Tagged: meaning of life

On Nihilistic Certainty

A convenient naïveté.– What if the great modern certainty, namely that the cosmos has no purpose (which is another way of saying that there is no cosmos), is, like most certainties, merely a matter of faith, answering to a deeply felt need? In that case, the great modern certainty would be an ingeniously subtle expression of underlying purpose — and not just a...

Too Embarrassed to Live

We do not know why we are here. Hence, every expression of disinterest — and worse, every dismissive certainty – about this question bespeaks a detachment from life itself. There is no life without definition. There is no definition without essence. There is no essence without purpose. “Why are we here?” To the extent that this question has become a laughingstock, a joke...

Sunday Reflections On Death

Every human being who was ever born on this planet has either died or is currently in the process of dying. Those currently in the process of dying will certainly complete their process successfully, if the entire history of all living species is any grounds for prediction. To approach life, then, as though the avoidance of death were the primary goal or ultimate...

Death and Learning

From a student who likes to fire random “meaning of life” questions at me, I received an e-mail with this reflection: Even if I will die tomorrow, is it meaningful for me to learn something? If not, I don’t want to. My reply: To learn is to improve your soul. So your question also means, “Even if I will die tomorrow, is it...

Tomorrow

It may not come. If it comes, it will bring disappointments, including the disappointment of reliving everything that disappoints you about today. Something will anger you. Someone will annoy or offend you. You will find yourself struggling to start a task you had hoped to undertake with enthusiasm, or you will start one but fail to complete it satisfactorily. You will fall short...

The Race vs. The Search

Life in the fullest sense is not a race. It is a search. A race is fast, and by definition everyone in a race has agreed to run in the same direction. A search, by contrast, is slow, and the best searchers are the ones who have the courage to depart from the standard path sometimes and walk into the woods alone. One...

The Freedom You Have

Montaigne wore a medallion around his neck engraved with the words, “What do I know?” It was his way of continually reminding himself of the necessary humility at the heart of the sometimes hubristic philosophic quest. My version of Montaigne’s medallion is the home screen of my cell phone, which, for about six months, has been adorned with my customized welcome message, “I...

The Pleasure Principle

Pleasure ameliorates pain. Pain is a condition of growth. Therefore, pleasure either interrupts or thwarts growth. The only possible exception to this conclusion would be a pleasure that was specific to the process or achievement of growth itself. This latter pleasure — the pleasure that accompanies or rewards growth as such — would thus be the only pleasure consistent with the life impulse....

Irreconcilable Differences, Part Two

     “Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It’s the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences.”     “But I like the inconveniences.”     “We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”     “But I...

Thoughts To Live By (In An Age Opposed to Thought and Life)

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 source of everything meaningful in our lives. The voices of the modern world shout at us every day, from every rooftop, that we should “live for our...