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Dave Lim

TEDx Ambassador, TEDxSingapore

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What brings you deep joy, meaning, purpose in life?

What brings you deep joy, meaning, purpose in life?

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    Nov 25 2011: I'd have to separate the joy from the meaning and purpose a little, in that some of the times I'm most joyful I'm also most purposeless, engaged in fairly meaningless activity, laughing at great comedy, lost in music, meditation, sex or other highs.

    Nowadays, my sense of purpose comes without much joy: it's everything from day-to-day chores, which I can "enjoy" but don't bring me "deep joy", to political engagement, which is a rather anxious attempt to educate myself and take part in campaigns to build a better future - or, as I sometimes put it, build a future. It is hard to be purposeful or joyful about the human condition, when I grew up in the shadow of nuclear annihilation during the Cold War, and now am informed that similar conditions may be starting to develop again, with the time in between full of wars and famines, attrocities and slavery, ecological violence with the threat of global meltdown, economic crisis and an increasing gap between rich and poor. It comes with relief and guilt that I haven't personally suffered very much, as I live on the crumbs of capitalist greed in the peaceful (for now) English countryside. By global standards, I'm filthy rich.

    Meaning is harder still. I do get a certain mixture of joy and meaning from learning more about the universe, the kind of "grandeur" that Darwin talked of. It's curiously satisfying trying to understand what seems always beyond comprehension, puzzling over the evidence that an emergent human intelligence is trying to make sense of the apparently purposeless process that gave rise to it.

    When I was religious these three seemed more connected. I think that's the main attraction of religions. It's how they get you. Meaning was explained in yoga books, onto which I awkwardly and grudgingly tacked scientific facts.The overarching purpose was to "gain Enlightement", to "reach Nirvana", which was a wish for immortality. That possibility brought joy at the expense of awareness and joined-up thinking.
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    Nov 26 2011: Hope.
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    Nov 21 2011: What brings me deep joy, meaning, purpose in life?
    Whatever I'm doing in the moment:>)
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    Nov 21 2011: By realizing that there is no objective purpose to my life and realizing that every moment to moment experience that I have matters because living in the present is the only way that I can live. Also being in nature.

    I have not watched the Rick Warren video but in his talk is he talking about his book "The Purpose Driven Life"?
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    Nov 21 2011: There are two interpretations to your question. The first is, What ticks all three boxes? ( i.e. deep joy, and meaning, and purpose). The second is, what ticks any of the three boxes? (i.e. deep joy, or meaning, or purpose.)

    As I think that meaning and purpose are practically synonyms, I am going to assume that you want to know what ticks all three boxes. In which case I am interested to know if you believe that, if a person has meaning and purpose in life then they must also have deep joy?

    What brings meaning and purpose to life is such an important question, because at a fundamental level if we are going to have any hope of improving ourselves, of living better lives, we need something to move us. We need motivation.

    I consider that if we can find meaning, a purpose in life, we have a flame that will drive us forward. That will transform intentions into action.

    For many people in the world their faith is what provides them with meaning and purpose, and if they experience religious rapture, then I am sure this ticks the deep joy box as well.

    I derive meaning and purpose from a deep appreciation for the gift of life and a wish to make the most of each precious moment. This is not a religious devotion, I am just damn grateful for being here. As for deep joy, this box doesn't get ticked just because I have meaning and purpose. It is more like a light that comes on every now and again whenever I experience those blissful moments that are the icing on life's cake.

    A very interesting question, I do hope you get lots of replies.
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    Nov 21 2011: Being groomed by peers.
  • Nov 21 2011: I fnd joy and purpose in life with my family and firends, having fun and sharing experiences together. I also find purpose in life discussing topics here in TED and elsewhere, helping less fortunate people and following technology and scientific progress.
  • Nov 29 2011: In no particular order

    Loving

    Nature

    Books and Learning

    Writing

    Music

    Eating

    Sex

    Exercise

    Travel
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    Nov 22 2011: Life.

    Breathing.

    Gratitude.

    Appreciation.
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    Nov 21 2011: Not very much.
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    Nov 21 2011: 1) Being with the people I love and care for
    2) working on projects that are within my range of passions
    3) enjoying beauty (in nature, food, and other senses)