Виталий Гагауз
Director of the Department of Appraisal and Collateral Operations, Pivdenny Bank
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The worst thing is to live a meaningless life – with no idea, virtually no purpose. Idea, aim, sense –  one and the same. Nowadays, the problem number 1 is the masses of people, like tumbleweeds, who live one day, with basic needs and desires, or who have become surrogate parents of other people’s meanings.

Wanderers in jobs, relationships, cities and countries. The lack of meaning goes off scale. Instead of deep individual meanings, there is a mass of fakes and manipulations. The horizon of their plans rarely goes beyond a couple of months. A person without the meaning of life has no kernel, it is easy to convince, redirect. They are easy to manipulate.

As Vasily Shukshin said, “Neither mind, nor truth, nor the real power, not a single living idea! How do they rule us? One explanation remains – through our own stupidity. The peculiarity of our time is that there is freedom of choice. Freedom of choice of meaning. The era of totalitarian regimes temporarily receded. There is a window for freedom of choice. All books and all knowledge are open”.

Goals give meaning to life. Aims organize a person’s time, space and energy. Lofty goals are like the ledges of a mountain, onto which a person consciously throws a rope and, step by step, raises himself (his reality). Somewhere it is easy, somewhere with effort or extra effort.

An aimless person is like a loose leaf flying in different directions. Where the wind goes, there he goes. Moving from big goals to small goals lowers the sense of meaning, energy, and engagement. Small goals are good for their availability in resources, time and feasibility. Having achieved small goals, many feel the need for large ones. Big goals scare and drive at the same time, fill life with a vector of movement and energy. Goals provide energy and meaning.

It’s good when ideas, goals, meanings find a person on their own. Then he, obsessed with the idea, moves towards the dream. There is no problem of choice, throwing, weighing, etc. Only forward! And there are plenty of such examples. From famous politicians to businessmen and the military. It is much more difficult if you need to choose the purpose or meaning of life (or, even worse, create it yourself).

Desire appears first. Yes, the very desire that can give rise to suffering, and can fill life with meaning. Desire for family, children, career, travel, car, housing, fame, etc. It exists for a long time. If desire outgrows, evolves into a goal, then a vector of movement appears. The motion vector mobilizes time, energy and space. That is, the goal is to mobilize available resources, search for missing ones.

In this way, goals inflate the sails of life and set routes for movement. Therefore, at some point in life, the realization of the goal becomes the meaning of life. Like this: goals set the meaning of life. Various age crises, and in particular a midlife crisis, are connected precisely with the fact that the basic goals-meanings have been achieved or have become irrelevant.

And new ones need to be conceived and given birth. And here’s the problem. The basic ones were unconscious, absorbed from parents, society and childhood. And new ones already arise with experience and understanding of life, and most importantly – of oneself.




What are the meanings? They can be large and small, sublime and mundane, short-term and long-term, general and private, ours and others, accepted and imposed, local and global, etc.

First, there is a need for them, like for a child. There are thoughts, analysis, choices. The meaning is conceived. It can be conceived easily, or it may not be the first time. The more global and sublime the meaning, the more difficult and longer it may be to bear it.

Of course, there are viral, socially imposed meanings. They stick and then, until they are realized, do not lag behind. Penetrating into the subconscious through advertising or envy of someone who has something that you do not have. They can be unconscious, that is, subconscious. Then a person on autopilot spends part of his life and resources on “not his goal”, a strange, in fact, unwanted child is born.

True meanings cannot be external. They are nurtured in silence, in the depths of consciousness. This is a deliberate path. To give birth to something new, a new meaning is the path of the few. It is much easier not to strain and use ready-made templates of society. But it was like that before.

At the present time, the society is heterogeneous even on the local territory, and access to targeted advertising is unlimited. Therefore, not many people manage to endure and give birth to their meaning. More often people fall into the trap and are surrogate parents of other people’s  imposed meanings.

If the meaning is true (by internal reference), then it gives energy and helps with resources. If the meaning is imposed, then it depletes. And its realization does not bring sincere joy and happiness.


The criteria for the truth of the meaning:


  • gives energy and stamina;
  • helps with resources;
  • when realized, it gives a feeling of joy and happiness;
  • there is a feeling of deep satisfaction from having done something important and necessary.

So can you find the meaning? It is possible, but it will be someone else’s meaning, with all the ensuing consequences. True meaning can only be conceived and given birth independently.

The life of meaning is like the life of a person: conception, birth, growing up, aging and death. Yes, meanings can die too. And we have seen this more than once with the change of eras and values. Even within the life of one person. The persistence of meanings depends on a higher order. From the values ​​and ideas they serve.

If a person thinks that he is serving no one and nothing, then the trap succeeded. It means that it subconsciously can serve both high and low goals and values.

Those who have acquired meanings are afraid of losing them. Those who have lost their meanings are afraid to find them. The nature of fear is the same in both cases. It is connected with the fact that both the acquisition and the loss of the meaning of life radically change life. Those who have lost their meaning are rolling downhill like a tumbleweed. Although it is destructive for them, it is terribly easy.

Those who have acquired and then exhausted or realized it, understand that the empty burning of life is no longer their way. And they try their best to repeat, and less often they realize that they need to give birth to a new meaning. And yet, besides the ultimate goals and meanings, there are endless ones. But this may already be a completely different story.

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