Thursday, November 12, 2015
The Meaning of Life
What, people ask me, is the meaning of life? You are a philosopher, they say, if anyone knows, it must be you.
Well, yes, I do know. It isn't a puzzle at all. The answer is right before our eyes and all our other senses.
Still we have to get rid of the obstacles to seeing what is in front of our noses. We have to admit, finally, that a dogmatic god, invisible and unimaginable is a logical as well as an existential impossibility. At best, god is an idea created by those in power to stay in power. Descartes was incorrect when he surmised that a finite being could not, by imaginative extension, come up with the idea of an infinite, all powerful, omniscient being. And Freud was correct in seeing the idea as a glorified Daddy beyond reproach, a fantasy and a wish unfulfilled.
Without a god, without illusions, without invisible spirits guiding our every move, what is left for us? Why, pleasure is what is left. The meaning of life resides in the pleasures we experience-- and what a banquet of pleasures they are. There are pleasures aplenty for everyone, if only the greed, the dogma, the lust for power, and all the hindrances to a life of pleasure are removed.
If you require a well written or well conceived philosophy of pleasure, I suggest Epicurus as your guide, though there are several other brilliant versions
For myself, I have only to think of music, of the free availability of excellent performances of Beethoven, Bach, or Mozart; of art and literature; of walks in nature; Of the changing of the seasons; of the thousands of orgasms I've enjoyed, and the passions of sex with a host of others; of cheese, chocolate, and wine; of swimming in the stream of life, or rowing merrily upon it. Make your own list, please.
Life is meaningless only to those who fail to experience its joys. Eliminate greed, and religious dogma, eliminate fighting over material possessions or seeking power over others, and there is ample delight in life for all living beings on the planet. Don't be too fruitful- forget about multiplying hungry beings in a limited world of goods- and there you have it.
Happiness, logically impossible to pursue in itself, follows like the night the day if we find our meaning in our pleasures.