Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Robert Valenza

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What constitutes a meaningful life is perhaps the most crucial question we can ask ourselves throughout our lifetime; for what we know, the desire to become knowledgeable of a definitive answer is a journey traveled by humans as early as the 6th century BCE. Nonetheless, history illustrates various paths that brave individuals took to provide guidelines for today’s society to reflect on and choose whether or not they wish to follow them. To portray some of these philosophies in greater detail, we begin by exploring the term “meaning” from a metaphysical perspective and then the categories such philosophies might fall under. Our main discussion will emphasize a mathematical concept that might initially seem insufficient in answering such a complex and abstract question. However, by evaluating the mystical and mathematical properties of the Golden Ratio, we might get a glimpse into how we could begin to answer what makes one’s life meaningful. This mathematical phenomenon alone might still not be enough to convince readers that it has a place in living a meaningful life, so I will also introduce a philosophy that, coincidentally, began in the 6th century BCE - Taoism. The development of this philosophy, despite not being as well-known or practiced as other belief systems, provides fascinating insights, which we will notice have similarities with what we illustrate through Phi (Φ). I conclude that this seemingly unexpected synergy between Taoism and the Golden Ratio demonstrates a valid relationship that mathematics has with portraying how we can live well.