From our early moments of recognizable individual human life at Carnegie Stages 10 through 23 there is an inborn direction of development.
For mind-expanding detail go the source of these images at embryology.med.unsw.edu.au
What is the meaning of life? We can see when scanning in retrospect back from stage 23 to 10 in these pictures of the Carnegie Stages of human development, a strong trend was being formed toward becoming a human being. However, if we were to look only at Stage 10 it would be difficult to see a difference between us and other animals, even chickens, and to form any idea of what that tiny fetus would become. The question “What is the meaning of life, or even its developmental direction?” becomes incomprehensible. We must let it follow the directions of its DNA coding.
From this chart, we can see that it takes a human embryo 58 days to reach the embryo Carnegie Stage that a chicken reached in 10 days. The general point illustrated by that observation is that the meaning of life is different for different creatures.
When we speak of the meaning of life for human beings, we begin with a fertilized egg, then a blastocyst, an embryo, a fetus, and then beyond the Carnegie Stages seen above through birth, infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood and old age. Each of these is an illustration of a living organism going through a normal biological life cycle and on to death.
But these do not begin to approach what we are asking when we say, “What is the meaning of life? Of my life?” We might ask if the meaning in life has gone up over the last hundred years as our life expectancy at age 10 in 1850 was to age 45 and now it’s over 70? It probably didn’t go up because of a better emotional world view but because of the discovery and suppression of the causes of disease. And yet here in the U.S., there is a consecutive three-year decline of life expectancy because of suicides known as “deaths of despair”, mostly because of self-medicating drugs. Go to World of Data Life Expectancy for an abundance of these kinds of statistics.
I think suicide is the extreme example of lost hope for a meaningful life by a person, and what I have been writing about are ways of restoring a meaningful hope back into people’s lives. There are billions of people alive today and every one of them has different goals for their lives, so it is an abstract and generalized answer. It is those goals that give those living people’s lives meaning and the hope of moving toward those goals is what gives them the courage to face the sufferings that are expected to occur.
Hope promotes life. I have searched for the kinds of hope that are universally available to every person and I have been evolving some concepts that are easily learned and applied. Once they are applied by a person everyone they encounter will become new sources of hope and of a meaningful life for them.
The universal source of hope is kind actions toward another being. These kinds of actions as they are done create habits of kindness towards one’s own being, and if you apply them you will soon find that you are living with a very kind and helpful person… You! Here is the 5th idea to be explored and tested.
5. —helping everyone to find meaning in their lives by helping them find a personal path to unbounded hope and infinite kindness.
Idea 5 expands on the other concepts by moving beyond your own kind acts and showing the paths toward kindness to other people. You can do kind acts for the unknown people who will follow your path without those others even being aware of your actions. These are your voluntary acts, and they are always obviously in your control and thus are not setting you up to be taken advantage of. But doing visible acts is even better.
When you do something out of your own personal kindness, it remains yours forever.