THREE ESSAYS ON THE MEANING OF LIFE
You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
- William Faulkner
Too much of humanity finds itself floundering in a sea of meaninglessness between two hostile shores, neither of which offer them any safe landing from their predicament. These are the shores of two diametrically opposing lands – one hosting the House of God, the other the House of Disbelief.
The House of God is hostile to life having any credible special meaning or ultimate purpose because it is home to an incredible, human “g” god (the male, brutal, Abrahamic god of the ancient Hebrews) and home to an equally incredible meaning and purpose of life (a once-only test for an eternity in either heaven or hell). The House of Disbelief on the other hand, and as the name implies, is hostile to life having any special meaning and ultimate purpose at all, holding that we can only have our own personal meanings and only the survival/genetic purposes of our animal bodies – all in an entirely material world which just accidentally “happened” – a world thus necessarily devoid of any God or any Divine Agency higher than chance.
As a result, too many of us are not only floundering, but drowning in our sea of meaninglessness – as evidenced by our endemic drug and alcohol problems and our high rates of anxiety and depression (and suicide). Before too many more of us drown in our steadily deepening sea, perhaps it is time to take the challenge expressed in Faulkner’s above quote – and muster the courage necessary to swim beyond sight of our present hopeless shores – for “new horizons” – perhaps of a land which may host credible meaning and purpose to our existence?
This work of three essays and a conclusion will attempt just that. The first essay examines the House of God and the second examines the House of Disbelief to see why they are hostile to credible special meaning and ultimate purpose; then the third essay will attempt to swim beyond sight of their shores for new horizons to explore for Truths of the human condition. Our working definitions being: “special” meaning – meaning that all our lives share, above and beyond the personal meanings we all adopt or construct; “ultimate” purpose – purpose above and beyond the survival and genetic purposes of our animal bodies; “T” Truth – that which is true for everybody all the time, most often above and beyond our personal “t” truths.
Those who feel they are close to drowning should skip the essays and paddle straight to the conclusion, wherein they may find some hope? If unconvinced, then they are sentenced to read the essays which contain arguments from evidence for that conclusion.