The conceptual framework for a man's search for meaning

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The Power of Meaning

October 15th, 2016 by dimpledbrain

Emily Esfahani Smith.

I was wildly stirred the other day when I read that someone has written a book titled The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters. 

It appears exciting, although short lived.

She concluded that to find meaning in life, 4 things are required:

(1) Belong to a group

  • Why sometimes suffering creates more meaning to life
  • The difference between happiness vs meaning, in short the difference between takers and givers in life. Takers create happiness (temporary) while givers create meaning in life.

(2) Give your work a purpose

  • the old story of ‘helping put a man on the moon’ vs ‘merely emptying thrash’ for a janitor in NASA.

(3) Craft (your) life story

  • a narrative of our life story will put more meaning to our life

(4) Transcend life

  • That the sum is larger than its parts
  • Focus on the big life vs just on a few things in life (romantic relationship, job etc). Which means feel awed. That the world doesn’t revolve around us but the other way round.

These are good advice I must say. Separately, I’ve made a mental note to explore the topic of suicide (as mentioned by the author) as it could potentially shed some light into the question of meaning of life.

I hope the question was that easy. For a start, the book never attempted to answer the question, what is the meaning of life?

On the other extreme, some people took the view of simplicity – that it is unnecessary to think of such question. There is merit in this approach save for one thing- “to live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books”.

The Teacher also concluded, “much study is wearisome to the flesh.” However, the key word is ‘much study’, not ‘no study’. I have chosen the path of answering the question and hope one day that God will be so merciful to me that I will finally grasp the meaning of the question. The questions posted by the Teacher around 1000 BC were still unanswered today. Strange if you think about it.


(1) The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith. Click here for a summary of the book.

(2) The Teacher refers to the author of the book Ecclesiastes.

(3) My previous post on Ecclesiastes. Click here for the link.


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