The 's Quest For Meaning

1122 Words5 Pages
Two mice, nibbling and gnawing, representing the inexorable entity, time, which exists as a constant threat to humanity; a dark pit with death as the only certainty; a ferocious beast forbidding escape; a single branch offering delay; a drop of honey attempting to conceal inevitable peril. The powerful metaphor embedded in this Buddhist parable serves as the platform for Leo Tolstoy (A Confession) in his quest for meaning. It offers a simplistic illustration of the common predicament faced by all of mankind, to which Tolstoy and fellow thinkers, Sigmund Freud (Civilization and Its Discontents) and C.S. Lewis (The Abolition of Man) attempt to provide a solution. Each thinker offers a unique conclusion based upon their respective definitions of the problem and its perpetuating influences. The thinkers focus their investigation on the authority of science, instinct, and faith. Tolstoy is distinct in his ability to rationalize toward a purpose independent of mankind itself; he alters the circumstances of life rather than man’s capability to deal with such circumstances. Freud and Lewis confine their respective reasonings to the continuation and progression of mankind so as to better cope with the predicament of man. Their theories on the improvement of man and civilization serve only to extend the torment of mankind.
Tolstoy does not hesitate to dismiss the significance of science as an answer to the predicament of man. He quotes Solomon explaining that “in much wisdom is much
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