Stephen G. Post: The Meaning of Life and Deeper Meanings

The greatest leap forward in human consciousness will come with a deep awareness of pure unlimited love

headshotExcellence Reporter: Professor Post, what is the meaning of life?

Stephen G. Post: One thing is for certain – human beings need meaning or they perish. Sometimes, in desperation, they seek meaning in all the wrong places and may even wish to inflict their meaning on others, as seems to be the case with adolescent converts from emptiness to ISIS. The need for meaning is so deep, and the meaninglessness of modern possessive materialism is so great, that it is easy to understand the appeal of things that promise even a brutal new world.

Let us acknowledge that meaning does not come from yet another $200 pair of shoes, and that our modern industrialized countries are clearly rated as less happy than simpler lands with deeper community and sources of spirituality. So we have the terrible waste of lives in addictions, possessive greed, unlimited hedonism, bullying, hatred, consumerism, and even violent extremism.

Let us hope that we also are seeing the dawn of a new more spiritual age of deeper meanings, where we flourish in the surprising fact that in the giving of self lies the discovery of a deeper self. It all comes down to the right kind of love: when the happiness, security and well-being of another is meaningful to me in the sense of being as real as my own happiness, security and well-being, I love that person. We can extend this beyond the nearest and dearest to the neediest as a matter of personal calling, and even to all humanity and nature. For some more mystical people, this love is felt as an underlying energy that sustains the universe and all things both seen and unseen (aka Brahmin, Ultimate Reality, Divine Mind, Supreme Consciousness, “God”, etc.). But whether we are secular of religious, spiritually attuned or less so, the bottom line is that the greatest leap forward in human consciousness will come with a deep awareness of pure unlimited love (

It seems that in this age, our need and even our rage for meaning is a tale of two cities, one of unfathomable creative love and the other of equally unfathomable hate. The human future is in doubt, but may we strive to build that first city. In the end, it is best to study and develop here on earth what means most in eternity — love.


~Stephen G. Post, PhD., is a best-selling author, leading expert on happiness, health, success and medical school professor.

  • President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love
  • Director and Founder of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care—Stony Brook University
  • Professor of Preventive Medicine and Bioethics—Stony Brook University
  • Member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Royal Society of Medicine, London
  • Recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the national Alzheimer’s Association
  • Recipient of the Pioneer Medal for Outstanding Leadership in HealthCare from the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network of America
  • Recipient of the Kama Book Award in Medical Humanities from World Literacy Canada

Copyright © 2015 Excellence Reporter

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