On the Meaning of Life

Severe and inherent limitations of contemporary science are discussed in previous articles (here and here), where a sounder approach to science is also described. Following this approach, we can start to gain valuable insights about human thinking and other human intricacies, such as individuality, freedom, and the meaning of life, and to attempt to make sense of esoteric notions such as the so-called human souls, spirits, and reincarnation and karma in the evolution of human beings.

(Note: This article will focus on thinking because it is directly relevant to the points being made. This by no mean implies that thinking is more significant than the other two spheres of human activities, namely feeling and willing, the latter of which includes actions.)

Besides their content, our thoughts consist of two aspects: their supports (how they are perceived by a human being – that is, how the person thinks), and their sources (where they come from).

About their supports, we know that, as argued in previous articles, physical matters such as the brain serve only as the mediums for thinking activities. Thus, as a starting point, we can define whatever stands behind and directs our physical body to support our thinking the human soul, and then attempt to understand this soul. The name itself is not important for our current purposes.

Based on observations, we know that, the existence of a human soul spans, at least, from birth until death. Even though where it comes from is still in question at the moments, it is whatever comes along to the physical body to support the person’s thinking in his life. During life, the soul is enriched with education and training and all life experiences. Observations tell us that the soul does not only support, but is a source for thinking as well. Thoughts can come from our observations and the memory in our souls, consciously or unconsciously. Hence, this source of thoughts bounds the content of one’s thinking to one’s life.

But observations reveal to us more. We know that the content of our thinking is not always so bounded, but can go freely. The objects of thinking can be the eternals, the universals that do not concern in any way to one’s current life. Selfless thoughts, which may or may not entail selfless deeds, are some results of such thinking activities. Instead of extending the definition of the soul to incorporate this “higher” aspect, we can separate this out, and define whatever it is that drives such thinking the Spirits. (The reason for capital “S” and the plural form will be clear later.) These are the “higher” sources of thinking.

Going further, among those Spirits behind a person’s “higher” thoughts, there is a particular spirit present when the person consciously goes through the “higher” thinking activities aforementioned. In such conscious moments, one is aware that one is creating out of one’s self one’s own eternal, selfless thoughts. In such moments, the thinking soul becomes conscious of its thinking. We can call the source of one’s “higher” thoughts in such conscious moments one’s human spirit, and try to gain understanding about it.

“Our whole feat consists in giving up our existence in order to exist”. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (reference)

Now with these definitions and further observations, we can already gain certain insights into some of the most important human intricacies. First let us try to make sense of human individuality. In the sense that they are not consciously strived for by human beings but given to them, unconscious (thinking) souls only give individual differences between human beings as much as individual differences between the animals. Therefore, for human individuality to make sense at all, it must be defined by the human spirits. That is, it is acquired only during the striving of human beings towards the eternals. In other words, it is not the mere differences in races, education, living situations, or even innate intelligence that define human individuality in one’s life, but the conscious striving towards the universal eternals from these different given backgrounds that define it.

Next we come to the notion of human freedom. Under the same sense aforementioned, with unconscious thinking soul, a person can only be free as much as animals can be. To be free as human beings can be is, at least, to think freely, in the conscious striving of seeking one’s own spirit. This is the striving for freedom, in the fullest, human meaning of the word.

Recognizing this reality of freedom provides a firm ground to find one’s life meaning. While an unconscious life could be very meaningful for the world, especially when that life is full of selfless thoughts and deeds, what can be of interest to a conscious soul, however, is the meaning of one’s life for one’s self. Only when one is free and can make conscious choices, it starts to make sense to ponder about what is the meaning of one’s life for one’s self is.

This necessarily leads us to the notions of human karma and reincarnation. In the striving for freedom, it is the meanings and purposes of the “higher” thoughts and deeds inspired from one’s own spirit that define the meaning of one’s life for one’s self. All other thoughts and deeds, if they have any meaning at all, would be for the world because they are not consciously created and hence one does not have the right to claim for one’s self their meanings. However, even though what is for the world would remain, the meaning of one’s life for one’s self would become meaningless if all is gone after one’s death. That is, if one has any faith on the real essence of the meaning of one’s life for one’s self, one must have the same faith on the immortality of one’s own spirit. This immortality holds true for at least as long as one still strives for freedom.

And not only that. After death, that meaning of one’s life for one’s self is transformed in a certain way to further strengthen one’s own spirit, who will be better able to inspire one’s next life. This process is the only way for the meaning of one’s life for one’s self to have any meaning with certain real essence at all. And with this, we can start understanding human karma and reincarnation as two of the fundamentals of our evolution.

Therefore, assuming each and every life is intended to have certain real meaning for the person living it, in which that person has to find the meaning himself in his striving for freedom, human evolution is the evolution of immortal human spirits.

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