What is meaning and how do we find it?
This is a question that has increasingly intrigued me over the last few years. Firstly, it has interested me professionally in my work as a clinical psychologist. Working in a mental health service in the UK for several years, I was often struck by just how many of the people who presented to the service with symptoms of anxiety and depression were suffering from a sense of meaninglessness in their lives.
Secondly, this question also has great relevance for me personally, as a curious human being. Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish existentialist philosopher and theologian, said that the most pressing question for any person is the meaning of his or her own existence. So it is entirely natural that I, or anyone else for that matter, should feel a need to make sense of this question.
This site is intended to be a place where people who are curious about the meaning of their life can come to read, think and explore ideas. Just as a map might help someone find their way home, it is hoped that this site might be a resource which they can use to assist them on their journey.
It is also hoped that it will help them to realise just how common this is and that they are not alone in questioning the meaning of their life or their existence. A preoccupation with meaning, or lack of, can cause a lot of anxiety. Though extremely distressing and unpleasant, this is entirely natural and indeed many philosophers and psychologists argue it is this that makes us human.
The good news is that, in the words of Irvin Yalom, the American psychiatrist and existentialist psychotherapist, ‘Confrontation with the givens of reality is painful, but ultimately healing’. It is possible to find answers that lead to peace, and going through this process can actually be enriching. It can lead to a sense of fulfilment and a heightened appreciation of life that wasn’t there before.
So good luck on your journey, and please share your thoughts.