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The Meaning of Life May Be Life Itself

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October 1st, 2020

By Steve Taylor, Ph.D.

Guest writer for Wake Up World

What is the meaning of life? The question has become a slightly ridiculous cliché, so it’s difficult to answer seriously. In fact, I would guess that many intellectuals and academics would argue that life has no real meaning. According to the conventional scientific view, we human beings are just chemical machines (or “throwaway survival machines,” in the phrase of arch materialist Richard Dawkins) whose only purpose is to survive and reproduce our genes. Otherwise, there isn’t really much of consequence in our lives. We may attempt to create other kinds of meaning — for example, by following a religion, trying to become rich or famous, or trying to make the world a better place — but all we’re really doing is following our genetic and neurological programming. Even our consciousness, the feeling of having experience inside our own heads, may not really exist, or may exist only as a kind of shadow of our brain activity.

However, I take the rather unfashionable view that there is meaning to life. I don’t think we are just ghost-like entities living inside our machine-like bodies with an indifferent machine-like world out there. I don’t think that human life is just a meaningless space between birth and death, for us to spend trying to enjoy ourselves and forgetting the futility of everything. I think that human life and the world mean much more than that. And this is not because I am religious — In fact, I consider myself an atheist.

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