Tagged: meaning of life

The Attraction of the Sea

The sea is bigger than you are, more powerful than you are, more frightening than you are, and more permanent than you are. It is also more beautiful and desirable than you are. The sea is not impressed by you, and never could be. The sea will never think, “I am so fortunate that you have come to me.” It may never notice...

My Morality

Everything that makes life worth living is something we do not have. That is how it makes life worth living. If we had it, there would be no reason to continue. This means that desire is the evidence of everything meaningful in our lives. The voices of the modern world tell us every day that we should “live for our desires,” but they really...

You Have To Be Alive First

As Nietzsche has become far and away the most dominant thinker of the age, his most savage and radical ideas have (as he himself may have foreseen) become trivialized and democratized — a pair of adjectives Nietzsche would have regarded as a redundancy. In other words, what is dominant today is not so much Nietzsche’s own ideas, but his words shrunken in the...

A Few Certainties

You will not achieve much that you set out to accomplish in your life — but you will correct your intentions retroactively in order to persuade yourself that you did. The best things you do will never be the things you do for money, attention, or other tangible forms of reward. On the contrary, the best things you do will most often be...

Higher Education

The primary aims of the university, from its medieval foundations until about fifty years ago, were to prod a young person into doubting his youthful certainties, to shake the foundations of his most cherished and comforting assumptions, to push him into a vast, confusing marketplace of ideas and sensibilities, where…

On Becoming God

I had an interesting written exchange with an independent-minded student recently, which I record here (personal details removed) as something to chew on for anyone facing a similar situation.

Student: I need someone who listens to me and who is curious about me.

Teacher: Yes, in general it feels meaningful to know….

You Only Live Once

“You only live once,” as that phrase is typically used today, is the perfect practical synopsis of existentialism. The motto’s modern meaning encapsulates the fundamentals of existentialism’s philosophical, or quasi-philosophical, perspective, without all the high-minded intellectual fidgeting that was once needed to persuade people that their lives were essentially meaningless — in other words, that their lives were without essence. “You only live...

The Philosophic Perspective

The principle of the thing matters more than the individual outcomes — and this includes also one’s own individual outcomes. 

There is no reality that, having finally revealed itself, cannot be accepted, and to which one cannot adjust oneself. This adaptability is not to be mistaken for….

The Future Without Me

Every person I care about on this Earth either lived in the past, or lives in the present. Within a very few years of my departure from this Earth, there will be no one left on the planet whom I ever knew or cared about. Why, therefore, should I concern myself about what happens to my work, my thoughts, or my deeds after...

True Dichotomies

Anything that cannot be justified as contributing to the advance of my ultimate human goal — the glimpse of eternity, a share of wisdom, god-like happiness, call it what you will — must be regarded as an obstacle and liability, and therefore rejected or actively diminished in significance in my life, as the case admits. It is the easiest thing in the world,...