Friday, October 2, 2020

Can Our Society Give Us Meaning for Life?

Korea recently has had one case after another of famous people killing themselves. This has puzzled and saddened the public and made them reflect on their situation and reflect on their own death. A university professor in the sociology department gives us her thoughts in an article in the Kyeongyang magazine.

These reports of suicide leave us with scars large or small, especially those who are familiar with those who have died; we ask ourselves what is the meaning of life and death what makes us continue to live?

Death is a part of life we don't know when but it is our destiny but some try to advance the date. Like life, the varied manifestation of the way it is lived is also true in the way some persons choose to end their lives. The reason to continue living is not found because of poverty, loss of employment, sickness, betrayal, loss of face, etc. When a person is not able to determine a reason to go on living are they not bothered with such thoughts? Why am I here?

Humans like animals have a strong survival instinct. The increase in the number of suicides is a problem for society but in our history, we have not seen any society with an endless number of suicides. It is precisely because we are human that a person can go against a strong instinct for survival. What makes a person overcome this strong survival instinct? The writer feels it is meaning. When a person has no meaning in life this is fatal.

Consequently, the means of decreasing the number of suicides, in theory, is simple. It is to give persons a reason to live. Before the modern era, this was not something that needed to be done for we had family, clan, tradition, the nation, religion, ideology, and the like which gave a person a collective reason and meaning to life. There was little reason for the person to look for individual meaning.

However, in our day do we have readily available a collective meaning, a social ideal, a common ideology, and the absolute to which to give ourselves as those in the past? Where do we go, to whom do we go to get the meaning of life and the assurance of its value?
We need to succeed in finding meaning in life. It's not something everyone can do by wanting to. This she feels is especially difficult in Korea. In society, it is to be recognized by others which gives one value. It is a business card. Those with this value system need the approval of others without something to show, nothing is achieved and the effort continues and the person loses freedom.

Today each person has to find their own meaning and values in life that will enable them to live a fruitful life. The world we are born into is different from the past because of the thinking of Nietzsche and those of the same school.  

This duty is beyond one's capabilities. In a world where everything is relativized and left without an absolute standard, many are walking a dangerous tightrope between different standards? What is the right answer to why we have to live? With our social structure, it is natural that society has a hard time convincing its members of a reason to go on living.

We always had to be something and reach somewhere. You are now in front of a completely different task. Learning that life can be full even if it doesn't work, even if it doesn't reach somewhere. Life has meaning but is always exposed to the "sea of meaninglessness" in much of society.

New ways of support and solidarity are needed for this era. First of all, each individual has their own burden in life that must be carried, but it is the interest of all of us to see whether individuals can survive this task well. The meaning of my life also hangs there.
Meaning is the product of relationships and communication. Each person has to live, but no one is the maker of one's own meaning alone.

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