The Journal of Humanistic Psychology has used a (not-so?) scientific analysis of 238 quotations by 195 different people (from Rousseau to Bob Dylan) to find an answer to this question.
The Top 10 Answers:
- Life is to be enjoyed (17%)
- We are here to love and help others (13%)
- It is a mystery (13%)
- There is no cosmic meaning (11%)
- We are here to serve or worship God (11%)
- Life is a struggle (8%)
- We must make a contribution to society (6%)
- Our mission in life is to seek wisdom/truth, and to become self-actualized (6%)
- We must create meaning for ourselves (5%)
- Life is absurd or a joke (4%)
From Social Studies, Globe and Mail (A14, Aug. 18, 2003).