2049 – the Personal Meaning of Life

We began this series *) about the meaning of life with this phrase from Harari’s 21 Challenges for the 21st century:

“How do you live in an age of bewilderment, when the old stories have collapsed, and no new story has yet emerged to replace them? What will keep us busy when our jobs become obsolete? A new quest for meaning is required. In the future, virtual worlds may take over and socially-constructed systems of meaning could lose their meaning”.

Our thinking efforts till now

As a first entry point, we took the meaning of life as a belief system or ideology derived from philosophical, religious and scientific inquiries about happiness, existence, consciousness and social ties. We came up with some types of ideologies that might emerge in the future (>25 yrs). Then we explored how the 4th industrial revolution will influence the meaning of life. These two approaches provide us the context of the last point of entry. We ask you to speculate about:

“What might give life meaning, given the context of belief systems and the environment of merged bio- en information technology in 2049?”

“What would you want to achieve”

Thinking steps

But first, go over the notes you made, then proceed with the thinking tool Key Values Involved.

The K.V.I. tool looks at the values involved in a situation. With the K.V.I. we can check our own values and the values of others.

Values exist in a wide range, such as obvious, subtle, and new values; value changes; important, less important, negative values and contradictory values.

List in 2 minutes, not less, not more, as many as possible positive values, things to fight for:

  • what activities bring you the most joy
  • what you couldn’t live without.
  • what gives your life meaning
  • what do you want to achieve?

List in 2 minutes, not more, not less as many as possible negative values, to avoid:

  • what activities bore you the most?
  • what could you live without?
  • what sucks energy in your life?
  • what do you want to avoid?

Keep in mind that life has transported you 25 years from now!

  • Narrow down the lists to those things that are the most important to have and to avoid.
  • When everything seems important, first throw out what is not so important. Then from what is left, pick out what is most important.
  • When you cannot narrow down the priorities, try combining some of them.
  • With contradictory values, try to design a way to satisfy both values.

After that, you’ll likely see a pattern that you can boil down into a single phrase about the ”meaning of life”.

  • Who am I?
  • What should I do in life?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Who determines what is a meaningful life?

More about ranking positive and negative values, download this useful help.

*) In this series about the meaning of life:


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