On Meaning

“It might be possible that the world itself is without meaning.”

Virginia Woolf, ‘Mrs Dalloway’

Does everything have meaning? The latter is a question I have long pondered on. I have come to realize that, perhaps due to my personality, I tend to seek meaning in every event that happens, every thought that occurs to me. This insatiable desire to make sense of the world, of the universe, lights me up. Nonetheless, more often than not, this never-ending quest leaves me with unresolved queries. This idée fixe might merely be the result of apophenia, in other words, ‘the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things’. Or could it have been generated by all of life’s torments previously endured? This pursuit could thus be the result of a crucial need to answer all the why’s, find a judicious explanation to any trials and tribulations and grasp wisdom in appalling circumstances. Perhaps it can serve as a way to fight against the lack of justice and fairness of life towards one in particular. Some could even say they use meaning as a shield against the unknown and a strength to never be defeated.  

Yet as, once in a while, some occurrences do not seem to make sense at all, do they still have meaning? Is this search constantly required? Is it solely necessary to navigate through life’s hardships? For one to be able to withstand adversity with strength certainly requires to emerge from it with a lesson. 


Oléron, Nov. 2019, GC

As my contemplations took a striking turn, the possibility to leave all meaning in the dark, for certain things only, seemed like a fruitful answer. From time to time, indeed, the reason behind may be elapsed, as one can choose not to look upon it without further ado —perhaps a difficult task for the overthinker’s mind. For, it may be plausible to believe that everything has, in fact, meaning and not need to decipher it at all times. 


What about life’s grand meaning then? 

“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.”

Joseph Campbell

In the last years, having been through a roller-coaster of emotions, I often found myself reflecting on that one question, attempting to uncover a definition to life. These are thoughts that usually leave us puzzled, in a more meditative state than we were beforehand. I wrote a piece entitled The Meaningful Nonexistent Sense of Life, in which I dwelled upon the idea that ‘life was nothing’ and so were we. What might seem to be a bleak perception is yet the absolute opposite, as I continued:

‘Of course, life does not make sense. How could anyone explain the tremendous and swiftly changing rides of one’s existence? Why are there so many serendipities, tragedies, and mysteries? Why do so many opposites intermingle? Simply: why are there so many unanswered questions? And yet, just because life does not seem to make sense to us, it does not any less deprive it of meaning. This is not a gloomy perspective to take on that matter. On the contrary, it constitutes a hopeful call to life.

There are as many bits of magic scattered around us as individuals that have for some reason which we cannot grasp been brought around us. It is okay not to know. It is okay not to understand. The most important is to keep on seeing the beauty and being thankful for it; it is to learn how to clear our mind when the vision gets darker. And along the way, we’ll find ourselves in a quest to discover our own very unique mission of life.’


“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

Albert Camus

Perhaps there is a meaning behind this piece I have just penned, or not at all. Who knows?

La Vie Ne Vaut Rien. Par Tim Dup.

what do you believe is the meaning of it all?

5 thoughts on “On Meaning

  1. Feeling lost and pursuing happiness is something I have struggled with for many years as I struggle with depression and anxiety. I am working on seeing that happiness is the journey.
    These questions are will probably stick with me for days.


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