What IS life to you:(1) a precious gift with immense value & meaning, (2) an earthly school in
which important & relevant lessons are given with the ultimate purpose of learning & evolvement, (3) a choicless, accidental occurrence similar to playing dice, (4) a grey, monotonous existence which is akin to a tolerable purgatory, (5) an earthy penitentiarial sentence and the anteroom to death, or (6) an extremely perilous navigation which can be quite hellish? Detail the reasons for your particular assessment regarding life.
I subscribe to the first two of these. I don't think No1 rules out No2 or vice-versa. Finding the 'meaning' becomes a long-term project; believing that we humans are evolving as a species engenders optimism - in me, anyway.
As for the other, my opinion is that if people feel this way it is because they are IDENTIFYING and immersing themselves in their feelings rather than realizing they are NOT the experience - which is always temporary and ever-changing - but the EXPERIENCER. Once that becomes clear to them, they'll automatically become No1 and No2s or both.
One of the most interesting facets to life is that it can be all of these things at different times. Occasionally, it can be more than one of them at the very same time. But judging life on average, I have to say that numbers one, two, and four are the only options I can justify. The others are too dark for my consideration. Life is far too interesting to characterize it so negatively, or in the case of #3, so arbitrarily. However, I take issue with every one of your choices for one reason or another.
Number 4, because some of life is painfully orchestrated for us. At least in the culture I am familiar with, you have family and job duties that consume huge portions of your time. In our early years we have what seems like never-ending school. Some of these responsibilities take on the feel of drudgery, and with that feeling comes the sense of a lack of choice. We feel trapped to some extent in the obligations of our day to day activities in a monotonous existence. But characterizing it as a tolerable purgatory is a bit too drastic, because there are still moments that light the way past thinking of these limitations.
Number 2, because the benefits of learning experiences are so rewarding they simply cannot be ignored. However, characterizing this ongoing process as having an "ultimate purpose" is a philosophical choice that is not necessary to appreciate the value of life's education. Purpose is an attribute that may or may not be involved. But the learning and the pleasure derived from it are undeniable.
Number 1, because it is also undeniable that there is value to this existence, even if it is only the pleasure derived from the experiencing of it. But your choice of the words 'meaning' and 'gift' tend to color this choice as a decidedly religious response, complete with overtones of supernatural intervention. I believe there is meaning in life, but that we establish that meaning for ourselves through our actions, reactions, and choices along the way. If we judge that the 'gift' of life comes from our parents having conceived, delivered, and nurtured us, then I can "live" with this option more comfortably.
1) and 2) mainly.
Remembering 2) is of great benefit in times of trial.
6) seems quite close to the truth... just small glimpses of light and the higher realms makes one realize how dense this place is :-))
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