External and Internal Meaning of Life

Many people, in many instances, question the meaning of life. Despite their many good achievements, successful people have moments where they wonder about the importance of it all. Even the happy people who are committed to finding pleasure in life gradually believe that their lives are valueless. However, it is important to understand that questions about life are mostly brought about by cases like tragedy, heartbreak, or misfortune (Vaughn, 2013). The misfortunes could include racism, the death of a loved one, illness, failure in a career or a business, and poverty.

Surprisingly, the philosophers in the twentieth century did not cover the meaning of life despite many individuals assuming that philosophy is mainly about the meaning of life. They considered the question about the meaning of life to be nonsensical. Fortunately, some philosophers began to work on the question in the last four decades. The majority of them have focused on the meaning of life as the qualities that make a person’s life interesting and worth living.

According to the philosophers, the common arguments about the elements of meaning of life according to the philosophers are the vision of life, love, having objective moral goods, creativity, and creating a world full of happiness and love. Some people also believe that a superior being gives the meaning of life outside humanity like God, a universal principle, or metaphysical order. Hence, they therefore, believe the purpose in life that God defines brings a meaning of life to them. Also, according to pessimists, life has no meaning, but individuals bring meaning to it (Vaughn, 2013). That is, they bring meaning to life by deciding what they want to be. Further, Philosopher Arthur explains that suffering greatly impacts people’s lives and their journey on determining the meaning of life as it pushes them to decide what they want to do. Thus, the inner meaning of life explains that human beings give themselves the meaning of life. Hence, the internal meaning of life is what most individuals refer to as the meaning of life.

Do you agree with Edwards that the length of one’s life does not by itself determine whether life is meaningful?

Most individuals who stand for the external meaning of life, approach life from a religious point of view. Ideally, they believe that the life of a human being has meaning attached to it because it is part of God’s plan. It is important to note that God’s plans include everything in the world according to the externalist approach. Besides, according to this plan, people have a role in acting and purposing life according to their God’s plan (Vaughn, 2013). Hence for the individuals to have a meaningful experience, they must align their purpose with God’s plan. They are tied to being a specific kind of a person different from the others.

Edwards, one of the great philosophers who handled the topic of the meaning of life, claimed that life is meaningful despite its length. That is, it does not matter how short or long it is. Considering the subjectivists, the meaning of life depends on an individual’s goals and desires (Vaughn, 2013). Thus, the subjectivist has a meaningful life if they achieve their goals and satisfy their desires. Thus, he suggests that the meaning of life may only be perceived in the present since one could live a short blissful life having met their goals and satisfied their desires, or live a longer life and meet their purpose in life.

Edward criticizes the idea that an individual may discover their purpose in life at a certain stage in the future, bringing meaning to their life, which is driven by the fact that the individuals are mostly worried about the near future and present life. Hence an individual sees life as meaningful in their present, without considering the years that the individuals could stay on earth (Vaughn, 2013). Hence, I agree with Edwards’s idea about the relationship between the length of one individual and the meaning of life. After all, living for the present times makes us much happier than hoping to be happy in the future times.

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