With the support of the three methods and the reasoning criteria described in the first part, we will attempt in this part to address the following queries: whether the concept of the meaning of life can be justified, and if it can, what it is. Before we get to that though, we should first make a distinction between the meaning of life and meaning in life, because they are sometimes confused. In this context, meaning in life is a meaning that every individual can create for themselves. There is no doubt that we can all have this type of meaning. Furthermore, as it is our creation, very different things can be meaningful for different people, such as pursuing one’s dreams, personal happiness, leaving descendants, helping others, visiting every country in the world… There are nearly endless possibilities in this respect. However, we will not focus on that topic here. We will turn our attention instead to the big one – the meaning of life in general. This sort of meaning applies that all life including amebae, human beings, and all in between, have something in common. A kind of direction. This makes a fundamental difference between meaning in life and the meaning of life – in the latter case it is not up to us to make the meaning but to find it.
Of course, not everybody believes that there is a meaning of life. Some are even apprehensive about this possibility. They feel that if the meaning of life existed, it would be like a straightjacket that would restrict our freedom. This is based on an assumption that life would have to blindly follow that purpose as an automata. To address these concerns, we should clarify right away that the meaning of life, in fact, could not be antithetical to freedom. This is because if we have freedom at all, such a fundamental feature of life must be too a part of the life’s purpose. Therefore, the meaning could only be a potential. This does not mean that we cannot look for it.
From time immemorial people have been on that quest but the results have been a mixed bag to say the least. To have any hope of getting anywhere, we need to approach the issue systematically, which immediately raises the question of where to start. Although this, of course, is not the only option, we believe that it is best to start from the beginning.
The Meaning Chapters
The Origin of the Physical World
In a quest to find a rational answer to the perennial question whether there is a meaning of life and what it might be, we start by examining the origin and properties of the physical world.
The Origin of Life
It is estimated that life on Earth appeared as early as 4.28 billion years ago (possibly even earlier). Not surprisingly, this event is still shrouded in mystery, so let’s see how far we have got with unravelling it.
The Synthesis Perspective
If we cannot find a convincing explanation for the origin and fine tuning of our universe for life within it, we may as well give up being like that chick inside an egg and acknowledge the possibility that there is reality outside it.
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