Book Chapter

The four needs for meaning, the value gap, and how (and whether) society can fill the void

AW Crescioni, RF Baumeister

The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies | Published : 2013


We present four needs for meaning that humans seek to fulfill in order to view their lives as meaningful - purpose, value justification, self-efficacy, and self-worth. We discuss the shift in sources of meaning, arguing that the erosion of the societal influence of religion - traditionally the central source for meaning in people's lives - has led to a value gap which modern society has attempted to fill. The successes and failures society has encountered in this attempt are discussed. Lastly, we discuss the consequences this value gap may have for society moving forward.

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