Value, meaning, importance, or significance are not things which can be imposed upon us; they can only come from us based upon what we care about. They are not discovered, but rather created through our interaction with the world around us. Thus the very act of caring about something creates meaning, value, and in the end morality.
This excerpt was taken from here.
This is a statement of philosophy, not a statement of fact. We can, indeed, place our own meaning on things. This is true. However, whether the meaning and purpose that we place on objects and ourselves is accurate or not we are not sure of. The validity of subjective meaning would be plausible if not for one thing. This world is not our property. We do not own it. We did not make it. We cannot attest to its origin or its future. We were not here when it came into existence. Sure, we can create, as it were, “out of nothing” our own meaning, but when we do we take the place of authority over it. In this act, we become impostors. Consider the following:
A man builds a robot, then he leaves never to return. Another man finds it and decides that it would make a nice doll for his daughter. He rejects any notion that the robot, now a doll, had any purpose or meaning other than what he gives it. He makes himself the final authority on the issue, and since he does not see any “maker” of the doll around to refute the claim, he rests his case.
Does he not take the place of the maker in this analogy? Does he not then become an impostor, a fake? Bringing this back to reality, we did not even make ourselves! Can we attest to our meaning without taking the place of something if not someone?
What is the Meaning of Life?
For the Christian, meaning is found when we give up the right to ourselves. Our meaning is insignificant compared to the worth of God. He is the only self-sustaining one. Meaning to us is found when we stop trying to find ourselves and seek after the person of God. His meaning is the greatest there is, and we can glory in him. I must decrease so that God may increase. Yet, when we try to put this meaning into words, words escape us, and all we can do is praise the God who is everything to us.
As humans, by naming something, we ascribe meaning to it. For those who are in his family, God has chosen a new name for each of us. (Rev 2:17, Rev. 3:12) We won’t know that name until we get to heaven. Although we try to look for our own meaning, it is actually ascribed by God and rooted in our new name. And though others may tell you what you mean to them, if God is increasing in your life, it is really God that they are finding any worth in. And what’s better, our new name is linked to God’s name, just like when you know a person better by knowing their first and last name. You then realize what family they belong to. Perhaps we will know our true meaning after God calls us by the family name.
My Uncle Mark recently died. Although, he was a drug addict for thirty years, he found victory over addiction the last years of his life. How do you measure a life lived? Most of his life would seem a waste to us as he lived in bondage as a slave to his own addictions. Yet, for those who have chosen to make God their God, he has made them a new person, and regardless of what Mark did, God made him a new person. He was still subject to the lusts and sins everyone else was subject to, but he had this treasure (his new person) in his flawed body so that the power of a changed life might be shown to be of God and not of him. The best we can do in this life puts us on our knees begging for forgiveness because we are not good enough. As the Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
I think it’s appropriate now to let Mark explain to you himself what happened to him:
Meaning, as a concept, seems to be woven into the fabric of our lives. Just look at the latest magazines on the shelves. Everyone is searching for meaning. You’d think that if we all evolved that there would be some folks without a purpose. By mere chance, there has to be someone out there whose life doesn’t mean a thing. Not everyone needs to live a meaningful life in order to contribute to humanity. That is, if you believe that we are here on the earth by chance. The fact remains that everyone, down to the last pathetic human being, searches for and believes that there is meaning in their lives. And meaning is linked to purpose. Find what action you are supposed to fulfill and your life will be fulfilled.
But is there inherent meaning in our lives, or is this all just a lie we make so we can continue living? Nietzsche says that even rocks have a purpose. A rock can stop you from occupying the same space as itself. It exerts a force upon you, however passive, and stops you from going so far. As humans, we also give things around us names. By naming something, we give it a supposed meaning. We aren’t content to find meaning in our lives, but we look for meaning everywhere else.
Now you may say that we superimpose meanings on our lives and everything around us, but there is no real meaning. Usually, those who say this say that we can find meaning in the actions we do throughout the day, but there is no “one” meaning or “one” purpose for our lives. While no real meaning is involved, we imagine meaning. However, if there is no real meaning, I might as well stop writing at this very moment and quit life in general.
Either there is inherent meaning in everything or there is not. If there is inherent meaning, then the universe has a purpose. If it has a purpose, there is a cause. If there is a cause, there is a causer. And this causer is responsible for everything. If there is no meaning, then we all live in delusion. We suppose meaning that isn’t there. We must all question our sanity. Why would we not live in reality (whatever that is)? Have we adapted throughout evolution just to stay alive? But why stay alive? Is it so important that we breathe and move? What is life anyway if we are all just tissue, bones, blood, and organs moving about? Give me one good reason to go on living if we all just live in delusion. Life for the sake of life has no meaning. The world will never accept such a thesis.
The search for meaning in our lives is a search for God–clear and simple. Even the atheist goes on living. Now, why would he do that?