On the Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life is so Absurd

The struggle itself is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Albert Camus, in his 1942 essay of the absurd, The Myth of Sisyphus

On the Meaning of LifeJohn Cottingham says that we must act in the [[praxis]] consistent with a belief in God. Only then can our life have meaning. We cannot make a meaning out of our own lives, for that would just be arrogant. We’re born into circumstances we didn’t create and we have to find value in our current cosmos, not any we create. Thus: religion. However, since we cannot have belief before religious praxis (because belief would be a result of the praxis rather than a prerequisite), we must just go to church, meditate and be religious first. Only then will faith come. He’s a modern Blaise Pascal.

There’s probably more to his argument than that, but I’m a lazy man and the reviews on Amazon didn’t make me want to post post the book cover, let alone read the book.

I’m not going to bother replying to the claim, because it commits the naturalistic fallacy, begs the question and completely misrepresents the naturalistic life. I will add, however, that I am currently fasting for Ramadan. Not because of praxis or anything, just because it seemed like a good idea at the time (famous last words).

I do have meaning in my life. To a certain extent, I think we all do. It just so happens that what I deem meaningful is deemed meaningless by a lot of people.

What’s important to me:

  • My family
  • My friends
  • Conversation
  • Insight
  • Humor
  • A record (i.e. this)
  • Life
  • Health
  • Welfare
  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Chicks (I can’t believe I almost forgot about the chicks!)
  • Absurdity
  • Existence
  • Self
  • Ethics
  • Morality
  • Honor
  • Trust

I think those are fairly universal… but above all else, I understand Camus’ point of absurdity. It is all futile. Life might be a meaningless existence and a waste of time. But as far as futile, meaningless wastes of time go, it’s one of the best.

I say we find meaning here and now with what is already important to us. If there’s an afterlife or if there’s another meaning somewhere that we’re lacking, we’ll deal with it when we come to it. From my corner of the universe, that seems like a pretty good compromise. What do you think?

Thanks for reading, and sorry about the metaphysics. More silly stuff later.

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