Cyprus Turkish Journal of Psychiatry & Psychology Vol.2 Issue.3



Meaning in/of Life: Discovery, Invention or Both?

Yaşamda Anlam: Keşif, İcat Ya Da Her İkisi?

Pinar Dursun1, Pinar Alyağut2

Recently, endless questions about the meaning in/of life have become a growing theoretical research topic especially within the contribution of positive psychology. Research findings suggest that experiencing meaning in life contributes significantly to psychological resilience, well-being, and health. While some people do not hesitate to look for more, even if there is meaning in their lives, some people do not even bother to bring this question to mind. In this paper, our aim is to discuss whether meaningful life can be achieved through a discovery or an invention with two leading perspectives-Frankl and Baumeister- and with recent empirical findings especially on traumatic events. First, Frankl believed that in any case, an individual should try to protect his honor and should discover a deeper meaning under the suffering. On the other hand, Baumeister suggested that there is no hidden or broad meaning in life independent from the person. Meaning can only be constructed by the individual by the satisfaction of four criteria that culture presents. Nevertheless, recent empirical research especially on resilience and trauma literature has revealed that a meaningful life can be achieved through the interplay of these two systems/processes-discovery and invention- especially in dealing with trauma. In conclusion, meaning of life can be characterized by a “degree” matter rather than “all-or-none” and the construction or discovery of life are complementary processes.

Keywords: Meaning Of Life, Meaning In Life, Meaning, Logotherapy, Existential Psychology


1Assistant Professor, Afyon Kocatepe University, Department of Psychology Afyonkarahisar, Turkey, Orcid İd: 0000-0002-1451-0998

2Research Assistant, Afyon Kocatepe University, Department of Philosophy, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey, Orcid İd: 0000-0002-9903-9831

Address of correspondence/Yazışma adresi: Afyon Kocatepe University, Art & Science Faculty, Department of Psychology, 03200, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey. E.mail: 

Date of Received/Geliş Tarihi: 10.05.2020, Date of Revision/Düzeltme Tarihi: 14.07.2020, Date of Acceptance/Kabul Tarihi: 25.07.2020, Date of Online Publication/Çevirimiçi Yayın Tarihi: 27.10.2020

Citing/Referans Gösterimi: Citing/ Referans Gösterimi: Dursun, P., Alyağut, P. (2020). Meaning in/of Life: Discovery, Invention or Both?. Cyprus Turkish Journal of Psychiatry & Psychology, 2(3): 180-186

© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Cyprus Mental Health Institute / Cyprus Turkish Journal of Psychiatry and Psychology ( This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for comme rcial purposes.