The meaning of life

-- George Boeree

I, like so many people, had spent many years looking for "the meaning of life" -- something solid and eternal I could hang my hat (or life) on. The more I pondered, the more I realized that Ultimate Meaning just doesn't exist, which of course made me even more miserable.

As I continued to think, I sort of disgustedly concluded that meaning is just something we give things we need. So, I thought, the most you could hope for was to make up a meaning for your life. While that might be satisfying enough for people who didn't have too much of an introspective bent, it was too much like pretending to me.

And then it hit me: If people are the givers of meaning, then we can give meaning to each other. The very things that held me back from taking the fast way our of life was that a few people would be hurt by my act, because they -- silly people! -- needed me!

That was it for me: My life had meaning, not because the Universe or God gave me Ultimate Meaning, but because there were other people in this world who needed me!

I've always been a bit of a loner, and I always tried to pretend I didn't need other people, but over the years I know that compassion from and for others IS what gives our lives meaning.