The Meaning of Life

“The purpose of life, as far as I can tell… is to find a mode of Being that’s so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.” — Jordan Peterson

Life is tricky for multiple reasons, and one huge one is that we often struggle to find any sole purpose for it. Although that’s a tricky question with a tricky answer, we can consider what makes life enjoyable.

If you’ve read Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, you understand that he thinks of Being as a noun rather than a verb. He describes it as a part of our psyche that’s originally pure, but dirtied with our own downfalls and sins. Interestingly enough he talks about sins as if they’re a relative term — in his writing the word sins is synonymous with flaws. Being in turn is something that we try to work towards throughout our life, and he discusses multiple different “rules” that make it easier to do so.

The rules he describes almost sound like something an old man in a cottage would tell you. “Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie.” “Pet a cat when you come across one on the street.” “Don’t interrupt children who are skateboarding.” All of these things appear to be irrelevant and borderline crazy phrases… which is probably why he dedicates an entire book to explaining 12 of his most important rules. 

In short, Peterson describes our version of living — our Being — as something that should be independent and self sufficient whilst maintaining healthy relationships with others. Healthy relationships are part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; without those we’re simply shells of our true selves because our life lacks any genuine meaning. Part of becoming independent means that you need to be carefree with some things, yet still grounded enough to stop and smell the roses… or for the sake of relevance, pet a cat when you come across one on the street. 

Life is short. Too short to worry about why we’re here, but just long enough to crave happiness. Take the time to find a mode of Being that makes you forget about the painful parts of life, and strengthens you for when those painful times come.

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Like what you read? Be sure to share this post with your friends and family, comment, and follow this page. It helps me out a lot, and you can always change your mind later. Also, feel free to ask questions! Conversations work better than lectures. Stay tuned for future posts, and try to be the reason someone smiles today 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Meaning of Life

  1. What does Peterson mean, “the fact that life is suffering”?

    This is an interesting perspective. Enjoyable vs. purpose. He says, sole purpose. Is there truly a sole purpose? If we find multiple purposes, does that lessen their value?

    Like

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