Skip to comments.Why you won't find the meaning of life
Posted on 09/05/2011 5:03:09 PM PDT by Pride_of_the_Bluegrass
Much as I admire the late Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who turned his horrific experience at Auschwitz into clinical insights, the notion of "man's search for meaning" seems inadequate. Just what about man qualifies him to search for meaning, whatever that might be?
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I think he meant a reason to keep putting one foot in front of another when mans’ inhumanity to man is all too apparent. For example, I am living for my kids. I care not for myself.
Logically “the search for meaning” assumes there is meaning! Perhaps Nihilism is now Western mans “meaning.”
Some day people will look within and see that most of this is all a facade. There really is meaning, but you have to think there is none in order to find it.
He simply deduced that to help his clients find a "why" made good sense. He was right of course, although it is easier said than done.
Subjective. (No criticism “meant.”)
I dont get the whole zen- Buddist thing. You spend your whole life trying to achieve nothingness and when you die what do you have?.....Bupkis
“Just what about man qualifies him to search for meaning, whatever that might be?”
Because man thinks and in thinking wants to know. What qualifies him to give answers to that search may be another matter.
The remarks on immortality reminded me of Woody Allen: “I don’t mind dying, as long as I don’t have to be there when it happens.”
Also, the “search for meaning” reminds me of this Allenism:
“We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice.”
“What qualifies him to give answers to that search may be another matter.”
We can only testify to the answers we have encountered, our reasons for endorsing or challenging them, choose our starting point and intended destination, and progress as far towards the destination as the span of life allows, perhaps turning to new starting points and new destinations as our experiences and judgment dictate. At the end of the trail, our testimony and the record of the consequences of our various pursuits will become our contribution to the general search, to the extent anyone knows or remembers them.
The cure for hunger is food. The cure for lust is sex. The cure for loneliness is company. The cure for meaning is God.
Presuming there is no external meaning is silly. Why would an animal evolve so needing meaning if there was no such thing?
A revealing question, certainly. The 'search for meaning', the universality of some sort of religion and God or gods at all levels of civilization, the ability and virtual inevitability that we all live for more than the sake of our own well-being -- all these things and more demonstrate conclusively that man' was made for more than the world of appearances he usually calls 'reality'.
But if there is God, or even the Law of Karma (Buddhist), or the law of historical necessity (Marxism), then the world as we apprehend it with out limited senses must NOT be THE ULTIMATE REALITY. Ok, or have I lost you already?
Well, to make a short essay even shorter, the 'meaning' or Ultimate Reality people seek is, in fact, that God concept that Carl Sagan derides. Someone (was it Sagan?), recently released a book, The God Hypothesis. Well, if God is just a hypothesis to you, then you know nothing of the subject on which you claim expertise. (I suppose writing a book presumes expertise on the subject.)
Yeah, it's God people are looking for, and He has arranged things such that no matter how many other people have found Him, each individual must seek and find Him for himself. Herself too if you are not Moslem. The big, grown up men and women of academia reject God as a childish belief, then spend their lives trying to avoid thinking about death. But Jesus said you must become a little child again to inherit the Kingdom (IOW, have eternal life). Now if that ain't Socratic irony, what is?
The answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.
I thought everyone knew that!
We are the only species having this conversation.
Nicely put - The Testimony I look to is in the Old and New testament. My testimony is at best how these 2 books have changed my life, given me comfort when down and inspired me to believe in a future well beyond this life.
Seems it was not Sagan (who passed on years ago as I recall)...I checked out the book's amazon page...guessing per the subtitle about Goldilocks that the author retreads an old fallacious argument which tries to apply the Weak Anthropic Principle to discount the evidence for a designed universe...but that is only a hunch of coarse...and I am not curious enough to buy the book. Maybe the author demonstrates the fallacy in the argument instead? It is a pervasive defensive argument among naturalists, so a good book demonstrating the fallacy would be welcome.