Richard Taylor Meaning Of Life Essay

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Human existence is a mode of existence in which one apperceives oneself as aware of moral distinctions and as free to choose right or wrong.

Whether or not we are free, we cannot help but experience ourselves as free.

We are organisms that need truth because we need contact with reality to flourish.

This is why truth is objectively valuable."But again this misses the crucial point that on Zapffe's absurdism, acceptance of the truth about our condition is not life-enhancing, not conducive to our flourishing.

The absurdist cannot coherently maintain that one ought to be intellectually honest, or hold that being such is better than being intellectually dishonest. Indeed, he cannot even maintain that it is an objectively bad thing that human existence is absurd.

The fundamental problem here is that the absurdist cannot coherently maintain that truth is objectively valuable.Thus the ‘thousand consolatory fictions’ that deny our captivity in dying beasts, afloat on a speck of dust in the eternal void.And after all, if a godly creator is waiting in the wings, it must be akin to the Lord in The Book of Job, since it allows its breathing creations to be “tumbled and destroyed in a vast machinery of forces foreign to interests.” Asserts Zapffe: “The more a human being in his worldview approaches the goal, the hegemony of love in a moral universe, the more has he become slipshod in the light of intellectual honesty.” The only escape from this predicament should be to discontinue the human race. The gist of Zapffe's position as best I can make out from the fragments I have read is that our over-developed consciousness is an evolutionary fluke that makes us miserable by uselessly generating in us the conceit that we are more than animals and somehow deserving of something better than dying like an animal after some years of struggle.Many of us have entertained such a dark vision at one time or another. to be intellectually honest and admit the absurdity of human existence.This is presumably a moral ought, and indeed a categorical moral ought.He cannot coherently say: You ought to face the truth! The truth has no claim on my attention unless it is objectively valuable and, because objectively valuable, capable of generating in me an obligation to accept it. But this is exactly what is not the case in the present instance.You ought not deceive yourself or believe something because it is consoling or otherwise life-enhancing. The truth I am supposed to accept, namely, that my existence is meaningless, is inimical to my happiness and well-being.Human existence is thus absurd, without point or purpose.For human existence is not a merely biological living, but a conscious and self-conscious living, a reflective and self-questioning living in the light of the 'knowledge' of good and evil.Having become morally reflective, man becomes self-questioning.He hesitates, he feels guilty, his direct connection to life is weakened and in some cases destroyed.


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