The Meaning of Life:

The meaning of life in the absence of God, a god, gods, or other supernatural myths and fantasies. Everyone talks about it, but finally someone is doing something about it!

I have excluded sources that give the easy, trivial, shallow, trite, hackneyed, timeworn, shopworn, well-worn, worn out, clichéd, stale, tiresome, humdrum, commonplace, banal, pointless, meaningless, thoughtless, nonsensical, corny, absurd, irrational, illogical, foolish, childish, preposterous, silly, ridiculous, brainless, idiotic, ludicrous, surreal, autonomic, and truly-horrifying-when-you-really-think-about-it-stock-answer of loving/adoring/serving/obeying/praising/glorifying/worshipping The One True God. (Which TOTG is yours? OMG!)

Divine subjugation is a perversion of life, not a philosophy of life. Eternal servitude to God is not a meaning of life, it's a demeaning life sentence. Obedience to an imaginary supernatural being saps any real meaning out of life by replacing reality with fantasy. Those who believe without evidence, shun reason for the comfort of blind faith, and are just marking time until the glorious hereafter are missing the point of being human - they are wasting their one chance at really living and making a positive difference in the here and now.

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Titles that muse on the meaning of life.

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Nonfiction (Canada) A selection of nonfiction books from
Fiction (Canada) A selection of fiction books from
Nonfiction (USA) A selection of nonfiction books from
Fiction (USA) A selection of fiction books from


Movies that tackle the meaning of life.

Link Description
Nonfiction (Canada) A selection of nonfiction DVDs from
Fiction (Canada) A selection of fiction DVDs from
Nonfiction (USA) A selection of nonfiction DVDs from
Fiction (USA) A selection of fiction DVDs from


Links to the meaning of life.

Link Description
Wikipedia: Meaning of Life Excellent overview. I especially like the Popular Views section.
Wikipedia: Maslow's hierarchy of needs This neatly sums up a lot about life — perhaps a little too neatly... See this annotated version of the source article.
Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The Meaning of Life The meaning of "meaning", supernaturalism, naturalism, nihilism, and a bibliography.
The Meaning of Life A poetic approach from "William Blank".
Meanings of Life Quotes and short essays from Eduardo Reisinho, Portugal. Tag line: "Using philosophy in everyday life!"
The Meaning of Life Six-part blog entry from Steve Pavlina.
Meaning of Life TV Collection of video interviews about religion, science, etc. Includes Karen Armstrong, Daniel Dennett, Freeman Dyson, Steven Pinker, Ketih Ward and others. Oddly, "The Meaning of Life" is not one of the subject categories.
On the Meaning of Life H.L. Mencken letter, from the Letters of Note blog.
FAQ About the Meaning of Life From Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, an artificial intelligence guru.
The Meaning of Life (or, What's it all about?) By "diogenes", but not THE Diogenes, or, uh, any one of the famous philosphers named Diogenes, I think...
The Meaning of Life From Great Issues in Philosophy, James Fieser, Department of Philosophy, University of Tennessee at Martin.


People trying to address the meaning of life.

Source Quote
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.
Albert Camus (1913-1960), Youthful Writings, "Intuitions", 1976, dialogue of "the fool" You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. In the same way the most fertile emotions will be lost to you if you insist on analyzing them.
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), Verliebt in die verrückte Welt: Betrachtungen, Gedichte, Erzählungen, Briefe I believe that I am not responsible for the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of life, but that I am responsible for what I do with the life I've got.
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), Gertrude, 1910, translated by Hilda Rosner Man's life seems to me like a long, weary night that would be intolerable if there were not occasionally flashes of light, the sudden brightness of which is so comforting and wonderful, that the moments of their appearance cancel out and justify the years of darkness.
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011), Hitch-22: A Memoir, 2010 A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called "meaningless" except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one's everyday life as if this were so.
Anaïs Nin (1903-1977), The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume Two, 1934-1939, "June, 1935", 1967 What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up by saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning. There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person. To seek a total unity is wrong. To give as much meaning to one's life as possible is right to me... In the face of each human being, I act democratically and humanly. I give each human being his due. I disregard class and possessions. I pay my respects to their spirit, their human qualities or their talents. I fulfill their needs as much as I am able to. If all of us acted in unison as I act individually there would be no wars and no poverty. I have made myself personally responsible for the fate of every human being who has come my way.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), Familiar Studies of Men and Books, 1882 To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.


Other related stuff.

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