Nicolae Tanase: Leslie, what is the meaning of life?
Leslie Kaminoff: Your question is “What is the meaning of life” yet the capacity to ponder life’s meaning is uniquely human, so a better way to word the question would be “What is the meaning of *human* life?”
The distinction is important, because life for non-humans can have only one meaning: to perpetuate itself through adapting to its environment, passing those adaptations on to successive generations.
We humans — born vulnerable without fur, fang or claw; strength, size or speed; and with offspring that remain helpless for many years — could never survive only by adaptation to our environment. We must use our minds to figure out how to adapt our environment to ourselves. In other words, we can only live through the excercise of our rational faculty.
So within that context, my answer is: “The meaning of human life is not just merely to survive, but to live *as humans* — a life of rationality, purpose and productivity — the sum of which is a life lived in the pursuit of happiness.
~Leslie Kaminoff is a bestselling co-author, yoga educator and internationally recognized specialist with over three decades experience in the fields of yoga, breath anatomy and bodywork. His approach to teaching combines intellectual rigor, spontaneity and humor, and is always evolving. He is the creator of YogaAnatomy.net and founder of The Breathing Project
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