What’s the meaning of life? I really liked the suggestion from Samuel Scheffler in today’s New York Times that it is furthering the human project. He focuses on our belief that human life will continue once we are gone:
Yet I think that this belief plays an extremely important role in our lives, quietly but critically shaping our values, commitments and sense of what is worth doing. Astonishing though it may seem, there are ways in which the continuing existence of other people after our deaths — even that of complete strangers — matters more to us than does our own survival and that of our loved ones.
I think we all know that we confront problems that we will not live to see solved. Believing that society and civilization will go on after we die means enables us to live lives of significance in the face of problems we cannot personally solve. We can proceed with the knowledge that we’re contributing to the project.