A One Word Quest for the Meaning of Life

by Sarah Hill

in Beautiful Thoughts

Since people have been able to think, they’ve been trying to figure out the meaning of life. One
woman asked her sister while on a road trip if she had to choose one word to describe life, what word
would she choose? The sister needed time to think as did everyone else they asked as they continued on
their journey. Receiving more answers from people they had encountered during the trip, their interest
grew in the quest for words. Not a single word was repeated within the first forty words they received,
and as they found more perspectives on the topic, the goal became clear and the One Word project was
born. The woman is now in the middle of her attempt to accumulate 10,000 words from all parts of the
world and add them to a word vault. The key to that vault is submitting your own word regarding life’s
meaning, instantly gaining access to over one thousand words thus far.

A simple search online will get you to a handful of websites with the same purpose. Many
people have shown interest in this subject and everyone seems to have their own opinion. Some are
weeding out a word to keep as their new year’s resolution and some are trying to find the meaning of
life in a word like the woman and her sister.

During the past few decades our world has gotten more violent, more dependent on
technology, and become bigger consumers and messier producers, but the first words in the vault
aren’t money, oil, or power. Instead, at the top of the list you’ll find love, family, and happiness. Despite
poverty, economic and environmental issues around the world, life is still about emotion and feeling.
We want good things in our lives and hold those things above the products our society has convinced us
we need.

The internet often acts as a big melting pot for our society. People are using the internet as their
personal brain, taking the thoughts of others to reinforce their own views. As more things accumulate at
our fingertips, the internet continues to be a growing resource for things just like the One Word project.

It seems that people have been tossing this life question around for quite some time, but why?
Is it because they have a growing curiosity? Or is there a deeper meaning? Humans are doubtful. It is our
nature so when someone begins to wonder about life and what it’s all about, they ask. In our modern
day society, asking doesn’t just mean chatting with friends and neighbors, a simple post on facebook
or a personal blog will generate responses from anyone, anywhere in the world that has access to a

As these websites begin to grow, we continue our search for satisfaction with our goals and
life. One thing that comes with sharing our thoughts on life with others is the verification or rejection
from our society. Once we have that, our goals have the potential to prosper or die under the scrutiny
of the public eye. The simple question about life can bring out the real needs in our society. Though our
priorities are often cluttered and jumbled in long lists that shift constantly in our minds, the true things
people want become clear.

We’re all going to continue our unique searches for life’s meaning. Whether in single word or a
series of long books, we must remember life holds a different meaning for every person, regardless of
back-grounds, opinions, skills, and resources. What is life’s meaning to you?

Previous post:

Next post: