Ikigai 生き甲斐

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Ikigai (生き甲斐, pronounced [ikigai]) is the Japanese equivalent of the French, raison d’être. In English, these translate respectively as ‘something one lives for’ and ‘a reason for being’. Although the meanings are similar, cultural attitudes toward the concept they embody differ.

Few possess a raison d’être. Those who live with an enduring passion for something can be consumed by it to the detriment of social relationships and a “normal” lifestyle. Thus, there are desirable and undesirable aspects to having a raison d’être.

Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.

Credit to: journalofanobody and artemisdreaming – Tumblr

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One response to “Ikigai 生き甲斐

  1. This is an intriguing concept. For schizophrenics, schizoaffectives, and perhaps those on the autistic spectrum, the sense of self does not exist (effectively, research shows, they are without an ego, which is what makes the dis-ease so tortuous), so how would this apply? In what, I wonder, could someone suffering under these mental condition and existential consciousness find meaning and purpose through a lengthy search of self? By nature, these individuals are withdrawn, introverted, introspective, but are also capable of quite profound depths of empathy. . .yet still be unable to find that meaning in life which holds the “self” together. As they possess no switch that distinguishes the internal from the external. It is an intriguing question.

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