Wed 11 Mar 2015, 7:36 pm
Perhaps there are such people as “pure philosophers” who placidly think about the “meaning of life” as a kind of “recreation,” and are not motivated to do so by existential angst.
Perhaps, but I don’t know. Â However, I doubt that most happy, productive, engaged people spend a lot of time ruminating over the “meaning of life” and such. Do you think thatÂ such people are merely shallow and callow . . . or that Â just perhaps they intuitively sense that such questions are pointless and troublesome. Some do think about the “big questions”, of course, and those are the philosophers or whatever label they go by. However, I think the problem of the “meaning of life” is a sort of semantic hangover. If on some level you did not have a very strong belief (mostly propagated by the Judeo-Christian tradition) that life MUST have meaning, it simply would not be an issue.
I guess it is fairly glib to point out that if life has no absolute meaning, many people certainly find solace and comfort and encouragement in the relative meaning they bring to life. Not in the senseÂ that they discover the meaning of life, but that hey assign meaning to life by virtue of involvement with activities that create joy and fulfillment and “meaning” for them. Let me emphasize for them, because what brings me meaning may seem vacuous and foolish to you, and vice versa.Â
Bottom line, I am not knocking philosophy or philosophers, not by a long shot. However, I do know with very strong certainty that much of the garden variety rumination over the meaning of life that people do is morbid and pointless, even pathological, and represents nothing more than irrational, distorted thinking and self-defeating automatic self-talk that generates feelings of depression, despair, hopelessness and helplessness.
It is not my intention to upset anyone, although this observation often seems to: Â In my experience, most of the time (not always) an over-concern with the meaning of life and other witless abstractions is a symptom of depression or other emotional disturbance.
Participate meaningfullyÂ in your life, have rewarding relationships,Â do work that is fruitful and satisfying, developÂ engaging pastimes and hobbies, be generous and do for others, have a sense of humor, Â live a healthy balanced lifestyle and it is unlikely you will have much time to worry about the so called “meaning of life.”
On the other hand, if you are not doing these things and you were to suddenly discover the Meaning of life (with a capital “M”), what good would that do you?