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Nathanael Garrett Novosel, February 3 2021

Finding and Strengthening Meaning During the Pandemic

The pandemic has caused a lot of soul-searching and deep questions on the meaning of life.  The biggest one is whether people can find deeper meaning in their lives through COVID-19, but they are also asking why things like this happen.  Let's address these questions in this post:

Why do bad things happen?

For “good” things (i.e. things you want) to exist, “bad” things (i.e., things you don’t want) also have to exist.  The reason is that, as Shakespeare wrote, nothing is inherently good or bad, but thinking makes it so.  COVID-19 might seem like an indisputable “bad” thing, but what if it killed the next Hitler?  What if it saved millions of lives because of the catastrophes it averted?  Then, it might be considered a good thing with unfortunate, devastating collateral damage.  Fires can hurt you or cook your food, mold can irritate your lungs or break down rotten food to fertilize soil, and bacteria can infect you or help you digest food in your intestines.  Similarly, for growth to occur, there has to be something you don’t have that, if you grow, you will have in the future.  That’s how growth works.  If you had everything, you couldn’t grow.  You could never have a new idea, a new solution, or a new experience.

What is deeper meaning?

Deeper meaning either refers to solidifying or strengthening the meaning you’ve already established or finding “greater” meaning—i.e., meaning that’s greater than yourself.  We'll discuss both in the following answer.

How can I find deeper meaning through COVID-19?

There are a few ways to find or strengthen your meaning during the pandemic:

Ultimately, it’s up to you to find that deeper meaning in life through this event.  Can you help other people and find greater purpose through this event?  Can you build desire to do the things you always wanted to do when this is over?  Can you do the things you never had time to do inside by yourself now while you have the opportunity?  If you can do those things, then you can find deeper or greater meaning through the pandemic—or anywhere for that matter.

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Nathanael Garrett Novosel

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