We can find purpose, but meaning is much harder to find.

Purpose is usually defined relative to something we, or someone we align with, wants or needs to happen. We set ourselves to accomplish something for some purpose. Usually purpose is quite mundane: finish a project, tidy your house, feed yourself or your child until the next time our stomach is empty.

But what is meaning? It is also relative; in the narrow sense, it can be your interpretation of a piece of literature or a painting or a movie. What's the meaning of life? There is no answer in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_of_life" class="wiki wikinew text-danger tips">the Wikipedia page about it. They just cite many broad elements that might help confuse yourself even further, or might point the way to understanding it.

I think meaning is always relative to one's own limited perspective. A universal feature of life is that we can never understand everything perfectly, and most of us can't even understand perfectly the little that we do know. So I think the meaning of life is unknowable, because we cannot be one with everything. Our nature of separateness from our universe means that our understanding of meaning can only ever be a partial understanding.

At the start of my privileged life, I had no thoughts about meaning; it was just purpose, all of which was directly or indirectly tied to ego, self-protection, pleasure, avoidance of pain. I guess that's true throughout life, though; almost all of what we ever do has purpose, but little meaning. That narrow scope can only get you so far in terms of lasting satisfaction or sense of well-being.

I want to elaborate on something about reflections of repeated patterns in other people, healing the separateness that's inherent in physical existence and the separateness that's created by the tendency of our rational mind to distinguish and pull everything apart. If we're so deeply invested in the illusions of our rational mind, we might believe that some fleeting purpose is also our meaning; that might even be a comfortable place to dwell, if you're lucky. The unlucky ones get their lives and worldviews ripped apart in war or disaster or loss. Maybe that's part of the meaning — that the meaning can only be revealed to us over time through experience, since we can't hold everything in our minds at once and we can't convey any of it to each other except through our rather limited and fallible tool called language.

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