Every time I hear a love song, I want to replace the word “love” with “meaning”.
I’ve come to a conclusion about what a “meaningful life” is. A life has meaning if, and only if, the following condition are met:
- You are a distinct entity
- The world is objective and predictable
- You have the cognitive power to make predictions
- You have the ability to choose between options
- Options have distinct outcomes
- You have values and preferences
Below are a few examples of meaningless lives
- You are just a cog in a machine. You do as you’re told. You’re just following orders. What’s good for the herd, is good for GM, is good for America, is good for you.
- The world is so chaotic that a flap of a butterfly’s wings has more determining effect than the actual effort of any individual. If the success of a project is entirely dependent on the weather, then you can’t honestly take credit for the work.
- You live in an surreal absurdist fantasy land. Clocks are melting. Stairs perpetually ascend. Illusions are reality.
- You are chained to wall and asked if you would like to run or jump. It’s meaningless because you cannot do either.
- You are offered the choice of dying by fire or dying by freezing. Since the outcomes are not distinct, there is no meaning in choosing.
- If you really don’t give a flying f*ck about anything, then you live a meaningless life. You never have to choose, just let what ever happens, happen. You’ll be more like a leaf in the wind than a regular human.