What is the Meaning of Life? (Part One)

Meaning of Life

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Is there a bigger question than this? Some will answer that there is none; or, that only God can know the answer; or that it’s whatever you make of it. A philosopher might argue that the word-level in the question is wrong; that we need go deeper to answer the question “What is the meaning of meaning?” before we can say what the meaning of life is. A philosopher like Nietzsche would rephrase it as “What is the value of life?” because all meaning is subject to value judgements. But in order to determine this, as Heidegger knew, we need to get down to the most basic level of questioning and ask, as the pre-Socratic Greeks did, “What is the essence of life?”[i]

Of course, we are talking about Life, with a capital L, although by answering that question one should also be a huge step closer to understanding the meaning of their own individual life; defining the generic does help us understand the specific. The generic form of it makes it, in part, a question for science, and, in another part, a question for logic. Nevertheless, the resolution of the query has been severely soiled and butchered by being taken as a theological one.

“Whatever essential characteristics value has as condition of life depends on the essence of life, on what is distinctive about this essence.”[ii]

What is the distinctiveness of life from non-life? Isn’t it life’s distinctive ability to reproduce itself; its capacity for evolving into forms that are better suited for survival; in its desire for survival itself, which could be seen as a will for an abstract concept of permanence through reproduction.



Yet, if the purpose of life is survival, then the evolution of the potentially life-threatening organism that humanity has become, seems like an ultimately failed process rather than a great triumph of world-will.

The reason for this resides in the fact that evolution is blind. It seems to have a purpose (survival) and a creative process capable of learning and relearning things in order to ensure the final success of that purpose (evolution), but there is no hand manipulating that process other than the achievements of the process itself.

Does this then make us a mere accidental product of a random evolution designed to survive certain inhospitable conditions arising at any given moment? If we answer in the affirmative, then we accept that there is no meaning to humanity, a nihilistic view that renders everything to the coincidental, with no footing in any certainty at all.

However, the sceptic must eventually become sceptical of his/her own scepticism. So, sceptical of scepticism we return to the question at hand: Why would life evolve into a life-threatening form like humanity? What can Life gain from humanity?

If we can find a positive answer to that question, then perhaps we can answer the query into the meaning underlying our human existences as well.



A word carries a lot of semantic baggage and ‘humanity’ has a lot of negative connotations for a lot of people that are embedded within our pessimistic notions of ‘human-nature’. In order to imbue our humanity with a less prejudiced vision, we will use the scientific term for our species homo sapiens sapiens. By doing this we also clearly leap beyond the reductionisms of race, religion and nationalities and treat ourselves as members of a species, which is what we ultimately are. So, what does Life gain from our species? What does Life gain from Sapiens that it doesn’t get from other non-sapiens organisms?

Immediately we have an answer: knowledge of Itself.

Through Sapiens organisms, life knows itself. Existence becomes something more than just a thing that flows over one, or that which we float in and react to. Through a Sapiens consciousness existence is grasped as something which has come from somewhere and is moving forward into something different. Knowing gives existence a sense of permanence, and a conscious creative vision that comes from the realisation that all things can change.

Here, a circle of logic closes in on itself: knowing tells us that the essence is permanence through creative evolution. But this conclusion also immediately throws us out of its apparent circle. A circle is a non-evolving cycle – evolution, however, is always a leap beyond the apparent enclosure of the self-reproducing cycle.

Nature creates evolutionary leaps genetically, in a way that is even superior to the species’ own will to survive through carbon-copy reproduction; and also technologically, via the use of tools manipulated by organisms.



Homo sapiens is the technological species par excellence. Sapiens is the knowing, technological animal.

Technology and knowing evolve in a spiral way, and we could probably map their relationship in a form that would very much resemble a DNA helix.

The spiral is a dynamic form of the circle. It winds itself, but in a way that moves forward as well as around. Because it has an elongated form it can advance and change. It can progress through self-change and adapt to changing environments.

Perhaps we could call this creative process ‘enhancement’, as Heidegger did: “Enhancement implies something like a looking ahead and through to the scope of something higher.”[iii]  


[i] Heidegger, Martin, NIETZSCHE, vol. III + IV, Harper One, p. 16

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid



For a scientific understanding of life on Earth (or all life as we know it) we need only study its double helix, DNA. The DNA is an archive, a library and an operating system. Life, as such, is dependent on information that is stored, read and followed. The individual is subject to the complexity and limitations of this information. What’s more, it is this double helix which also determines our individuality as much as our similarities. We are biological computers based on a binary system of base pairs: a combination of adenine and cytosine; cytosine and guanine; guanine and thymine; thymine and cytosine, etcetera … This is our four element, binary combination language – the language of life.

But the question why does life exist is a profound one, as is the question of why does anything exist. Fundamental questions that the scientific understanding of life can only satisfy up to a point. In order to find deep answers to the deepest questions we need to go beyond fact to reasons and purpose; we have to bring science back into the fold of philosophical speculation from which science originated from sometime around the 5th century BCE.

This is not to say by any means that we should abolish or even diminish the science, but, on the contrary allow speculation to fuel a science-based philosophy concerned with meaning that will pull science back into the realm of metaphysics. A future science with pre-Socratic intentions if you like.


Nothing can come from nothing, says reason, but science demonstrates that a particle can emerge from the void and vanish again. From nothing you came and to nothing you will return. The will to have what we lack. Nothing lacks everything, but let’s start with something. From the void there came a particle. That was enough. A thing, generated by lack of everything and motivated by a possibility of anything, aggregated into a singular complexity of that everything that needed to explode and allow such potential to become forms, perhaps even become everything in an infinite, multi-dimensional way. An everything that needs time and space in order to understand it. But within that time and space it also needs something capable of perceiving it. It needs an objective observer, something fashioned with sensors. Of course if everything exists there will not only be an abundance of these organisms, and an abundance of intelligent forms of these creatures, but also, an absolute lack of them … but that doesn’t make sense, does it? Or perhaps it does …

In order for everything and nothing to exist, time and space must exist, for it is time and space which provides the separation allowing for diversity to be possible. Everything is One thing, a mass that needs to be broken apart in order to be able to perceive the real potential of everything, but included in the One is also an Absolute Zero as well as a never truly achieved Infinity. This breaking apart of the Infinite singularity is managed through the manifestation of time and space.

But what has this got to do with the meaning of life?…

Life: a double-helix DNA executive commanding its single-strand RNA clerk. Our primary communication, which is at the same time the executive communication. Constant, but silent and secretive. The secret Genetic Code. A linear codex as of the steps of a ladder. Letters in a sentence, a punctuated sentence. Life is a language, dictated by DNA. We are built on carbon foundations building other complex language systems on silicon foundations.

The goal of evolution is to produce the perfect brain that will be able to achieve the most complex understanding of the world and the universe it is a tiny part of. The universe is a universe of information transmitted through language but mainly devoid of objects capable of understanding that language and acting accordingly. But by analysing the physical form of the universe it becomes clear that it has an aim. Time and space and DNA exist because the principal aim of the universe is to understand itself; to be able to exist in a conscious and self-conscious, self-fulfilled way. This can only take place through the agent of intelligent life.


A Fractured Glimpse of the World Economy

After dragging the Greek economy into a state of absolute debt and thereby forcing a situation in which it could buy three or four Greek Islands for the expanding empire it called the National Tourist Industry, the German nation, which could now be quite rightfully referred to as the Federal Deutschebankslande, turned its gaze toward the Iberian Peninsula. With Portugal already reeling, or being reeled in, the German bankers knew that Spain would be hard pressed to resist the morsel of bait it had dangled before it. When the hungry Spanish Right snapped, Germany tugged and buried its barbed hook so deep in Spain’s soft palate that the entire peninsula choked. And so, with the Spanish mackerel in their net, the Krauts demanded their pound of flesh of interest. Everyone outside of Germany was sure they would be taking the Balearic or Canary Islands, but one only needs to be certain of any one thing in this chaos world for that one thing never to occur. What the Germans lusted after was not the sun and sea so much as the absolute humiliation of those it could humiliate. Therefore, with cold-blooded Schadenfreude, the German Banks demonstrated that the interest to be extracted from Spanish debt would be Spain’s most valued asset – its national football team and coach. Because of this, in 2013, only seven months before the Brazil World Cup, the reigning world champions changed their nationality to Deutsch and added a black bar to their red and yellow flag in order to win a second World Cup, this time for Germany. In this way Spain was liberated from its national debt to the Germans, a liberation which, unfortunately, did very little to free the Spanish economy which all but disappeared completely when people stopped buying Spanish football guernseys and the Spanish people were reduced to a nation of on-the-beach-masseurs for the Leviathan bellies of German tourists who had invaded the Iberian coasts. This pathetic condition however could only be sustained a few more years as the German economy had already started to feel a pinch it had itself created by destroying the heart of the consumers who sustained it. With the Spanish consumers gone, German industry collapsed and decided to sell its national heritage as well, until it discovered that it had nothing worth selling. As such the German Empire collapsed into a state of misery unseen even in the Weimar age, or at least until the only country that could save Germany stepped into the arena. China had found something that Germany had that China wanted. The Chinese eyes gleamed as they rubbed their hands and purchased, at what China considered a very reasonable price, that which the Chinese thought could provide them with something they had always been short of. For the first time in the history of the world a country’s DNA went on the market. The Chinese took Germanic genes and within one generation one thousand million Chinese had surpassed a height, in socks, of two metres, while the average German shrank below one point five metres. Unfortunately for the Chinese this sudden and brutal growth in their physical stature brought an enormous strain on the economy, demanding, as it did, an intense reformation of all Chinese infrastructures which at the same time caused an upsurge in back problems of plague proportions. This huge problem required masseurs no longer available in China for the last Chinese masseur had emigrated to the West generations ago. Luckily though for Chinese backs, Spain had already accumulated a surplus of masseurs starved of work by the diminution of German bellies. The Spanish massage clinics became famous throughout all China and the profits reaped by those companies restored the Spanish economy to heights unseen since Cortes’s sacking of Tenochtitlan, allowing Spain to buy back its national team and win two more World Cups in the 60s.

Perhaps everyone at last could have been happy, but…