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The meaning of life: formation, dynamics, choice

Behind the same term “meaning of life” are three completely different concepts. This is, first of all, the philosophical meaning of life, the synonym of which is the term “destiny” and its analogues (human destiny, human destiny). The second concept is the meaning of life after the fact, the meaning that is determined when a person has lived his life or its completed period. Example: Petrarch wrote solid works in the spirit of the humanism of the Renaissance and considered it the main business of his life, but his descendants accepted and will remember him as a singer of love. Finally, the third concept, denoted by the term “meaning of life”, is the psychological meaning of the life of an individual person, coupled with its regulatory function (motivational and orienting). Below we will discuss precisely this meaning of life.

The modern world is controversial, complex and rapidly changing. Therefore, the spontaneous acquisition by people of their adequate meaning of life is unlikely. At least in Russia, according to research, “successful” in this regard is no more than 10%. Therefore, it is advisable for those seeking their meaning to switch to a more effective way - choosing the meaning of life that is suitable for themselves from the spectrum of generalized meanings of life, proposed in the form of generally accessible scientific principles and in the form of life stories. Implicitly along this path was W. Frankl, creator of speech therapy (1996). The peculiarity of this form of psychotherapy is that the client is offered a limited range of meanings of life, but there is no objective control of the result - what is the meaning of life chosen by the client in the end, is this meaning of life strengthened for him, etc.

What spectrum of meanings of life can be offered for selection today on the basis of knowledge of the sciences about society and about man? There are three groups of such meanings of life:

. meanings associated with the passing modern civilization;

. meanings associated with the spontaneously emerging alternative environmental civilization;

. the meanings associated with attempts to somehow transform modern civilization in order to avoid environmental disaster.

Today, empirically identified over 22 generalized meanings of life. In the world behind each of them are quite numerous communities of people. Some meanings of life (in excess of the main 22), for example, the ministry of beauty, are not considered below, since their carriers are relatively small and small in the modern world.

Let us consider in more detail the twenty two most common generalized meanings of life. They can be divided into several subgroups. The first of these is the meaning of "success": power, money, words, material consumption, social status.
The second is the meaning of “service”: service to people, the highest (an example - to God), science (truth), art, idea (ideas can be different - kindness, revenge, salvation of nature, etc.). The third subgroup is the meanings of “experiences”: pleasure, impressions, extreme experiences, comfort and peace of mind. The fourth sub-group combines the meanings of a messianic type of life. This is, firstly, the transformation of the world, society for the better. There are many examples - the unification of Italy (Garibaldi); the liberation of India (Gandhi); foundation of the “city of well-being” (R. Owen); creation of an ideal society (Libertalia; authors of numerous utopias, starting with T. Mora). This is, secondly, the enlightenment of people. This is, thirdly, the protection of humanity from disease (examples are the eradication of smallpox and polio). This is, fourthly, the transformation of the Earth into a blooming planet (for example, in the book of Saint Exupery). Technologically, this is quite real today, while the psychology of the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of our planet is an impenetrable barrier, however, similar ideas regarding their own settlement were repeatedly realized by individual individuals. The fifth subgroup includes two particularly promising meanings of life - the desire for self-improvement and the desire for creativity as a process, more broadly - to solve "problems" (create something). Two more meanings of life are widespread - self-affirmation (an example is the main character of the story by S. Yesin “The Simulator”, a painter) and the desire to always be the center of a certain circle of people, to be their spoiler (even if only one person!). To one or another of these twenty-two generalized meanings (as well as to some other, not so common), numerous phenomenological meanings of life are reduced, for example, a profession as the meaning of life.

The above-mentioned meanings of life are generalized, that is, their specific implementation may be different (for example, educating people can have a different orientation: one by N. Amosov, one by F. Uglov, another by a fighter against alcoholism, and the third by French encyclopedists) . Note that for simplicity, the meaning of life was presented in the text as having a monolithic structure, but in reality other structures are often found (Chudnovsch, 1999). It should also be emphasized once again that a minority of people manage to find the meaning of life - those who have reached a certain stage of development as a subject of their life activity. The presence of the meaning of life is precisely the criterion for achieving this stage.
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The meaning of life: formation, dynamics, choice

  1. The dynamics of ideas about the meaning of life and acme of students during their studies at the university
    Human life is motivated by the search for the meaning of its existence, the desire to realize this meaning on the basis of value guidelines. According to W. Frankl (1990), man is driven by the will to meaning. The desire to find the meaning of life is a “secondary rationalization” of instinctual drives, the main motivational force that helps to overcome difficulties. Life becomes meaningful - containing
  2. On the choice of the meaning of life in the modern era
    At the turn of the century, the psychological problem of the meaning of life acquired unexpected relevance and significance. The revealed inconsistency of the concepts of progress and the universal unification of mankind on the model of Euro-American civilization, the collapse of large-scale social utopias - communist and fascist - ultimately led to mass value disorientation of people both in the West and in Russia. IN
  3. The influence of self-esteem on the process of formation of the meaning of life of high school students
    An important role in the self-determination of a person is played by the process of awareness of the purpose and meaning of life. Understanding the meaning of life can be considered one of the main criteria for personal self-determination (Safin, Nikonov, 1984), and the presence of interest in the meaning of life and its active discussion can be considered as one of the parameters that determine the actively ongoing process of self-determination (Ginsburg, 1996). Particular
  4. The meaning of life and professional activities of a teacher
    The study of the applied problems of the meaning of life is one of the most important tasks of personality psychology. In recent years, a number of studies have been carried out in which the connections between the meaning of life and the achievements of a professional person have been studied. The objective of our study is to identify whether educators include their professional activities as a significant component in their life-meaning system.
  5. The meaning of life as an object of psychological research
    Why does a person live? What is the meaning of his life? These questions are always exciting. The desire to realize one’s purpose, to realize how to live, how to make plans for the future, what goals to follow, is inherent in man. Everyone who poses these questions for himself is faced with the difficult problem of understanding his life. Being a global problem, the meaning of life is relative to a specific person
  6. About the meaning of LIFE AND REPAIR
    One girl was looking for the meaning of life for a long time. And then I decided to make repairs in the apartment. What the meaning of life is, the girl has not yet learned exactly, but after reading the special literature she clearly decided that this meaning is not in money. Therefore, she also did not have money for repairs. But there was severe myopia and a kilo of fifteen excess weight. How these components of the Habitual Picture of the World could help with
  7. Socialization squared: heterochronism and non-linear dynamics of the subject's professional development in socionomic professions
    The problem of the integration of biological and social in a person periodically returns to itself the attention of scientists. Apparently, it is one of those “eternal questions” that representatives of natural and humanitarian disciplines are called to answer. Apparently, in its very formulation there is something more in which individual answers of individual representatives of individual scientific disciplines can give. Problem complexity
  8. Teacher about the meaning of life and human acme in modern society
    In modern society, there is a contradiction between the tasks facing the school as a social institution for the development of the child and the degree to which they are implemented during the educational process. The task of forming the personality of the schoolchild and creating conditions for the emergence and realization of his need for finding the meaning of life, for establishing ideas about the meaning of life, is far from solved.
  9. "The meaning of life" in the hypostasis of ancient virtue
    The peculiarity of the problem of the meaning of life is already inherent in its very formulation, breeding (or reducing), or rather, putting these two concepts in the position of mutual search. Meaning and life: life, which should make sense, and meaning, which finds its objective realization in life. How does their mutual “fertilization” take place, is it of an innate or acquired, active nature? This
  10. The problem of death and immortality in the context of the meaning of life
    The topic of the meaning of life is currently one of the traditional for most humanitarian theories and practices, since it means identifying the underlying premises of the formation and development of the individual. Extensive acmeological experience has been accumulated by psychology, pedagogy, sociology, philosophy and other sciences in order to again and again confront a person with the problem of personal self-determination.
    Chudnovsky B.E. (Moscow) The problem of the optimal meaning of life * In psychosocial literature, the meaning of life is usually characterized as a phenomenon that ensures a normal and productive life of a person, the loss of which can have tragic consequences. K. Obukhovsky notes: “Just as the property of a bird is the need to fly, so the property of an adult is the need to find its own meaning
  12. An empirical typology of the meanings of life in the USA and Russia
    In recent years, the popularity of the meaning of life as a subject of research has been steadily increasing among psychologists. In the new project, “Classifications of Human Positive Abilities,” the meaning of life is called “the most human and, at the same time, the most elusive” of all the positive characteristics of a person and defined as “the presence of a person’s connected ideas about the highest goal and meaning of the world and its place in it "
    This direction has not yet been canonized, and Victor Frankl (1905) is our contemporary. In 1985, he came to the Soviet Union and successfully delivered two lectures at Moscow University, which gathered a large audience from all over the country. His work in the pre-perestroika period was almost unknown to us. The first large publication, “A Man in Search of Meaning,” with an introduction by the author in our country, was published in 1990
  14. Sense of life and values ​​of children at risk
    In psychological research, the term refers to the awareness of the relationship to life goals. When comprehending his own life, a person is in a state of equilibrium with the environment, in the absence of meanings, problems appear in life and self-realization. The main components of meaning in psychology are the integration of personal and social reality, the explanation and interpretation of life and the purpose of life
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