Meaning of Life: A Perspective of Javanese Local Wisdom

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Tyas Martika Anggriana et al.


Meaning is the main element needed to achieve happiness; including the meaning of life. In many studies, meaning of life is defined in terms of purpose, significance, or a multifaceted construct. One of the empirical reviews that is still necessitated in the study of meaning of life is the one which focuses on significance. This article attempts to provide answers to this question according to the perspective of the local wisdom of the Samin tribe as a part of the Javanese tribe. The Samin tribe is the name presented to the community that adheres to a doctrine in regards to “laku” or behavior that is believed to be taught by Samin Surosentiko. In other words, they are also known as “Sedulur Sikep”. Historically it can be traced that their presence was closely related to the passive resistance to the Dutch colonial government that colonized Indonesia around the 19th century. For the Samin tribe, there are no colonial laws. Instead, there are only laws of action, speech and necessity, which include not committing crimes, not arguing, not fighting, not having jealousy, not coveting or stealing, and not lying or slandering. The Samin tribe teaches these values to their generation because they believe that if they behave and act based on these values, they will live happily. The technique used is referred to as “kanda/pitutur” or giving advice by giving examples. This study used a qualitative approach in the form of phenomenology to understand the personal dimensions of the subject’s subjective experience on the meaning of the values of kanda/pitutur of sedulur sikep. The data were collected through in-depth interviews and observations on the Samin people. The data were analyzed in three stages, which were phenomenological reduction, eidetic reduction, and transcendental reduction. The results of this study provide a description of the reasons that make life worth living; as a transformation of the significance of meaning of life. The cognitive dimension as an evaluative component is related to self-acceptance, self-control, productive attitudes, autonomy, and positive relationships and harmonization with fellow living beings. In addition, there are also the affective and motivational dimensions shown.

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