Mahler's 150th Birthday
People Who Can Do Things (a repeat)

Is Life Worth Living?

Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.


From Plato to Hegel and beyond, some of the greatest philosophers declared that what you think about death, and life beyond it, is the key to thinking seriously about everything else--and, indeed, that it provides one of the main reasons for thinking seriously about anything at all.

—N.T. Wright

I've just started reading a book I got for Christmas last year, Wright's Surprised By Hope, which is about the Christian conception of the next life, which Wright believes is widely misunderstood by almost everyone, including most Christians. The Camus quote was a chapter epigraph in a mystery I just read, The Way Through the Woods, by Colin Dexter (one of the Inspector Morse books). I was struck by the way the two quotations support each other.

I do think it's very difficult for the human mind to sustain the belief that life is worth living without a belief in some ultimate purpose, which almost inevitably leads to some sort of belief in an eternal God and an eternal life: it's hard for us to say something has absolute meaning if it has an end beyond which there is nothing. That's certainly true for me. Somewhat paradoxically, my naturally dark outlook on things makes me more open to Christian hope, because in its absence life truly does seem meaningless and probably not worth living, or worth living only as long as it's not too miserable.

I'm not sure a religion such as Buddhism which, if I understand it correctly, looks toward the end of individual existence as the only ultimate release from suffering, can be said to hold that life is worth living in any absolute sense.


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Your "naturally dark outlook" reminds me-- Every time I see a film with Liev Schreiber I think how similar he seems to your looks and sort of ironic detachment at 18.

Well, I hate to say this, but...I don't know who Liev Schreiber is. And I'm wondering whether I'm going to be pleased or not when I find out. :-) (which of course I'm sure I could do in a moment with Google)

Wow, it never would have crossed my mind that I ever bore any resemblance to him. But I'll take it. :-) I seem to have managed to miss every single movie he's ever been in, according to the list at IMDB. However, I have seen Everything Is Illuminated, which he wrote and directed, and it's excellent.

Really? When did you see it?


Sometime in the last 6 months or so...not sure exactly. I was thinking I had mentioned it...I guess not.

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