Over the years, man has been greatly concerned with his life and its meaning, and on the two genetic lines especially, that of the hero and that of the saint. In that case, man has been keen to address all issues which might be influencing this issue by addressing all elements which have direct relationship to life, such as health issues, security and human interactions. Therefore, the aspects of human life and interactions are quite diverse, and can look at the age dominion period for human development and existence on Earth, and relate to concepts of human developments. These might include the social, spiritual, and even biological. In that case, the continual existence of an individual shall be a response of actions and human contexts, which might comprise the biological constitution of the person, his surroundings or physical environment, the social attributes, historical dimensions, and also the cultural trends and contexts (Warren, 2011). People have different views about life. Presently, how one lives his life and his principles have become increasingly significant. Many people believe that human life should not be filled with suffering and heartaches. Instead, it should be a gift which we should never forget. The nature of life has led to very many questions such as: ‘Why should man live and die in the very end?’ and ‘How can happiness be realized from life?’Therefore, this term paper addresses the issues that revolve around the meaning of human life and elements of what it means to live a meaningful life. This notion is based on the ideal that a secular saint has arisen as a person, who lives the question of meaning in human existence fully open to its mystery and fully committed to searching for meaning along the paths of both, hero and saint. The secular saint does not live human questions in terms of their truth or falsehood, but in terms of the way his or her participation in the dialogue shapes that one human identity, which he or she alone is responsible for. The paper also bases the meaning of human life in reference to the philosophies of Socrates, Sartre, and Rousseau.
It’s very clear that how people live their life has become vital in defining what life really means. Many people in the society believe that human life should not be filled with suffering and heartaches. Instead, it should be a gift which we should never forget (Guignon, ed, 1993). Humanists have always affirmed that all human beings have the ability and freedom in making sure that they give meaning, purpose and value to their own lives, and this can only be earned through having an own independent form of thought and opinions, and, thus, for an individual to live a meaningful life, one should be free and able to give distinctive ideas on some form and have some kind of self-principled, and ongoing action which one undertakes in the course of his own life (Baumeister & Vohs, 2002). Technically, what life means holds place in the life of all men, since it is a comprehensive form of life stance which has the ability of upholding all human ethics, reasons, justice, and other dispositions such as rejection of human supernaturalism, and superstitions. In that case, the true meaning of life is usually aimed at ensuring that all forms of issues and developments which have the ability of compromising human life and increasing problems have been dealt with competently (Jonathan, 2009).
In my own perspective, I strongly believe that life is a gift from God, where I believe the objective of life is to realize a happy and tranquil life. The strengths of having a meaningful life have widely been debated by people from different religious, social, and philosophical backgrounds. However, the biggest strength of having a meaningful life is characterized by peace, ataraxia, freedom from any kind of aponia and fear (Cahn, 2007). Another vital element of meaningful life relates to the aspect of leading a life that is moral, thoughtful and mindful of one’s actions, and development of endless understanding and wisdom. Meaningful life has special attributes in response to morality and ethic, where there is emphasis on the idea of fairness, and other humanitarian values such as honesty, charity, and piety .This concept agitates for those actions which result in pleasure while producing very little suffering. Meaningful life depends also on freedom, which tends to define justice, liberty and democracy. Every person is proud to live a ‘free’ and ‘contented’ life whereby no rights are denied to him. Therefore, freedom is to live a contented life, whereby the social institutions play a major role in protecting every citizen (Charvet, 2001).The concept behind freedom in life is that every member of the society should be free to achieve his own happiness, work hard to realize his goals, and, eventually, benefit from his toil and hard work. Freedom also occurs when people are free to speak up their minds, create their own wealth, establish their own businesses, bring up their children freely, and also have freedom of speech. When any of the above expectations is denied to the people, the concept of meaningful life looses meaning completely and people are not free anymore. To my way of thinking, equality is another element of meaningful life which tries to make all men equal, as they were created by God. Equality, therefore, serves as a bridge between men and their creator. All men should be seen as equal beings before God, and also every person should be an ‘end’ in himself. This means every person is entitled or expected to serve his major pursuits or objectives in life (Warren, 2011).
Having been a great philosopher, Socrates believed that everyone should question and examine everything in life. According to him, this ‘examination’ is what gave people wisdom and freedom. Socrates once said the unexamined life is not worth living. Looking at his life, it is notable that Socrates lived the way one was expected to live. He also did whatever he was required to do. Although he knew he would be guilty, and would be punished, Socrates never worried about such things. All his life, the philosopher believed that the main idea behind life was to examine and question continuously (Malook, 2007). For that reason, Socrates questioned everything that happened in the society: both, the wrongs and the rights. It would be better for him to stop living if he was unable to question or examine what was taking place. From the way he led his life, every person can learn a lot and follow a similar path towards the best life. This would make people free, understanding, and, eventually, take full control of their lives. From his examination, Socrates believed that people would be able to concentrate on the important issues affecting their own lives. This would make them better people who lead a contented life. According to Socrates, the ‘unexamined’ life was not a life ‘worth living.’ Through the examination, Socrates believed that others would be critical and reflective of their lives. This would ensure they did lead ‘unfulfilled’ lives, whereby their thoughts would become a prey of conflict and prejudice. He wanted people to be aware of their ignorance, address the problems faced by the society, and deal with all the issues faced .Through his examination, Socrates wanted people to look at life from a philosophical point of view. By so doing, they would understand what was right and make life worth living. This examination is relevant, because men who believed strongly that life should be based on only the right, then life would be free and without any evildoings (Walker, 2006).
Sartre, on the other hand, believes that existentialism has the connection with humanism, where existentialism is seen as a doctrine making human life on earth possible. The doctrine affirms that every action and truth infers both, a humanistic and environmental subjectivity. Sartre affirms that man is free to choose the kind of life he wants to live. Therefore, such a man chooses his ‘own self’ and does what he feels is appropriate for him. Every man will, thus, be obliged to make his own choices, but make sure he considers all other men. This is why everyone is free to choose to be a strong believer in God or an atheist (Sartre, 1956). According to Sartre, no person will choose something that is evil. Therefore, choosing to be like this, or doing this and not that is something important. This is the same as choosing to be a Christian existentialist or an atheist. Depending on how we look at existentialists, some will strongly believe in God, while the atheists will never believe in His existence. Therefore, it is possible for a religious adherent to be an existentialist, just the same way an atheist is an existentialist. According to Sartre, existentialism is like humanism. However, many people believe that existentialism is a philosophical concept rendering pain to human life. This is a doctrine explaining that every action will offer subjectivity to human existence. Sartre argues that existentialism is a doctrine used to explain the meaning of things on earth. Unless such things are understood, we will all remain confused about our own existence.
The choices which are made by man have the ability of looking for power in elements of virtue, as well as with the desire and being free creatures. Looking at it, animals might never be able to deviate from rules which have been set on them by Mother Nature, and even so when they appear not going to benefit them. Human beings, on the contrary, have been given and endowed with many abilities towards the making of own decisions, as presented by Rousseau, where sometimes man goes ahead to make perfectly detrimental opinions even upon himself (Cahn, 2007). Due to this fact, Rousseau did came out with a strong belief and concern that in humanity, there is the form of consciousness which has been able to override within this form of freedom, and which governs when making own choices. These choices which man makes can tend to be guided by what is known as spiritual forces and also by the individual’s own soul. Having given such a revelation, Rousseau did reveal that all human beings have been endowed and gifted with the abilities towards improving their own qualities, and also have the power of passing the same to next generations. In reference to the meaning of human life, Rousseau, hence, did believe that all human beings have the power towards developing not even a single form of idea which can be ahead of his very time (Feldman & Snyder, 2005). As well, men could not be able to develop ideas which are behind their time of development, and, thus, it is the fact that they do come up with opinions and suggestions which match their own time. In his own views and analysis, he argued that man lacked the vices and virtue whenever in own natural space and state, but had moral relationships towards creation and formation of natural pity. This issue of social ideology did provide virtue and pity on humanity (Frankl, 1985). It is this form of pity which has been oppressing man today. This form of pity has the power in becoming much stronger between an individual who is the sufferer and the observer of the suffering, and develops more intimately as days go by. In addition, what has been seen as human progression and human civilization is another development and reason which has been very disastrous on human freedom, as well as on philosopher’s own happiness. He, hence, did bring into the attention that this sort continued vanity, which arose from human civilization or development of human reason, and had been a major cause of inequality in human lives. Men wanted higher ideals and overcame the other through power, governance and superiority complex. Rousseau, thus, did propose a solution in his Social Contract, through which all can be totally rational towards an outstanding establishment of a new form and manner of human existence. Through his elaborative description of the Social Contract, I will attest to it that he has been successful in following its promises as the ultimate solution for human suffering that has come in his ideological application and overall human civilization (Baumeister & Vohs, 2002).
Basically, all the philosophies mentioned above have unrated meaning about human life. However, different people will align themselves differently with these philosophies of life. The most interesting thing is that the philosophies view life as a gift, and man should always be searching for happiness in it. Whenever formulating a personal philosophy of life, all considerations about these philosophies would be necessary in order to attain happiness from it and make other people bless life. Because philosophy is a complex field giving freedom of thought, people have different views and opinions about life and the reason many life philosophies are adopted today. In conclusion, whatever one realizes to be his purpose of life on earth, a suitable philosophy is available in helping him to realize happiness in the very end.