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The most important thing for someone seeking to probe beyond the veil obscuring reality is to ask unique questions. That is, to ask questions that have never been asked before, or to ask the old unanswered questions, but in a new way. To get an answer that is useful requires that something about the questions be slightly different, because if it’s the same old questions, asked in the same old way, you will get the same old answers.

If you want an answer you must ask your question in such a way that it is possible to answer it. That requires that the question be asked in a way that you have the resources of time, money, intelligence and effort, that will yield a usable result. If one of these is missing it is unlikely you will get an answer, and your efforts will be wasted. Here is an example of how to answer the formerly unanswerable question.

“What is the meaning of life?” It’s a pleasantly short question, but will usually flummox most people because there is something inscrutable about it. The problem is that it assumes there must have been some intelligent being before life existed to have wanted life, and to have created it for some purpose. Perhaps the purpose, the want, was simply to see if it could be done. There is no way of knowing what kind of being could create a purpose for life without somehow being in some sense alive themselves. That instantly falls into to the infinite regress of who created that being, who created the next one, etc…. But …

If we rephrase the question slightly to “What are the results of life?” it is possible to give an answer, and from that answer to double back and formulate a purpose that an intelligent being would intend. Of course, life might have been an accident for the intelligent being, but if that happened then there would be no meaning to life. Life was just an accident with no intended or inherent meaning.

Or, more positively, we could observe the results of living organisms and list the common properties they all have. From this list we could eliminate those which would not have a meaning, that is, those that are artifacts of the living process, but not the meaning itself. The mechanistic answer would be that the end result of life is to convert nonliving matter and energy into action, poop, and babies. The side effects of that process are poop and babies, the poop is the leftover byproduct of converting energy and matter into action and babies, and the babies’ function is to permit the process to continue until access to matter and energy runs out.

The end product of life that can be separated from the essential life process is action. Thus the next question becomes, “If the purpose of life is to create actions, what is the purpose of the actions created?” Those actions come back to creating more babies and poop, but there is the action component that is to a small degree independent of the process. If there is anything to be found that gives meaning to life, other than the fun process of doing it, it is to be found in the leftover actions made possible by life. This super-simplified explanation leads to …

The action of participating in life is the meaning of life.