The Question of Life


“…. A new question has arisen in modern man’s mind, the question, namely whether “life is worth living,” and correspondingly, the feeling that one’s life “is a failure,” or is “a success.”  This idea is based on the concept of life as an enterprise which should show a profit.  The failure is like the bankruptcy of a business in which the losses are greater than the gains.  This concept is nonsensical. 
We may be happy or unhappy, achieve some aims, and not achieve others; yet there is no sensible balance which could show whether life is worth while living.  Maybe from the standpoint of a balance life is never worth while living.  It ends necessarily with death; many of our hopes are disappointed; it involves suffering and effort; from a standpoint of the balance, it would seem to make more sense not to have been born at all, or to die in infancy.  On the other hand, who will tell whether one happy moment of love, or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies?  Life is a unique gift and challenge, not to be measured in terms of anything else, and no sensible answer can be given to the question whether it is “worth while” living, because the question does not make any sense.” – by Erich Fromm The Sane Society

How many of you have asked yourself the question stated above, especially in a moment of crisis?  How about questions always related to life like “what’s the point”, “why am I here”, or “what is life”? 

Just like making decisions (a topic recently explored), questions about life and our purpose boggle our minds, as well as create disruptions in our daily lives.  Existential queries and uncertainties can make us sad, happy, and frustrated.  They can also make us feel lost and surrounded by darkness. 

The effects of the types of questions that deal with human performance and human existence (most of the time based on definitions we have been taught to be high and/or low performance and the reason(s) for existence) can bring us down, but can also push us towards the better.  It always depends on what spin each of us gives it (besides the external factor that are not in our control).

Life - photo by MLR

If people can accept that we are put on this planet for reasons we are unaware of or possibly for no reason at all, and that we will never really find out if there is one truth or not, or if so, only after death; we might handle the uncertainty of life a bit better. 

It is somewhat like existentialism; to put it in Sartre’s words: “…by existentialism we mean a doctrine which makes human life possible and, in addition, declares that every truth and every action implies a human setting and a human subjectivity.”  The way people want to handle their life queries is how they will eventually live their life.

  • Some have faith in more than this terrestrial existence and therefore give life meaning and reason through their faith. 
  • Others solely believe in this terrestrial life.
  • Still others are conflicted and possibly believe both or do not know what to believe.

Even the existentialists had divisions among their group.  Sartre divides them into three groups: Christian existentialists, atheistic existentialist and the French existentialists.  Psychology has divisions among its methodology and beliefs as well: humanistic psychology, behaviorism, functional psychology, psychoanalysis, and even existential psychology (and these are only a few of the long list).  As with entities, beliefs, and groups created by the bond of common thought between more than one person; so are there multiple reasons and answers to what life’s journey is all about. 

Life 2 - photo by MLR

Studies have found that people often worry about things they have no control over and that only 8% of what we worry about is actually valid reason for preoccupation (this percentage comes from a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin and found in The speaker’s quote book by Roy B. Zuck). 

One of the reasons for this article serves the purpose of amplifying your view on the multifaceted aspects of what seems to be a simple question or simply put, to expand a topic you have most certainly come across before.  It is also a way to try and alleviate a possible burden caused by the unanswered question, as well as point out that no matter what your spin is, no matter how you want to think about life, it is not something you can quantify or classify (I would also add, that this is fundamental and possibly the most important aspect to keep in mind). 

Living is emotions, loved ones, tears, smiles; and the purpose of life is simply that: to live it to the fullest, make the best of good and/or bad, find your true essence, take pleasure in seeing the sun rise, and when times get tough try to give yourself strength by knowing that you can only make the best of your life because whether you believe in an afterlife or not, this is all you can know today.  I know this idea is cliché, but the reality of it is exactly this. 

Life 3 - photo by MLR

Make the best of your life and give it the meaning you think it has.  Although we like thinking there is one way and one truth, for this topic there are so many answers; it is hard to believe that only one of them is “right”.

I would love to know what your meaning of life is and why you think we live.  If anyone would like to share comment below or on my FB page, or write me at

P.S. I wanted to add a personal note: This is my 100th blog post and in honor of this special occasion (well at least it’s a special occasion to me) I wanted to write about something important.  I couldn’t think of anything more important than the topic of life, in addition to it being one of the topics I’ve explored and continue to explore through my reading, experiences and the people I encounter.  Without life we would not be here and with it as humans we wonder what it is all suppose to mean.  I hope my exploration on the topic was helpful to those burdened by the question of life, as well as insightful to those who are intrigued by the subject matter. 

Thank you for reading and giving purpose to what I share.

4 comments on “The Question of Life”

  1. That quote reminds me why I really love Erich Fromm! It is spot on! And your post is right up there with it, excellent! I’ve found that during the day there are so many moments that are really worth enjoying — what a shame to let them wash over us because we’re fixated on some worry or some thought about what might or might not happen! I do have faith that there is something more than this material terrestrial existence, and I’ve seen the power of coincidence so often that I sense some kind of deeper connection between us all. Yet even if that’s all fantasy, there is so much beauty and potential joy in the richness of experience that we have only ourselves to blame if we squander it.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Scott :), it means a lot to me.
      I have the same feeling about Erich Fromm; he truly does hit the spot, and on so many things. I have to say, this one on life is truly one of the most significant, especially since it entails our entire existence.
      I also have faith in more than what is on earth. There are so many beautiful emotions and experiences we live that I just can’t fathom it ending all here. And the power of coincidence as a representation of a deeper connection is something I couldn’t agree more on; nothing, in my opinion, happens by chance.

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