Unravelling the Ambiguity of Meaning

In order to unravel the ambiguity associated with the question "What is the meaning of life?", I believe that we must distinguish between two separate questions, one broadly of psychology and other broadly of philosophy:

Question 1: What is a meaningful life? How can a person live a life that is meaningful to him? [positive psychology, virtue ethics]

Question 2: What is the nature of life and reality? If there is a God, why did he create us, what does he expect from us and what does he hope to accomplish? [metaphysics, theology, mysticism]


Alec Lindsay said…
Isn't your Question 1 an entirely different one from 'what is the meaning of life'? Then your subsidiary question forces your unconnected Question 1 into an even narrower compass.
Question 2 might be the same as 'what is the meaning of life?' I'll have to think about it a bit longer and get back to you. Disappointingly, yet again you produce God, like the proverbial magician producing a rabbit from his hat - but I'm getting used to this foible :)
Awais Aftab said…
@ Alec

It is a different question, but discussions on meaning of life often end up mixing the two, so I feel it is better to state it for the sake of clarity.

Q2. I said "If there is a God..." The Atheist can conveniently answer this as a No. For those of contrary persuasions, the question remains to be tackled :)
Bhaloo said…
I think the questions are still related in a way.
The answer to question 1 will pretty much depend on one's position on question 2.
Raul said…
Isn't your question 1 Aristotle's 'What is the good life?'?
Of course many still disagree on this. My question to you is whether we should all find individual meaning to life, which could mean others being diametrically opposed to how we decide to life, or should there be a convergent approach to make life as meaningful as possible to the majority, but at the expense of the minority who do not agree?

Question 2, if you do not believe in creation is redundant and may be counter-productive. It can be just as subjective as question one and again, where do we draw the line?

Your questions can be considered valid ones to ask in the search for a more productive and pro-active way of living, be that your aim, but since others fundamentally disagree on the why we're here, question two vis-a-vis question one may be more of a nuisance.