Why is life meaningless

Life has no meaning!

Why there is no meaning in life - and why we are better off without it anyway

Even in the digital age, there are still questions that you can't google to get the right answer. The question about the "meaning of life" is one of them: why all this? Why do we live And what the heck are we doing here? Only a fool waits for an answer! And yet: It is one of the most important questions in life because of it the Question about our life is. We are the Lost Generation 2.0, children of nihilism and the permanent crisis. The first Lost Generation, the Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises describes, had lost everything after the First World War and the subsequent economic crisis that gave it a hold, yes, gave it a meaning. Just like Lost Generation 1.0, we feel lost - and we are: We feel alienated from a world that has no meaning ... a world whose God is dead ... a world in which the masses are starving and freezing ... a world in which not honey, as in paradise, but blood flows. [...]

There is no baking recipe for the question of the meaning of life. Had there been a definitive answer, after centuries of searching it would have got around. So: What is the meaning, what is the meaning of life? Probably none at all: If it is the If there were meaning in life, it would have to be a final and definitive, inevitable and unquestionable Be meaning. The meaning of life should be perfectly clear to us and be crystal clear. He would have to give us a "Bamm, that's it!" start an engine; it would have to be the unshakable foundation of everything. So the meaning should just be there, just valid, just true.

If one of them says: "X is the meaning of life!", Then a second one rushes over and asks quite rightly: "And what, please, is the meaning of X?" So we are dealing with a "matryoshka problem": there is another doll in each of the Russian wooden dolls. As soon as we explain something to the meaning of life (v), the question arises as to the meaning of this something. In short: we can help each Thing after the "what for?" ask about the direction and above all about the goal and thus the meaning of its existence. And because we will never get an answer, life has no ultimate meaning. The very fact that we can ask about the meaning of life indicates that the world cannot have ultimate meaning. That doesn't mean that all of our lives are hopeless and that we should throw ourselves off the cliff - but more on that later. [...]

Life has no meaning. If God or the "plan of salvation" were to be the meaning, we would be downright in the question of meaning incapacitated. We would be a mere tool to one other Sense. This condition would be pathetic. No matter how beautiful it is, everyone can his part have no sense. There is no sense of purpose. We can hardly escape the bare senselessness of life on a purely logical level. There can be no objective and generally binding sense. Every, but also every postulated sense is untenable, since it in turn must be senseless. The existence of all things - be it an atom, a plant, a person, the Milky Way or the entire universe - can never have meaning. Because we can always ask: What is this and that thing ultimately there for? For God? [...]

The text was taken from the book by Patrick Spät: Life - and the meaning of the whole, which has just been published by Schmetterling Verlag (120 pages, € 9.80).

Even God, who has served as a stopgap for the void of meaning for generations, cannot provide us with any answers.

When it comes to the question of the meaning of life, it does not matter at all whether God exists or not! God may be concrete like an apple tree or a mere illusion - neither possibility has any meaning whatsoever for the meaning of life.

With this thesis I would like to propose a new train of thought on the subject of God and the meaning of life. There are many ways to think of God: for example, as a white-bearded, masculine, all-powerful and all-knowing ruler. Or as a pure, absolute, incomprehensible, infinite and soulful spirit. Or as fate unknown to us. Or as an uninvolved observer of the world. Mostly God is referred to as the creator of the world; perhaps he has a plan or a task for man on earth to accomplish. Perhaps the meaning of life lies in this very task. Perhaps it also lies in the union with God beyond earthly life - be it through mystical contemplation, be it through the ascent of the immortal soul into the kingdom of heaven. Regardless of whether these things actually exist or whether they are fantasies and opium of humans: I claim that none of these things can tell us anything about the meaning of life:

Even if there were a god (or many gods), he (or she, or it) might not be the ultimate meaning of life: if God is the meaning of life, what is the meaning of God? Why is there god? What is he there for? And who or what made this Creator? God can have no meaning, because we can question the meaning of God at any time. God can never be the sought-after answer to the meaning of life - and for this thesis it doesn't matter whether he exists or not. The most radical (and coherent) position in the hacking over the question of God is simply: God doesn't care. Whether God is really there or not is completely irrelevant. [...]

Are we not wandering as if through an infinite nothingness? Doesn't the empty space breathe us? [...] Do we still hear nothing of the noise of the grave graves that God bury? Can we still smell nothing of the divine decay? - also gods rotten! God is dead! God remains dead! And we killed him!

Freidrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche, from whom these words come, has no primitive atheism; Nietzsche grasped the situation of modern man: he has no orientation, he has no fixed direction and therefore no meaning that he can or even has to blindly follow. Nothing is true: all truths - and thus also God - crumble in our hands, since nothing, absolutely nothing, has a foundation. We can question and question everything. Nothing lasts. God wasn't just always dead.

Antiquity and the Middle Ages, in spite of all doubts and crises of meaning, always had "their" truths to which they could hold. Only through the Copernican turn, the triumphant advance of the natural sciences and the related questions we God killed. (Or the idea of ​​God after we invented God.) By dragging God onto the scaffold of the history of ideas, we have also devalued our values. Because we can no longer believe in God-given values ​​- God has become implausible. God is dead. And God remains dead. We are lost in the universe. Without ultimate truths. Senseless. The world is without reason, it is an abyss. [...]

The absurd is not just a mental game, it is an attitude towards life

However, today's Lost Generation 2.0 is deeply shaped by the nihilism of the past century. According to nihilism, nothing is true, everything is in question, both God and our lives as well as our values ​​and norms. Since Nietzsche at the latest, nihilism has hung like a sword of Damocles over the heads of the philosophers. And not just above their heads: the subject of futility has long since settled in our heads. Seldom has a philosophical idea had such a great influence on our attitude towards life. Would music bands be like The Doors, Nirvana or Radiohead possible without Nietzsche? If there were no Nietzsche films like The seventh seal or books like Fight Club? I do not think so.

The time of great narratives is over. The feeling of senseless waiting for answers that Samuel Beckett has in his play Waiting for Godot (1953) so vividly will never leave us. That is exactly the feeling of alienation: we have alienated ourselves from the world, we no longer feel at home in the world, but rather alien. The cozy house of God has collapsed - and we are lost god forsaken through the streets of a world that has become alien to us. This is what Nietzsche means with the words: "God stays dead!" [...]

Sometimes the backdrops collapse. Getting up, tram, four hours of office or factory, eating, tram, four hours of work, eating, sleeping, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, always the same rhythm - that is usually a comfortable way. But one day the 'why' arises, and with this weariness, mixed with astonishment, everything begins. 'Starts' - that is important. Weariness stands at the end of the actions of a mechanical life, but at the same time it also initiates an excitement of consciousness. He awakens the consciousness and challenges the next step.

Albert Camus

We are busy in our life: with ourselves, with our family, with our money, with our job. But sometimes the backdrops collapse. This can be the result of a serious existential crisis, such as an illness or the death of a loved one. But it can also be the result of boredom or melancholy. Or the conscious questioning of your own life. We ask for the "what for?" and get no answer. We look into a yawning abyss - and then the absurd can haunt us: "The feeling of absurdity can jump on anyone on any street corner. It is in its bleak nakedness, in its lackluster light, beyond comprehension", says Albert Camus, the master of the absurd.

What's the absurd? The term means something like "nonsensical" and "senseless", in the root of the word "ab-sonus" there are meanings such as "jarring" and "deaf, not understanding". The world and our life are absurd, they make no sense. The only thing we understand about life is its incomprehensibility! And that's why our lives can feel empty like chives.

The absurd is not just a mental game, it is an attitude towards life. Once you feel that way, you never get rid of it - which isn't necessarily the worst fate. On the contrary: Perhaps we can enjoy life all the more, the more clearly we feel the feeling of absurdity every now and then. Perhaps senselessness - and only it - creates a form of freedom and independence. The absurd is not only embedded in theoretical thoughts, but also in the heart, in short: it is an attitude towards life. It can be a sting that gets stuck in our minds and bores and stings: We shimmy through training or studies, accept numerous hardships, run 9-to-5 to work, kick ourselves off, bring children into the world, worry about worry. What is all this for? The moment can come when we question everything, including ourselves. The moment can come when life bores us to death and simply pisses us off.

The question of "why?" puts all others in the shade. The absurd can suddenly tear us from our slumber. It comes from the clash of our seriousness with which we do everyday things and worry and our ability to see our life from a bird's eye view, to distance ourselves from ourselves, to look at ourselves critically, to make fun of ourselves and of ourselves to doubt and finally to question everything. In the morning we stand in front of the mirror and ask ourselves why we are here and whether we are living the life we ​​really want to live. That sounds more tragic than it is. There is great potential in the question: If everything is anyway - really everything! - then I can change my life here and there. Change little things, or even break out of the hamster wheel. [...]

Liberation through senselessness

We have to fully acknowledge the absurd and draw our freedom from it. If there is no meaning, then we are not bound to any meaning, any truth, or any plan of God. We are free! In this sense, I claim: Fortunately, life has no meaning! We would immediately question him and rebel against him! Better a world without meaning than a world with a meaning that we cannot accept. The lack of a definitively pinned meaning of life leads to freedom of man. We don't have to serve a higher purpose or purpose; we can create our own purpose. Senselessness is freedom. This is exactly what Emil M. Cioran claims:

If life had even a single argument for itself, a single irrefutable clear evidence - it would dissolve into nothing. [...] You set a certain goal for life: in an instant it will lose its incentive. Only the lack of exactness of its determination makes it superior to death; a grain of precision and it would be as trivial as the graves. Because a positive science of the meaning of life would make the world deserted in a single day, and no madman would be able to revive the fruitful absurdity of desire.

Emil M. Cioran

Our world may be completely meaningless. But a world in which meaning is set in stone would be the height of meaninglessness. It is liberating to at least mentally imagine the opposite, i.e. a clearly defined world. We would be unhappy slaves of this unambiguous world. Puppets of some ridiculous world plan. Life in such a world would lose its appeal in an instant. The meaning of life remains an insurmountable border, a locked door, or more aptly: a door behind which pure nothing lurks. But where there is nothing, nothing can force us; and this is where our freedom begins. [...]

The meaning of life has no solution in theory. The question of the meaning of life is resolved in practice. Anyone who writes a text, harvests a potato, makes another person happy or is active in the political struggle for freedom is already moving in the flow of life. The person who acts has already left the question of meaning behind - at least for the moment of the act. So behind the truism that the meaning of life is life itself is the real essence that we will not find the meaning of life outside of ourselves. Only we ask this question and only we can provide the answer. There is only an internal sense, not an external one. And the inner meaning is nowhere written, it arises every day, every moment when we are active. The film of life runs beyond our constantly analyzing head cinema. [...]

Life is more than the meaning of life

And that life has no meaning does not mean that life is not worth living. On the contrary: a meaningful life would be impossible if there were meaning set in stone. Of course, good theory is best practice. But the gray theory can at most be the stirrup for the colorful practice of life. Because life itself is not a theory. Life transcends logic and philosophy. Life is literally incredible. We can only know life by living. [...]

But when God is dead, the ultimate foundation of our values ​​crumbles. Then a new phenomenon gains access to the world: "Nihilism is at the door: where does this scariest of all guests come from?" To his question Nietzsche immediately delivers the answer: "What does nihilism mean? - That the highest values ​​devalue. The goal is missing; the answer to the why is missing?" Goal that has destroyed every why of life.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky is awarded the sentence: "If there is no God, then everything is allowed." Nietzsche, who valued Dostoyevsky's work very much, easily converts this thesis into: "Nothing is true, everything is permitted." This is precisely the danger of nihilism: if there is no God who embodies eternal truth, then there is no real morality either. Nothing and no one in the world could stop me from committing a crime or subsequently hold me accountable. If God is dead, if there is no final and universal truth, then there is no absolute standard by which one can judge my actions. We killed God so that all values ​​have become devalued.

How can we escape nihilism when everyone has their own mind? If there is no external sense, can we pursue any internal sense? Can it make sense for us to harm or even kill others? Is everything allowed when God and with it every sense and every truth have disappeared from the picture? (Patrick late)

Read comments (306 posts) https://heise.de/-3399616Reporting errorsPrinting Telepolis is a participant in the amazon.de affiliate program advertisement