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As with all animals, we are born, some of us reproduce, and we all eventually die. Unlike other animals, we worry about where our lives are going. Many of us can make important choices, which influence how our lives turn out. Within limits, we can choose to work or be idle; we can choose whom to befriend, whether to have children, and what kind of job or career we follow.
Throughout history, human beings have asked themselves the question
of what is the best way to live. What makes life worthwhile? What, if
anything, makes life meaningful? These questions raise further questions
of how we should treat others. Humanists believe that we have an obligation
to make responsible and informed choices to help our lives and the lives
of others go in a worthwhile and fulfilling direction.
We are very small and insignificant in comparison with the vast size and age of the universe; but size is irrelevant to the question of meaning. Some people think that if there is no life after death and if we are limited in time, then life is somehow meaningless and pointless. But our individual lives and feelings are still important to us and to others even if we cannot make sense of importance from some mysterious cosmic viewpoint. The fact that life comes to an end does not make it meaningless. Its brevity can make it all the more precious and the fact it has an end is essential for it to have a structure.
Humanists, without belief in gods and afterlives, have to create their own meanings. They do so without any illusions about their own importance in the grand scheme of things or any concern for reward or punishment after death. The main thing is to try to flourish in oneself and with others in the real world of life. We don't get another chance and life is not a rehearsal.