Tagged: meaning of life

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,...

Free Will and Failure

You are obliged by the most basic necessities of nature to make choices. You should therefore make your choices with the greatest degree of attention, the widest range of understanding, and the most serious appreciation for the extent to which your freedom to choose in any given circumstance is a gift that will come only once. But there is one more element of...

Freedom is…

Freedom is not caring what they think, not fearing what they say, and not dwelling on what they might do. Freedom is listening to them when it suits you, but without ever needing to listen — and speaking when it suits you, but without ever needing them to hear. Freedom is seeing where you have changed, without fear of the sight — and...

Death, Immortality, and Courage

Late modernity, having adopted naïve materialism as its religion, has dismissed the belief in the immortality of the soul, not merely as a logical consequence of rejecting the soul itself, but rather morally, objecting to the belief in an immortal soul as a kind of cowardice, specifically a refusal to accept the “hard truth” of life’s brevity and the absolute finality of death...

The View From the Stars

A student with whom I engage in regular philosophical discussions sent me the following musing, after admiring the night sky during a full moon: A few stars reveal their existence by the tiny but clear sparkle, and I think of how tiny I will be from the point of view of the stars. How short human life will be, and how small some...

This Is Nothing Special

Most human beings throughout all of the known history of our species have lived in subjection, whether in literal slavery or in the somewhat more figurative but no less tangible enslavement of life lived at the end of tyrannical tethers. They have had to struggle their way through some sort of unnatural or partial existence in which the most fundamental choices Nature provides...