Notes From Babel

Meaning, History, and Purpose

leave a comment »

Jason Kuznicki rails against “conservatives” who quest for meaningful societal accomplishment, and suggests we instead just try to forget about genetic posterity or historically relevant accomplishments, and try to just end our lives with an “exclamation point.”

It’s never been quite clear to me how one can engage in such impassioned bouts that sound so, well, nihilistic. People who believe that life ends with a period (or exclamation point or whatever) don’t understand those who believe it ends with an ellipsis, and vice versa. But these kinds of speeches always leave me leaning in expecting to find out how the nihilist plans to get along without that sense of “eternal purpose” that most of the rest of us find so important. (I’m sure “nihilist” is probably inaccurate, but that’s just the point–the impulse to define oneself as “other” seems make one forget to explain exactly what kind of other.)

One of course has the right to take his ball and go home. But do go home, is my point. Don’t say there’s no meaning to anything and then carry on as if there is. At the least, propose some alternative rules for what kind of “meaning” we can possibly achieve. For my part, I often find myself in a mood where philosophy seems to have about as much meaning as a crossword puzzle. But no inspiration to do any meaningful philosophy is going to strike me with that attitude.

Advertisements

Written by Tim Kowal

July 30, 2009 at 5:08 am

Posted in Philosophy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s