Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Meaning of Life

Dear Readers of this Blog.......

"Will you interrupt your work for a moment and play the game of philosophy with me?"

I am attempting to copy an idea from Will Durant's 1931 project.  He sent a letter to certain famous contemporaries for whose intelligence he had high regard and then published their remarks in a book "On the Meaning of Life".  His introductory letter was lengthy and seeded with bias (all be it from a most respected academician of history) and is dated.  However I will quote the final paragraph so as to keep the request near identical to its purpose (as the scientific control would require).

"Spare me a moment to tell me what meaning life has for you, what keeps you going, what help - if any - religion gives you, what are the sources of your inspiration and your energy, what is the goal or motive-force of your toil, where you find your consolations and your happiness, where, in the last resort, your treasure lies."

Sincerely yours, Will Durant

If you feel inclined to participate you can:

(1) Just respond in the blog comments (be anonymous if you choose);
(2) Email me (which would be less anonymous) at
(3) Mail me a response (anonymous if you choose) - 4800 Councilrock Lane   Cincinnati, Ohio USA  45243-4204

PS:  If you intend to respond like the following --- know that this entry is already taken:

June 23, 1931

"Your letter of June 15th seems to me the best answer that can be made to your question: 'What is the meaning or worth of human life?'  If I had the time to undertake such a task as you suggest my answer would really be some such diatribe as this letter of yours" 
                                                Theodore Dreiser


  1. Siri - had many answers including:

    (1) I can't answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens.
    (2) To think about questions like this
    (3) I don't believe there is a consensus on that question
    (4) 42
    (5) That's easy ... it's a philosophical question concerning the purpose and significance of life or existence in general
    (6) Life: a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings. I guess that includes me.

    the finally after the seventh try:

    "Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and them, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations"

  2. "So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. It is because they're chasing the wrong things.

    The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

    Morrie Schwartz "Tuesdays with Morrie"

  3. Many many millions of years ago a race of hyper intelligent pandimensional beings (whose physical manifestation in their own pandimensional universe is not dissimilar to our own) got so fed up with the constant bickering about the meaning of life that they decided to sit down and solve their problems once and for all.

    They built themselves a stupendous super computer (the size of a small city)to work on this problem. They named it Deep Thought.

    When they asked Deep Thought the question he responded that it would take some time to compute. "Seven and a half million years" Deep Thought told them.

    On the "Day of the Answer" two programmers anxiously waited for Deep Thought's result:

    "All right, said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question .....

    "Yes .....!"

    "Of Life, the Universe, and Everything ..." said Deep Thought.

    "Yes .....!"

    "Is ..." said Deep Thought, and paused.

    "Yes .....!"

    "Is ..."

    "Yes ...!! . . .?"

    "Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

    "Forty-two!" yelled the programmers. "Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' of work?"

    "I've checked it very thoroughly." said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is. So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means."

    "Look, all right, all right, can you just please tell us the question?"

    "NO" the computer replied firmly. But I can tell you who can.

    "I speak of none but the computer that is to come after me," intoned Deep Thought. A computer whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate - and yet I will design it for you. A computer that can calculate the Question to the Ultimate Answer, a computer of such infinite and subtle complexity that organic life itself shall form part of its operational matrix. And you yourselves shall take on new forms and go down into the computer to navigate its ten-million-year program! Yes! I shall design this computer for you. And I shall name it also unto you.

    And it shall be called ....

    the Earth."

    "End of Tape."

    Source: "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams

  4. That's all your life amounts to in the end: the aggregate of all the good luck and the bad luck you experience. Everything is explained by that simple formula. Tot it up - look at the respective piles. There's nothing you can do about it: nobody shares it out, allocates it to this one or that, it just happens. We must quietly suffer the law's of man's condition, as Montaigne says.

    Source: "Any Human Heart" by William Boyd and the PBS Mini Series

  5. The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time
    Any fool can do it
    There ain't nothing to it
    Nobody knows how we got to
    The top of the hill
    But since we're on our way down
    We might as well enjoy the ride

    The secret of love is in opening up your heart
    It's okay to feel afraid
    But don't let that stand in your way
    'cause anyone knows that love is the only road
    And since we're only here for a while
    Might as well show some style
    Give us a smile

    Isn't it a lovely ride
    Sliding down
    Gliding down
    Try not to try too hard
    It's just a lovely ride

    Now the thing about time is that time
    Isn't really real
    It's just your point of view
    How does it feel for you
    Einstein said he could never understand it all
    Planets spinning through space
    The smile upon your face
    Welcome to the human race

    Some kind of lovely ride
    I'll be sliding down
    I'll be gliding down
    Try not to try too hard
    It's just a lovely ride

    Isn't it a lovely ride
    Sliding down
    Gliding down
    Try not to try too hard
    It's just a lovely ride

    Now the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time

    James Taylor Lyrics "Secret O' Life"