Questioning the Meaning of Life Essay

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`Where did we come from?', `Why are we here?', `Where are we going?'. These are questions which surface, centre stage, at some point in most people's lives. For philosophers, and others, they constitute the core problem known traditionally as the Meaning of Life.

It might be thought that the first task in considering the question of the `Meaning of Life' is to define the key terms: `Life' and `Meaning'. However, the meanings of `Meaning' are many; and `Life' itself could be seen as not so much a separate entity, but rather, the totality of those meanings to which I have alluded. Anyway, I shall take `Life' in this context to mean HUMAN life, and the meaning of this life as, specifically, the condition of our existence so far as we bring
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Sometimes it is taken as equivalent to `the value of life', or that in virtue of which life is worth living. It may also be taken to refer to the nature of the human condition - how it is with us, how we FEEL about life. Nevertheless, to the extent that questions about the `Why' of life may be seen as concerned with the value of life (`What makes life worth living?'), they are therefore related to the ethical.

Pessimism is a possible answer to the question of life's meaning: life is devoid of meaning in the sense of worth. Pessimism or optimism may be thought merely an attitude people have towards life, something having no objective validity; the optimist sees the bottle as half full, the pessimist sees it half empty - and that's all there is about it. But, while some of our attitudes towards things are unreasoned others are not. A pessimist may have arguments for pessimism: one philosopher actually claimed to have proven that the moments of pleasure in anyone's life are always greatly out-numbered by the moments of pain. Conversely, there can be reasoned arguments against pessimism.

Accounts of the human condition may combine both pessimism and optimism. The Christian doctrine of the Fall of Man, for example, is essentially a pessimistic assessment of life here in this

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