May 27, 2006

Meaning

When I was a freshman in college I took philosophy 101. We spent a few classes on the topic of the "meaning of life." The conclusion of students and professor was that there couldn't be any such thing as the meaning of life, and that the best we could do was to seek "meanings in life."

I remember being shocked. It wasn't good enough for me. Everything about the history of reflective human consciousness seemed to me to be about something more, from the Greek search for the arche to the quest in late modern science for the "theory of everything."

I wanted more than "meanings in life;" I wanted a seamless garment of a sense of how to interpret finding oneself as a human life in the world.

5 comments:

Crescentius said...

My dear Brother:
As I sit here with quill in hand there is a smile on my face; again you provide a self-revelatory post that provokes as well povides amusement.

"I wanted more than 'meanings in life;'..."
Sine Proprio, brother... however:

Your very act of 'desiring' has put you in touch with the Meaning you seek. Your desire joins you to the holy act of Creation. It was God's desire, a desire to share a self-diffusive love without domination, that allowed the Word to create...

"He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without Him not one thing came into being."
Jn 1:2-3.

Your desire opens for you the power of created love. The danger, as I see it, is in the very interpretations themselves. They necessitate definitions that limit our inner experience of God and cheapen our Creative love and power.

My continued prayers...
+Crescentius of Iesi

jb said...

Brother,

I also took PH101, but it seems like quite a long time ago. I remember writing a paper on "Determinism."

The "Meaning of Life" for me is found in knowing that our Creator has revealed Himself to us - and loves us. "God so loved the world..."

Have a blessed Sunday after Ascension.

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

Hmmm... did anyone mention in the class that by stating that one could only find "meanings in life" the students had in fact defined a "meaning of life," that is, life as a search for values without and objective reference to whether those values were actually what those seeking them thought them to be and without any need to reflect upon whether one's values are in infact objectively good or only subjectively good?

And on a related note, did anyone else find it funny that our friend crescentius's comment is full of definitions?

It's funny that those who deny dogma or definitions or absolute truth do so in a way that contradicts the very thing that they deny.

So, I don't agree with those who want to deny dogmatism or the search for definitions. Yet maybe some of the reaction against dogmas is due to the fact that some stop only at the intellectual definition and do not seek to enter into the mystery of God. If this is the reason why some are against dogmas, I can understand that, while not agreeing with the conclusion that one should therefore do away with dogmas.

I actually am glad that we have certain definitions of Who God is as I find that they help me to enter into relationship with Who God is and clear up my own "I heard you in the garden, so I hid" mentality.

Unfortunately, some want to do away with definitions and dogmas because they want freedom from any criticism or because they want to be agreeable to everyone else, thinking that having a dogma or definition must only mean beating people over the head with it. Is it not possible to proclaim a truth with love? Also, some (not unlike Saruman in the Lord of the Rings... the book not the movie) think that all colors together is the same as white. It is not. It may appear that way when you run them all by in quick succession but the discerning eye will see the difference. True wisdom is not the same as being syncretic, otherwise any hack could be wise.

onionboy said...

Brother, thanks for sharing the link to your a highlight of your conversion story on VERT.

What's more, you are the first to make us of VERT. :)

onionboy said...

P.S. When you can, please display a VERT chicklet. Please see the sidebar on VERT; it's simple. Thanks.