As you know, there are three types of meaning: Cosmic Meaning, the Meaning of Stuff, and the Meaningness of Life. The former we readily dismissed as irrelevant, and was in fact historically disconnected from the others with the advent of modernity. The second contains all the prejudice by which the world becomes fathomable to us. These commonly agreed upon and emotionally charged meanings of stuff constitute the cultures within which we become, and it is by being savvy of the prejudice of our specific cultural context that we conform into adults. The meaningness of life comes from understanding Ourselves and Eachother as being different from stuff, beyond the happenstance of our nature and our nurture, as unpredictable and infinite human beings, as persons, and to transcend the necessary thingification inherent in our romantic cultural identities which are imposed upon us to varying degree. Two (possible) friends, Notme and Me, are discussing how this comes about in the following eight part conversation…
The secular project of ethics is forever doomed to fail in finding a foundation for its logical aspirations. Soren Kirkegaard, the danish existentialist, once noticed that reason can only take us so far, in the end we always need to take a leap of faith (his was a leap of faith in God). I guess Gödel later proved something similar with his theorem…
tMe: “You know what this tells me? About you?”
Ntme: “What does what tell you about me?”
tMe: “Your unwillingness to call Meaningness a goal to strive for, a goal with compromises, and your need to highlight how special this goal-less uncompromising goal is by inventing new terms.”
Ntme: “No, what does it tell you about me?”
Part II: A Free Prisoner Part III: A Life without Distractions
Part IV: On being Authentic Part V: On Crisis and Friendship
Part VI: A Good Person or a Good Life? Part VII: The Meaningness of Meaningness?
Part VIII: A Leap of Faith
Part I: Of Stuff and Persons
To be Human is to be wounded
Some people in our town, those of us who could, had succumbed to the summer’s heat and made a habit of making the pleasantly air-conditioned mall a meeting point. Awkwardly I moved across the shiny floor knowing full well that just a few drops of water would turn the surface treacherous. Some days earlier I had injured the big toe of my right foot, and I was visibly limping in order to walk without pain. I could feel people watching me. To be wounded is to be humiliated. My friend Notme had already found a table at the noisy café on the mezzanine and waved for me as I slowly joined her. At the table next to ours were a couple of middle aged business people enjoying what appeared to be a business lunch. Part of me envied their moneyed confidence, another was grateful for the absence of dress codes in my life. At the table on the other side sat Cato the Younger, Sean-Paul Sartre, David Hume, and Nick Cave. I nodded in their direction as I joined my old friend. It had been some time since we last met, and even if I would never admit it, I was eager to tell her what I had come up with: That I had figured out what “meaningness” is. As I sat down she said: Continue reading
Thinking of Things has been nominated for two posts from the last year. Go there and vote for Me, or if you prefer, Notme–there are some really great posts there! 😉
Update: Both posts were voted into the semi-final. The Pain in the Brain Game was further selected as a finalist, together with eight great posts, and did not make the top-three selection. See the announcement of the winners here: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2015/09/the-winners-of-the-3qd-science-prize-2015.html
Next up is the Philosophy Prize!
TT, Thinking of Things, 2015.