- Meaning of life - Wikipedia.
- What Is The Point?: Discovering Life's Deeper Meaning And Purpose?
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7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose
WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Education. Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No. He likens the progression of his depression to a serious physical illness — a parallel modern science is rendering increasingly appropriate. Tolstoy writes:. Then occurred what happens to everyone sickening with a mortal internal disease. At first trivial signs of indisposition appear to which the sick man pays no attention; then these signs reappear more and more often and merge into one uninterrupted period of suffering. The suffering increases, and before the sick man can look round, what he took for a mere indisposition has already become more important to him than anything else in the world — it is death!
The classic symptoms of anhedonia engulfed him — he lost passion for his work and came to dismiss as meaningless the eternal fame he had once dreamt of. He even ceased to go out shooting with his gun in fear that he might be too tempted to take his own life. Today or tomorrow sickness and death will come they had come already to those I love or to me; nothing will remain but stench and worms.
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Sooner or later my affairs, whatever they may be, will be forgotten, and I shall not exist. Then why go on making any effort? How can man fail to see this? And how go on living? That is what is surprising! One can only live while one is intoxicated with life; as soon as one is sober it is impossible not to see that it is all a mere fraud and a stupid fraud! That is precisely what it is: there is nothing either amusing or witty about it, it is simply cruel and stupid.
Had I simply understood that life had no meaning I could have borne it quietly, knowing that that was my lot. But I could not satisfy myself with that. Had I been like a man living in a wood from which he knows there is no exit, I could have lived; but I was like one lost in a wood who, horrified at having lost his way, rushes about wishing to find the road.
He knows that each step he takes confuses him more and more, but still he cannot help rushing about. It was indeed terrible. And to rid myself of the terror I wished to kill myself. And yet he recognized that the inquiry at the heart of his spiritual malady was neither unique nor complicated:.
My question … was the simplest of questions, lying in the soul of every man from the foolish child to the wisest elder: it was a question without an answer to which one cannot live, as I had found by experience. What will come of my whole life? Seeking to answer this seemingly simple yet paralyzingly profound question, Tolstoy first turned to science, but found that rather than recognizing and answering the question, science circumvented it and instead asked its own questions, then answered those.
If You Can’t Find Your Proverbial Purpose, First Just Find a ‘Why’
Most of all, he found it incapable of illuminating the infinite and instead reducing its questions and answers to finite. He writes:. These are all words with no meaning, for in the infinite there is neither complex nor simple, neither forward nor backward, nor better or worse.
A century and a half before Alan Lightman tussled, elegantly, with the same paradox , Tolstoy captured the Catch of the predicament:. The problem of experimental science is the sequence of cause and effect in material phenomena. It is only necessary for experimental science to introduce the question of a final cause for it to become nonsensical. The problem of abstract science is the recognition of the primordial essence of life. It is only necessary to introduce the investigation of consequential phenomena such as social and historical phenomena and it also becomes nonsensical.
Experimental science only then gives positive knowledge and displays the greatness of the human mind when it does not introduce into its investigations the question of an ultimate cause. And, on the contrary, abstract science is only then science and displays the greatness of the human mind when it puts quite aside questions relating to the consequential causes of phenomena and regards man solely in relation to an ultimate cause.
Philosophy not merely does not reply, but is itself only asking that question. And if it is real philosophy all its labour lies merely in trying to put that question clearly. Just here. We are. Life is beyond reason. And, indeed, Tolstoy turns to spirituality in one final and desperate attempt at an answer — first by surveying how those in his social circle lived with this all-consuming inquiry.
Meaning of life - Wikipedia
He found among them four strategies for managing the existential despair, but none that resolved it:. I found that for people of my circle there were four ways out of the terrible position in which we are all placed.
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The first was that of ignorance. It consists in not knowing, not understanding, that life is an evil and an absurdity. From [people of this sort] I had nothing to learn — one cannot cease to know what one does know. The second way out is epicureanism. It consists, while knowing the hopelessness of life, in making use meanwhile of the advantages one has, disregarding the dragon and the mice, and licking the honey in the best way, especially if there is much of it within reach… That is the way in which the majority of people of our circle make life possible for themselves.
The third escape is that of strength and energy. It consists in destroying life, when one has understood that it is an evil and an absurdity. A few exceptionally strong and consistent people act so. The fourth way out is that of weakness. It consists in seeing the truth of the situation and yet clinging to life, knowing in advance that nothing can come of it. People of this kind know that death is better than life, but not having the strength to act rationally — to end the deception quickly and kill themselves — they seem to wait for something. This is the escape of weakness, for if I know what is best and it is within my power, why not yield to what is best?
This was to me repulsive and tormenting, but I remained in that position. Humbled by the awareness that the mind is both puppet and puppet-master, he writes:. It was like this: I, my reason, have acknowledged that life is senseless. If there is nothing higher than reason and there is not: nothing can prove that there is , then reason is the creator of life for me.
If reason did not exist there would be for me no life. How can reason deny life when it is the creator of life?