2012 – 8th Grade National 3rd Place Winner

Haley Hegefeld, Texas.

What is the meaning of life ?

The question of “the meaning of life” is looking for a generic answer that does not give enough meaning to an individual. The meaning of life is inevitably decided by the person because the meaning is to find a place in the surrounding people and eventually, the world, whatever you may choose that to be.

There are 206 bones in a human body, yet only 20 are named by a group of people when asked. Every bone has a separate purpose but when asked what a bone does, the people do not answer, “which bone?” Instead they give a general, school-taught idea that bones give us structure. Because of bones’ wide-spread use, they relate people to each other. Everyone has bones, though some are used to play soccer while some strum a guitar (their individual purpose). Still, everybody has them.

The meaning of life is much like the example above. A meaning takes the form of unification. The meaning of life unifies the human race and relates them to each other. Unfortunately, in doing this, it does not give enough information about an individual’s purpose; like asking what a bone does then the answer being structure, does not answer what the skull does as an individual.

At the atomic level, electrons are moving, being shared in covalent bonds, and interacting with the other electrons and atoms surrounding it. This is what they are recognized for; this is their purpose. Like an atom, a human interacts with everything around it, whether it be directly or indirectly. One of the first things a human does when they wake up is interact with those around them. With every interaction, they inevitably gain knowledge and most likely, become more at one with people around them. Finding one’s place in the people around them is the meaning of their life. This is the meaning of life in the years because one gains a “niche” in the world.

Eventually, the individual above will hopefully be able to retain a job, like a veterinarian, or a duty, like mothering children. This will give them a role, a niche, so to speak. This furthers the process of finding a place in a bigger picture, which is the meaning of life. However, this leaves the meaning of life up to this individual. This means that a person will inevitably have a choice in the meaning of life, which makes much more sense than saying that everyone’s meaning is to “live life to the fullest” or “age gracefully.” At a point, a person will find a place that makes them feel more at one with the bigger picture of the world than any other place, and in this, this individual has found their meaning.

In conclusion, the meaning of life is to find a place in the bigger picture, where one feels like they have a purpose. This allows a person to have sentiment in their meaning which makes it all the more sensible to answer. As a bone has an individual meaning, so does a person.


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