Tagged: meaning of life

On Life, Focus, and Wasting Time

If awareness is our essence, then human life, as experienced, is everything you did not miss. Of course, our mind’s gaze, like our eye’s, will necessarily miss most things — almost all things, proportionally. It follows that the fullest life possible to us is not the one which chases the greatest quantity of sights — a fool’s errand, given the natural limits of...

Limits Imposed and Removed

Jorge Luis Borges, one of my favorite modern writers, published two distinct but similar poems called “Limits,” dealing with roughly the same philosophical theme, namely the gradual narrowing of our remaining experience as we grow older. I wish to discuss the shorter of the two poems, which, although less well-known, is the one I prefer. I begin with Borges’ work itself, which I...

What Modern Parents Say vs. What They Mean

“Now that you are close to graduating, you have to focus on getting a safe, comfortable job as quickly as possible.” Meaning: I don’t believe you can accomplish anything really worthwhile in life, so you shouldn’t waste your time trying. “A stable career is the most important thing.” Meaning: Money is the most important thing. “Get your head out of the clouds and...

Limbo’s Greatest Hits: #3

Our age is obsessed with pleasure. And pleasure, in our materialist late modernity, has been defined down to its emptiest core: the active rejection and anxious avoidance of pain, every kind of pain, from the most superficial discomfort with one’s immediate situation (consider our fixation on the evils of “stress”) to the relativization and diminution of all purposes and relationships. God forbid, after...

Limbo’s Greatest Hits: #7

Our Readers’ Choice countdown of the most popular posts here in Limbo over the past year — since August 1st, 2018 to be precise — continues today with an item that sprang directly out of a conversation I had shared last November with a student who frequently visits me to engage in a sort of running consultation about her experiences, emotions, and efforts...

The Art of Uncertainty, Part One

Even in today’s deteriorated educational climate, many university students are still surprisingly susceptible to confusion and self-doubt about “meaning of life” questions. In other words, they are still capable of responding to life as tender spirits, rather than merely as products on the assembly line at the worker-unit factory. In fact, such confusion and self-doubt, though now treated as grounds for a trip...

A Taste for Expensive Things

How much would you pay for the most valuable thing in the world? If you are a believer in the free market, you might immediately have noticed that the question is deceptive, as it implies that there is a “most valuable thing,” independent of your judgment of its worth to you, whereas all advocates of economic liberty understand that there is no value...

Life Lived vs. Life Unlived

Yesterday, a university junior I had not seen in a while stopped by my office to talk about her life these days, or rather her frustrated sense that she was not really living a life, but merely, as she put it, “enduring” one. She expressed concern that her existence, consisting almost entirely of study perceived as an obligation, a part-time job perceived as...