The Power of Meaning

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.

p/s:

(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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