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The meaning and purpose of life

Marina Nikitina

The worrying, controversial and burning question at all times of life on earth for a human being, a thinking being, remains: “What is the meaning and purpose of life?” And how many people have so many opinions on this issue. Before understanding this philosophical category “the goal and meaning of a person’s life ...”, it’s worth understanding what these words mean “meaning” and “goal”?

Concepts of meaning and purpose

Meaning is a concept denoting the inner essence, the cause of appearance or existence. The meaning of life is what we live for, the prerequisites for the emergence of self-identification of a person, the reasons for his search, including the reasons for his joy and torment on this earth. The meaning of life is that stumbling block that, no matter what, turns the wheel of life. Those who do not understand this meaning and have not found meaning for themselves, despair and commit suicide. Those who have understood and understood the meaning of their existence go beyond physical problems and feel complete harmony with the world.

The goal is a more mundane concept. Although in some ways the concepts of "meaning of life" and "purpose of life" coincide.In essence, the goal is the result that is sought. If we understand the goal as some visible or tangible result, the meaning is different from the goal, since the concept of meaning does not always imply a result, an achievement.

The meaning and purpose of life

The goal is a more superficial concept than sense. In the further analysis and reasoning, to exclude misunderstanding, we will nevertheless consider both concepts — “goal” and “meaning” - as one. You see, both these words are human concepts, therefore they are artificial and not suitable for expressing the inexpressible, that is, the meaning, the causes of our existence, whose roots go far beyond the physical life of a person, that is, deep into the unknowable. But since we try to explain ourselves in words, we will have to continue to operate on them.

The problem of purpose and meaning of life in philosophy

Philosophical science tends to two variants of the purpose and meaning of human life:

The meaning of life in life itself.
Sense of life is not.

By reasoning, reasoning, without testing in practice, some philosophers have concluded that the meaning of life is nowhere to be found anywhere, but merged with life itself in all its manifestations and forms.That is the meaning of life - in the process of life with all the joys and sorrows.

Comparison with the appearance of a brilliant picture is very appropriate in this case. After all, when a master or an ordinary person suddenly, as they say, visits a muse (revelation), he does not think about the meaning. He becomes a single impulse, inspired by his inner revelation and writes his masterpiece, which asks out, as a manifestation of pure beauty.

Another group of philosophers came to a slightly different conclusion, arguing about the meaning of mortal existence - that the meaning of life simply does not exist. Indeed, it is very difficult to reduce to a common denominator all those contradictory events that take place in the life of people. It is difficult in general from the point of view of a person living in comparison with the life of space objects, it is negligible to judge something. After all, we are unlikely to have more than a fraction of the truth for such a period of time, which we spend mostly on solving momentary issues, and then we die and turn into dust. There is no sense of life, it’s just natural circumstances and cause-and-effect relationships.

The meaning and purpose of life

If you take a closer look at the two described philosophical concepts about the meaning of life, it becomes clear that they are almost identical. Well, judge for yourself: to think that life is necessary in order to live is the same thing that this question is considered absurd in general, because in the first case one does not come to any conclusion and does not explain the meaning.

Buddhist understanding of the meaning of human life

Everyone knows about the Buddha, who, due to mental shock and long concentration (meditation), saw the light and understood (rather, he felt, since this understanding is not available to the brain) meaning. So, Buddhism (I’ll just clarify: Buddhism is not a religion) once again confirms what has already been said above: the transcendental (all-pervading) meaning of life is inexpressible in words, but everyone will come to enlightenment, understanding of the meaning.

And note, this process, as the result does not depend on the mind of man. It does not depend on the level of education, intelligence, age, skin color - does not depend on anything. This is because any logical connections that a civilized modern person is used to thinking end here.

The Buddhist version of enlightenment, as already mentioned, does not depend on the level of intelligence.A modern stereotyped educational system built on scientific knowledge hinders understanding. For a detailed explanation of this question we will give an example: Zen Buddhist history (parable).

It tells about the seeker of the path that came to the spiritual teacher for answers to questions. They are preparing for tea. The teacher understands that the pupil's mind is not ready to understand anything, that his mind is not calm and is already filled with knowledge, which pushes man away from realizing the meaning of life. Therefore, to express this thought, the enlightened one began to pour tea into the pupil. However, when the tea reached the edges, he did not stop pouring it. Naturally, the burning liquid began to overflow and spill over onto the student's knees and the floor. The student exclaimed: “What are you doing, teacher? After all, the cup is already full, no more tea can be placed in it! "To which the teacher replied that indeed, in a full cup nothing more could be placed.

The meaning of life is in the awareness of oneself as a part (not integral, but rather holographic) of the rest of the Universe.

According to the Buddhist version, a person in his physical (coarse, tangible) body is only the tip of the iceberg, only a visible part of what he really is.It is like love - it is not material, but at the same time beautiful and irrational, for it live and die. It permeates everything, and its absence poisons existence. There will be no contradiction to the Buddhist interpretation of the goal of life: “The meaning of life is love.”

In everyday life, everything is imbued with this meaning, although our life is too conditioned. The conditioning of life is a division into “to be” and “not to be”, to “good” and “bad”, to “light” and “darkness”, but in reality being is not divided into parts, as it seems to us. This is not bad, because otherwise we had nothing to compare. It turns out that it's equally wonderful: to experience pain and experience joy. Any opposition that our mind is so used to see everywhere has two sides. It’s like a stick — it cannot be with one end, like the rest of this world.

The meaning and purpose of life

Only thanks to the restless, dividing brain we are interested in the meaning of life. First, we divide everything into “plus” and “minus”, in order to realize later that there is nothing separate, there is no separate thing, and that we are a beautiful part of the whole huge unrecognizable one-sided view of the world.This is possible only after the deliverance of the mind from the illusions of earthly existence. Life in the body in which you were born is another (not the first and, possibly, not the last) test. Achieving harmony, understanding the meaning, reuniting with where we came from is at this stage the meaning of life and eliminates the endless wheel of rebirths (Sansaras) when the “payment of bills” takes place. This is the meaning of life and universal justice, according to the ancient Buddhist concepts.

The purpose and meaning of life: Ayurvedic knowledge

As for the ancient Indian knowledge, Ayurveda, each has its own individual path, completely different from the path of any other person among the billions living. According to this understanding of the goal of life, at the first stage it is to realize what your purpose is, what you have to do in order for the world “mosaic” to finally take shape. As long as we (figuratively, people-puzzles, elements of something single) are not doing this, or are not aware of ourselves, or are going contrary to nature, we cannot take the right place in the mozayka called “the cycle of life”. In particularly difficult cases, “misguided” people get sick, suffer and experience other inconveniences, anger and fear.

The meaning and purpose of life

According to Ayurvedic knowledge, everything tangible and intangible has a single source and was divided once, so that once again it will be reunited, so that the simple will come out of the complex, and then the next cycle will follow again. But the cycle is not in a circle, but in a spiral, life at a new level.

So this Absolute, integral and indivisible, could not be statically in harmony, or for some reason, still unknown to us, changed, formed levels of matter: coarse and weightless, invisible by physical sight. Every creature, every animal, people, even plants and trees are all living, consisting of the manifestations of this diverse absolute.

The word “manifestation” here is taken literally: what already existed and will exist (since time does not play a role for the overarching category in question) in plants, animals, people finds manifestation. Another example: the film from the camera contains a negative image before the manifestation. If you get it in the dark and show it - as a result, a picture is printed from the negative. Before manifestation, you will not see anything, and if you open a camera in the light, you will not see anything more.But this does not mean that the rudiment of the image is not there.

The meaning and purpose of life

So it is with people: when certain circumstances and causes converge, a person is born as the imprint of all material and spiritual things from this world, but this does not mean that he is completely isolated and separated from causes and matters from which he has turned out, no. This separation and self is illusory, they are only for the physical sight. That is why everything in the world is connected with everything. This is the principle of transcendence: everything will be according to the laws of causation. And if you do not see in most of the events in the life of these connections, this does not mean that there are no connections. If you feel separated from the world and other people, this is also a delusion.

It follows from the above that each has his own task and there is no one more important or worse, by any means. The degree of importance is a purely human, contrived concept. All events are important, everything that happens and what you do necessarily have certain consequences, since everything is connected. These connections go beyond the boundaries of space and time (it looks like a new theory of physicists called “string theory”).

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