Meaning and Identity

January 07, 2021

How can one live a meaningful life?

The answer lies in stories.

To live meaningfully is to believe a world story that you play an essential role in. A meaningless life is one where you don't matter.

Irrelevance is the ultimate existential threat.

As identity stories are the stories we tell about ourselves, world stories are the stories we tell about the world and how it works. For a world story to take hold, the person hearing it must believe that they play some meaningful role in it. Political world stories hinge upon this requirement.

This explains the incredible threat posed by automation. In many common world stories, individuals derive their status and meaning from their employment. If automation takes that employment away, we risk fracturing a large piece of their identity. This identity void creates an opening for irrelevance and despair.

The natural counter to this effect is reinvention. Adopt a new world story

This new world story can't contain the old hierarchies and structures that no longer exist. It must be one of transhumanism and adaptation of human meaning. In an automated world, stories of identity and status can no longer come primarily from employment hierarchy or income.


© 2020 Connor Daly