24 Great Thinkers Tell You the Meaning of Life in Quotes

What is the meaning of life? This age old question has been hotly debated since the beginning of human existence, and in drawing from the vast pool of ideas that has deepened and will continue to deepen with time, we give you answers from some of the world’s greatest minds:



There is no universal meaning of life, so you must create your own meaning.




“If life has no meaning, why don’t we create a meaning for it?” – Naguib Mahfouz

“Life defined only as the opposite of death is not life.” – Mahmoud Darwish

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” – Albert Camus

“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in his cosmic loneliness.

And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat, looked around, and spoke. “What is the purpose of all this?” he asked politely.

“Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.

“Certainly,” said man.

“Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.

And He went away.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” – Joseph Campbell

“There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.” – Erich Fromm



The meaning of life is to love, be kind, appreciate one another, and help others live a life of love.


Black bird by Wire Valentine
Black bird by Wire Valentine


“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton

“The meaning of life… I think the meaning of life is, I think it’s love.” – Julie Benz

“It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is.” – Hermann Hesse

“The best things in life make you sweaty.” – Edgar Allen Poe

“I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” – Pablo Casals



The meaning of life is to give back to the world and to live a life grounded in compassion.




“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” – Aristotle

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity” – Leo Tolstoy

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” – The Dalai Lama

“Beyond work and love, I would add two other ingredients that give meaning to life. First, to fulfill whatever talents we are born with. However blessed we are by fate with different abilities and strengths, we should try to develop them to the fullest, rather than allow them to atrophy and decay. … Second, we should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, vibrant spirit of the young by being a mentor and a guide.” – Michio Kaku

“To create satisfaction for ourselves and other people.” – Albert Einstein

“It is man’s purpose to be happy on this earth and lead the way to felicity and preach its gospel wherever he goes.

He who does not see the kingdom of heaven in this life will never see it in the coming life.” – Khalil Gibran

“The greatest create of power you have on earth, whether you are an angel, a spirit, a man or woman or child is to help others.” – Anne Rice



The meaning of life is to seek truth and accept truth for what it is.




“The ultimate aim of the human mind, in all its efforts, is to become acquainted with Truth.”
– Eliza Farnham

“The purpose of life is to stay alive. Watch any animal in nature–all it tries to do is stay alive. It doesn’t care about beliefs or philosophy. Whenever any animal’s behavior puts it out of touch with the realities of its existence, it becomes extinct.” – Michael Crichton



The meaning of life is to free ourselves from the binds of fear and in doing so, discover our true potential.


Courage by Joe Cruz


“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself” – Rumi

“Not only is there often a right and wrong, but what goes around does come around, … “There is always a day of reckoning.” The good among the great understand that every choice we make adds to the strength or weakness of our spirits—ourselves, or to … our souls. That is every human’s life work: to construct an identity bit by bit, to walk a path step by step, to live a life that is worthy of something higher, lighter, more fulfilling, and maybe even everlasting.” – Donald Van de Mark

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller



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