What eminent people have had to say about the meaning of life

Two-hundred and thirty-eight quotations from 195 eminent people regarding their beliefs about the meaning of life were content analyzed. The main themes (in order of their frequency) are as follows: “Life is to be enjoyed,” “We are here to love and help others,” “It is a mystery,” “There is no cosmic meaning,” “We are here to serve or worship God,” “Life is a struggle,” “We must make a contribution to society,” “Our mission in life is to seek wisdom/truth, and to become self-actualized,” “We must create meaning for ourselves,” and “Life is absurd or a joke.” Discussion focuses on the meaning of the results and implications for practice.

Journal of Humanistic Psychology,
Vol. 43 No. 1, Winter 2003

About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs BabyLaughter.net
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