Does Life Have Any Real Meaning?
“DOES life have any meaning?” Countless people have asked that question. Sadly, no matter how they look at life, many are unable to escape what Austrian neurologist Viktor E. Frankl described as a “sense of meaninglessness and emptiness” in their lives.
Why do so many feel that way? For one thing, millions the world over live in unbelievably wretched, heartbreaking conditions. Each day, they wake up to poverty, disease, senseless violence, and oppression. Their lives are truly “glutted with agitation,” as Job of ancient times said about human suffering. (Job 14:1) Their prime goal is simply to survive from one day to the next.
Millions of others enjoy a degree of material prosperity. Everything seems to be in place for them to find real satisfaction in life. But many still do not. Why? Because time and again, “trouble and hurtful things”—unexpected financial setbacks or bitter tragedies, such as the death of a child—shatter their treasured hopes and dreams.—Psalm 90:10.
Another factor deepens this pervasive feeling of “meaninglessness and emptiness.” What is that? The extreme brevity of life. To many, it simply does not make sense that humans, who are gifted with such great potential, live such short lives. They cannot understand the harsh reality that we all face: Sooner or later, even if we escape the worst that besets mankind, death robs us of everything.—Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20.
Will Life Always Seem Meaningless?
King Solomon of ancient Israel summed up the situation very well. He saw how people in his day worked hard using their talents and abilities in planting, cultivating, building, and caring for their families, just as we do today. He asked, in effect, ‘What does it all amount to in the end?’ Everything people do, he concluded, is “emptiness and chasing the wind.”—Ecclesiastes 2:17, The New English Bible.
But did King Solomon believe that everything mankind does would always be “emptiness and chasing the wind”? No. He was simply expressing a realistic view of how life in this imperfect world turns out. However, the inspired Word of God can give you confidence that things will not always be like this!
How can you find that confidence? Please read the next two articles. They may help you to understand why life seems so meaningless, how this situation will be remedied, and how you can give your life real meaning even now.