42 Answers to the Meaning of Life

Here are 42 answers to the *question* of the meaning of life.

1. To ascend the ladder of desire to see the beauty of the forms. (Plato)
2. To skillfully and willfully achieve happiness in accordance with excellence through virtue. (Aristotle)
3. To crush my enemies, to see them flee before me in a field of battle and to hear the lamentations. (Conan, the Barbarian)
4. The meaning of life? That’s simple. Try to be happy, try not to hurt other people, and hope to fall in love. (Mallory Keaton, Family Ties)
5. You take the red pill… (The Matrix)
6. There are finite games and there are infinite games. Life is an infinite game. (James P. Carse)
7. In Tao the only motion is returning.
The only useful quality, weakness.
For though all creatures under heaven are the products of Being,
Being itself is the product of Not-being. ” Tao te Ching (chap. 40, tr. Waley)
8. There is suffering.
Desire is the source of suffering.
It is within my power to remove suffering.
The removal of suffering is the cessation of desire. (4 Truths of Buddhism)
9. Be fruitful and multiply. (Book of Genesis)
10. Just do it. (Nike)
11. You have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy. (Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter)
12. The greatest good for the greatest number. (Utilitarianism)
13. Survival of the fittest. (Social Darwinism)
14. History moving towards the communism of workers. (Marx)
15. All are created equal and have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (US Declaration of Independence)
16. To end not just that fight, but all future fights with the bully… (Ender’s Game)
17. You shall love. (Jesus)
18. I don’t think we’re for anything. We’re just the products of evolution. (James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA)
19. To achieve singularity. (Vernor Vinge)
20. To return to nature. (Neo-transcendentalism, The Cynicism of Diogenes, Landscape photographers like the author of this piece.)
21. To pursue pleasure. (Epicureans, hedonists)


22. To endure. (Stoicism)
23. Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. (Kant’s Categorical Imperative)
24. Free at last… (Martin Luther King)
25. Nature wanted to see so badly that the very first eyes were light sensitive crystals and minerals. Why did nature want to see so badly? (Questions asked at CIIS)
26. To care for and look after nature. (Naturalistic Pantheism)
27. Keep my commandments. (The God of the Old Testament)
28. Be obedient (to Allah). (Qur’an 51:56)
29. The Lord dwells in every heart, and every heart has its own way to reach Him. (Sikhism)
30. Money
31. Optimism
32. Pessimism
33. Sex
34. Therapy
35. Well, it’s nothing very special. Uh, try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. (Monty Python)
36. The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo. (Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook)
37. One always returns to one’s first love. (D.H. Lawrence)
38. Lean In (Sheryl Sandberg)
39. Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch. (Eric S. Raymund)
40. The laws of nature are much like the laws of man. (Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road)
41. We shouldn’t delay forever until every possible feature is done. There’s always going to be one more thing to do. (Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of Bitcoin)
42. 42, the answer to the question of the meaning of life. But what is the answer? 7 x 5. But 7 x 5 is 35, right? Yes, I guess there is something fundamentally wrong with the universe. (Douglas Adams, Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

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