I know it's a pretty personal question, especially for someone who just joined, but it's a good question, right? So, do you need a meaning to live a good life? Do you give your own life meaning? If yes, what is it that meaning? edit: What's your own sense of personal purpose, if any? What does success mean to you?
Still curious, hope more people answer =)

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Bruno, You could probably edit your question to also include purpose. (What is your personal purpose and meaning of life?)

While it is one of the 1st great illusions, that life must have some absolutely universal meaning or purpose, purpose is the thing that often gives rise to, and ultimately supplies meaning to our lives. As such, a vast majority of people can find adequate purpose and meaning in work, family, recreation, or in just appreciating the wonders of this life and the world we live in. Regardless, finding one's ultimate purpose in life usually proves to be a uniquely personal journey.

As for me, I made a personal pact with myself early on, that if I could just hang in there long enough to try and figure out what this life was all about, I would consider myself fortunate for having achieved whatever small measure of success I might. I can only say that there is no 'magic formulae', religious, philosophical, of otherwise. But that it is a process of the natural unfolding of the self, accomplished over the course of a lifetime, that has allowed me to finally realize my goal.

Which 'goal' turns out to be self-realization (a thing that I think many others are probably born with). But that's OK, because we're most successful at realizing personal meaning in life, when we decide to pick-up and 'play the hand we have been dealt.'

It's the fact that along the way, one comes to see and understand avarice and greed, bravery and fear. The illusion presented to us, through the schema of sex roles and identity. And the illusion of otherworldly things, as both desperate attempts by man to create a sense of solidarity and control outside of himself, and mercilessly used as the most powerful means of manipulation, when plied by the ignorant or cynically dishonest, to extort money and control over the lives of the uneducated, and philosophically unarmed masses.

I derive a great sense of meaning from this personally worked-out world view, which I ironically hold forth as being not only true, but as being universally discoverable truth as well.

Two quotes I'll leave you with here, that are especially apropos to this journey:

Over every mountain there is a path,
though it may not be seen from the valley.
- Theodore Roethke

and this:

To connect with the great river, we all need a path;
but when you get down there, there is only one river.
- Matthew Fox

And to paraphrase yet another, remember that a journey of a thousand miles . . .
I've been reading some of the other posts. It sounds like most people think of meaning as something they can validate by comparing it to some television paradigm. I read things like 'I like doing good things...' and this and that gives me purpose. I don't need a purpose and I don't need meaning to make my life worth living. I am what I am and that's all that I am. (Popeye... genius) I exist. I am here and want to avoid that which distracts from my positive experience. Sure I do good things and it makes me feel good. But that is part of who I am, It does give my life meaning. I have a good career and I am successful compared to others, but it doesn't somehow add personal value. Ah there it is, I was waiting for my rambling make sense to me. Meaning for most people means creating personal value. To look at their life and compare it to the paradigm and say other people can see my personal value. For me, I am the only person in the entire world I need to impress. When I die, well... just before I die, if I impressed with my life... it had meaning. Oh yea... I think I'm just saying D R Hosie's response in different words.
Like a good existentialist, I think that, other than propagation of the species, life is inherently meaningless. All meaning is of human creation. I love this. It means I can choose to create whatever meaning I wish.

For me, life is exactly what it is supposed to be. It is not supposed to be happy, or peaceful or wonderful. It is all of these and miserable and scary and painful and boring. I am given the opportunity to appreciate the full range of human experiences. For me, meaning is simply appreciation for the full catastrophe ;-)

I go to the carnival to get scared at the haunted house, thrilled by the roller coaster, confused by the house of mirrors, freaked out by the freakes, horny by the burlesque. It would be a drag if the carnival only had one ride.

Life is the same way. We get the opportunity to appreciate or fail to appreciate a full range of experiences. They don't have to be enjoyed to be appreciated.
Wow, I can't believe I missed this before. "life is exactly what it is supposed to be" I've never heard wiser words that I agree with!!! I will be quoting this until I die.
Thanks Philip  ;-)
Well said JD ;-)
Maybe I'm mentally ill because no one ever likes my responses. There is no meaning. That is just a construct of the mind. So as an existentialist I choose what is meaning. I have no purpose except to maximize sadisfaction, comfort for everyone. It's that simple, I was brought up with values and my observation of the world told me to be better than that. The purpose of my life is to live with the least pain, not just for me but everyone.

For me the meaning behind life is my quest for knowledge and happiness.




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