Meaning of Life

Quotations
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The meaning of life is an oft discussed topic, with debate raging since time began. Is there some sort of meaning to life, extrinsic of ourselves, or can the only meaning be derived from our own personal goals and desires? Here we look at some thoughts on the meaning of life, as evidenced through quotations:

Life has no meaning unless one lives it with a will, at least to the limit of one's will.
- Paul Gauguin

Gauguin clearly follows the idea that there is no absolute meaning to life, rather we inject meaning into our lives by the way that we live it, here specifically to the limit of our will. Whiling away the days watching trashy TV would presumably make our lives meaningless for Gauguin.

For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger

Admittedly not the obvious choice for a quotation on a subject as deep as the meaning of life, but here Arnie contributes an interesting idea on the subject. To exist of and in itself does not give life meaning, rather it is our ability to rise to the challenge, to develop ourselves and stamp our creative nature on our lives that gives it meaning.

The meaning of life is that it stops.
- Franz Kafka

For Kafka there is no grand meaning to life - there is birth, and there is death. And that's pretty much all there is to say about it!

Only an artist can interpret the meaning of life.
- Novalis

Novalis introduces the idea that some people are better placed than others to say, or at least interpret, what the meaning of life is. For Novalis it is an artist, a fundamentally creative person, that can fairly interpret the subject. For those who think there is any meaning to life, being creative, bringing something into existence that is an expression of the self (whatever that means varies from author to author) is a common theme. What counts as an expression of creativity is often the bone of contention.

42...The meaning of life, the universe, and everything
- Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams, perhaps facetiously, defines the number 42 as holding the key to life and the universe. However it is a commonly held view by many that a certain number contains the key to life or is at least very significant in our understanding of the world - whilst 42 has become synonymous with the meaning of life, many hold 11 to be a somehow important number!

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