Excellence Reporter: Dr. Hollis, what is the meaning of life?
James Hollis: The meaning of life is a conundrum we all have to figure out for ourselves. Someone else’s meaning may make sense of their journey, but it is not necessarily right for you.
Albert Camus suggested that life is meaningful precisely because it is absurd. I believe he meant that if someone figures out a meaning, and, however sincerely, tries to impose it on you, then it is likely wrong for you. In other words, there is no common packaged meaning, as many would profess.
Your life becomes meaningful when you keep this question before you, as both guide, and a prompting to move out of yesterday’s answer. Today’s meaning will need be replaced by tomorrow’s when you have better questions, more comparative experience, and an enhanced capacity for ambiguity and mystery. And all provisional meanings must meet the test of honest skepticism, and be confirmed by your inner, autonomous knowing, not the consensual voice of a clamorous group around you. Something inside of us knows what is right for us, and we have to humbly learn to track its voice and align its wisdom with our outer choices.
~James Hollis, Ph.D., Jungian analyst, author, professor
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