Please correct me if you think I am wrong, but it has become apparent to me that meaning - in the senses of significance of one's own life, purpose and sense-making - and values are inextricably linked, but what I am wondering is: what is this link? Is it causal? If so, in which direction? Do they somehow mediate each other to some degree?

Any thoughts and/or references to learn more about this relationship would be greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


Causality between values and meaning is as follows: The instinct of self-preservation manifests as the intrinsic value of self-preservation; when coupled with knowledge of death, this value takes on the instrumental aim of abstract self-preservation, or meaning -- in the form of legacy, symbolic immortality, or being a part of something greater.

For an overview on the origin of values, see my answer on the nature of personal values.

Put simply, the will to live on, plus the thought of death, can resolve in meaning.

  • This makes a lot of sense. Could you point me in the direction of some papers, articles or books to learn more on the subject? Commented May 5, 2022 at 20:55

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