and help everyone else to experience moments of pure joy. when was the last time you experienced pure and undisturbed happiness ? i think it has only happened to me twice in my entire life. the first was at a beach in n.s.w (guerilla bay - great spot). i was by myself late in the afternoon, bodysurfing and catching great waves. the second time was at the pearl jam concert. i know that sounds really commercial and teenybopper but you just had to be there i guess. natalie j.

The meaning of life is all dependent on where you are getting your next meal. If you are growing your food, odds are that you'll perceive everything in terms of cycles and rebirth. If you are raising animals, odds are you'll perceive life as being about getting the best grazing land. The pursuit for meaning in life is absurd because it is ultimately subjective. Personally, Taco Bell is my current answer to the ultimate question, because it's 1:47 pm, and I haven't eaten yet today.

We are programmed by our genes to do many things, but the number one priority is to survive. Our problem has always been to survive death. But we solved that through the implementation of religion. All religions preach some form of afterlife or reincarnation etc. So by living under the illusion that there is life after death we are more able to enjoy our current life. *** (some evidence that sincere belief lowers blood pressure???)

The problem with the modern man is that he has developed knowledge that no longer makes our current Religions trustworthy, so we are no longer able to make belief that there is an afterlife like the religions preach. So there is a market right now for new religions that are more up to date with scientific facts.

1. Emotional, spiritual and artistic fulfillment through any means necessary as long as it doesn't harm any one else

2. Eat, drink and be merry...

The meaning of life is being able to lie naked in bed with your soul-mate, your trembling hand clutching his, gazing deeply into his gentle eyes to say "I LOVE YOU," and find his heart seemingly melt into the very marrow of your soul.... .And in the midst of this

phantasmagoric moment, feel that all apparent life in this universe has ceased to exist, all but that of the impenetrable bond between two intertwined souls.... cavegirl in berkeley
Meaning' means nothing more than the structure or context from which something is understandable. So the meaning of life is not a question but the evident context from which life reveals itself. There can be no doubt about whether there is a meaning of life, because life posits itself and is thereby the meaning of anything else. Ivy
Makeup, good haircare products and a nice outfit.

What more could a girl ask for?

Oh, and entertaining company.

it's a simple thought.....a difficult task.

The meaning of life is to cultivate for ourselves a place where we feel we belong. The difficulty is in achieving balance in the quest, experiencing passion while demonstrating tolerance, living fully for the moment while accepting consequences for our actions, and

continuing to seek the answers. Heather

The meaning of existence on this planet Earth revolves around pleasure. Each one must find himself a form of pleasure that one's soul can find peace with. Experimentation is the only known means to discover what life means to one's self. J. Gardiner

Life.. let's think about this one for a while. I believe it was the words of the ever so wise George Carlin who suggests our reason for existence is "Plastic". The earth didn't know how to create plastic for itself so we were created to create it. As soon as the world has

enough plastic, it will shake us off like a bad case of fleas.

This is oddly enough not a good enough explanation. I think that we were some odd accident of the universe, and soon will create our greatest accident, the genocide of our fellow species and any other living things around us. Don't get me confused with love crazed hippies, for I believe all things were meant to die. For the time being, we shall all enjoy what we have, for those of us who have something, and those of us who don't, try to get something before you suffer a horrible death of flames consuming and ripping away the flesh of your vital organs. Have a bad day. (and let others have good ones)

Dark Puppy Associated with the White Werewolf

Who has not asked "Why am I here?" Is it really necessary to receive an answer? For in truth, who will answer us that we may truly believe, if not ourselves.

I ask you all who read this, recognize yourself and know your own truth. We spend so much time in daylight, it blurs our night vision, blinds us to our true selves.

So many demand of us our blind faith, our suspension of disbelief for the peace of immortality, while at the same time claiming for themselves the exclusive understanding of eternity. They know no more than you do.

For the meaning of life is life, what more meaning must there be? If you read this and it has truth for you, then you already know your truth, as we all do. It makes no difference who I am, I do not ask for your faith, you do not need it, for you are alive. Anon.

What a wonderful, fascinating, curious creature we are. On earth's cosmic calendar modern man emerged a half second ago and already we've poked and prodded and measured the length and breadth of our universe. We've smashed particles. We've created gods. We've sent probes to outer space. And yet the fundamental question remains unanswered. Who are we? Why are we here? Most people have accepted religion as the

answer. This is easy. Requires no real effort or critical examination. (Is it any wonder that religion promotes faith over reason?)

Personally I believe it's far too early in our evolutionary development to even begin to think that we could comprehend the final answers. I suspect that when we finally get there we'll smile at all the wrong steps that primitive mankind made searching for the

answer to the meaning of life.

I'll leave you with one last thought. Virtual reality is in its infancy. By donning a mask and glove we can transport ourselves into a crude, quasi-real world that is different from our own. But of course, we always know it's not real. Someday however, once virtual reality becomes more sophisticated, we will be able to go to worlds that seem as real as the one in which we now find ourselves. The ultimate virtual reality will be a reality that we can't tell is real or not. Where we no longer are aware that it's just a game.

How do we know then that we aren't existing in a much further advanced civilization and that life as we know it is nothing but a virtual reality game. Perhaps we've put in our quarters and we play the game until our time runs out. Maybe death is a concept that has been invented for the game to give it spice. Robert Butler

For an answer to this question, please visit my homepage:

All will be revealed...

The meaning of life is to experience the widest range of emotions possible. Whether this means running through a crowded street naked or crying while watching a sappy movie is up to you. Chris

..leaving out the disjointed preamble, the succinct disclaimer, the numerous sub-topics, and the lengthy summary... take care of those you love take care of those you do not love try to love everyone know the meaning of love love yourself respect everything and everybody do good work sweat smile wink 76435

Why should Life have any meaning? I think it is presumptuous of us to see meaning in everything about us. However, if I could be presumptuous, , (for the fun of it),I would have to say that it is the WONDER OF IT ALL. Santosh

Life is a continuous struggle to achieve the ultimate goal - happiness. Rommel

The meaning of life is finding something you love so much that you don't care about what anyone thinks of you when you do it and it makes you happier than anyone in the world Sidwell

Does a life this strange need a meaning? If not, why not? Steve Birmingham

First, what is life? Some believe it is this body, but I think this body is just the physical manifestation of the soul, an energy form that exists on a different, higher plane, outside of normal space-time.

To me, life is in the soul. And the soul traverses the ages, suffering through innumerable incarnations until it develops to a level of sensitivity where it can function without the crude limitations of a physical body, able to sense solely through feeling and free to

traverse space and time at will. From there, one could look into the eyes of god and be harmoniously at one with the universe, and participate as a positive force in the development of all life. What prevents me from developing to that state is the attachments I have to my needs, my poison seeds, my fears, my tears, my past

and my future, my love, and most of all, my 'life'. To be free is to be clear of mind, honoring of body, and humble in endeavours. So me thinks meaning is in growth; exploration of the limits, and new levels of clarity, new levels of understanding, compassion and love. Just grow. Life always works out from there. Terrence

The meaning of life is analogous to the meaning of a delicious, hot pizza fresh out of the oven. If one ponders it too long, the pizza may get cold. Best to consume it quickly else a single slice may be all one gets. Best Regards,

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