Is Life a Labyrinth or a Maze? ~ a philosophical question

The two words are used synonymously but they actually mean something different. A labyrinth is a maze where all you have to do is walk and keep walking and you will reach the centre:

As long as you simply follow the path, you will reach the centre.

A maze on the other hand has false trails, dead ends and sometimes pitfalls. You have to explore all the turnings, even when many are ones that turn you back on yourself:

You can get totally lost in a maze: people have to be rescued from the famous one at Hampton Court. A labyrinth is different: you just keep going and follow the path ahead.

But if you get to the centre eventually, does it make a difference how long it took, or how short a time?

Is it the journey that is important or the destination?

Which is your life: maze or labyrinth?

6 thoughts on “Is Life a Labyrinth or a Maze? ~ a philosophical question

  1. Definitely a maze, Viv. I can’t believe any life is a labyrinth! I’m sure others may differ. Though I’m not into the idea of a life requiring rescue by others – maybe some guidance along the way, some hints and help. The time it takes seems irrelevant to me, as it’s the journey that’s important. I don’t really see a centre as such, more a series of chapters with emerging meaning and probably a sense of moving beyond the confines of the self into something greater which takes you out of the maze altogether – maybe into the ocean!


  2. mine is a labyrinth with nearly impassable hills and gulleys.
    heavy smoke makes me forget which way is forward and so i go backwards sometime . other times i am so confused i just sit still and wait.
    Fortunately I have others on the journey to keep me going ,mostly forward.

    journey /destination/ journey /destination …..coin flips forever

    I love the word labyrinth.



  3. A maze, it’s all too easy to get turned around and hopelessly lost! This does not mean I want rescuing though, I’ll stubbornly starve in a cul-de-sac before asking for help!


  4. Mine is definitely a maze. It’s a journey still being travelled. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I can’t help but think if your life is a labyrinth it isn’t much of a life. I couldn’t imagine having my life all planned/panned out for me like that. Okay, in one respect a labyrinth might seem easy and carefree but I’d get bored pretty quickly.


  5. Life cannot be a maze because time only flows one direction. Even in a maze (as in a river) you cannot go over the same place twice. You can think you’re stuck in a dead-end and have to retrace, but really its just a loop. It may look like there are choices, places to turn aside. Not really. That other path is an illusion. Unless you take it. Then it is the path and …

    Beautiful labyrith picture.

    There is a nice explination/description of the Labyrinth in some scifi (fantasy) book, one of the Amber Series. You just have to keep walking forward in life, or it ends. Is the author’s name something Scott? So long ago I read those books. Very out of this world; very real.


  6. Minotaurs and silken threads, the labyrinth is a very rich metaphor for life it seems to me. Not dissimilar to the spirals that seem to form a vital part of shaman symbology fro travelling from the earth plane to the world of the spirits. The spiral is an upward labyrinth, not one set at ground level where we plod along still in the same dimension and linearity, just with the visible path occluded by fences.


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