The meaning of life, or the answer to the question: "What is the meaning of life?"
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that do have biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased, or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate.
In biology, an organism is any individual entity that propagates the properties of life.
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, pertains to the significance of living or existence in general.
Existence, in its most generic terms, comprises the state of being real and the ability to physically interact with the universe or multiverse.
A gene is a locus of DNA which is made up of nucleotides and is the molecular unit of heredity.
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Many other related questions include: "Why are we here?"
, "What is life all about?"
, or "What is the purpose of existence?"
There have been a large number of proposed answers to these questions from many different cultural and ideological backgrounds.
An ideology is a collection of normative beliefs and values that an individual or group holds for other than purely epistemic reasons.
Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies.
The search for life's meaning has produced much philosophical, scientific, theological, and metaphysical speculation throughout history.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
Different people and cultures believe different things for the answer to this question.
The meaning of life as we perceive it is derived from philosophical and religious contemplation of, and scientific inquiries about existence, social ties, consciousness, and happiness.
Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.
In mathematical sociology, interpersonal ties are defined as information-carrying connections between people.
Many other issues are also involved, such as symbolic meaning, ontology, value, purpose, ethics, good and evil, free will, the existence of one or multiple gods, conceptions of God, the soul, and the afterlife.
Conceptions of God in monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist religions – or of the supreme deity in henotheistic religions – can extend to various levels of abstraction:
The afterlife is the belief that the essential part of an individual's identity or the stream of consciousness continues after the death of the physical body.
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.
Scientific contributions focus primarily on describing related empirical facts about the universe, exploring the context and parameters concerning the "how" of life.
A fact is a thing that is known to be consistent with objective reality and can be proven to be true with evidence.
Science also studies and can provide recommendations for the pursuit of well-being and a related conception of morality.
Well-being, wellbeing, welfare or wellness is a general term for the condition of an individual or group, for example their social, economic, psychological, spiritual or medical state; a high level of well-being means in some sense the individual or group's condition is positive, while low well-being is associated with negative happenings.
An alternative, humanistic approach poses the question, "What is the meaning of my life?"
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition.
Humans are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina, a branch of the tribe Hominini belonging to the family of great apes.