Κυριακή 21 Αυγούστου 2016

The Meaning of Life

Αποσπάσματα από:

Terry Eagleton, "The Meaning of Life", Oxford University Press, 2007.

"Words are not just dead husks waiting to have meaning breathed into them by live speakers. What I can mean (in the sense of intend to say) is constrained by the meanings I find ready to hand in the language I speak. I cannot 'mean' a series of words which are entirely senseless, though as we shall see in a moment I can signify something by it. Nor can I intend to say something which lies entirely outside the scope of my language, rather as someone cannot intend to become a brain surgeon if they don't have the concept of brain surgeon in the first place. I cannot just make a word mean what I want it to mean. Even if I conjure up a vivid mental picture of a smoked herring as I pronounce the words 'World Health Organization', the meaning of what I have said is still 'World Health Organization'." (p. 61-62)

"If the meaning of life lies in in the common goal of human beings, then there seems no doubt about what this is. What everyone strives for is happiness. 'Happiness', to be sure, is a feeble, holiday-camp sort of word, evocative of manic grins and cavorting about in a multicoloured jacket. But as Aristotle recognizes in his Nicomachean Ethics, it operates as a kind of baseline in human life, in the sense that you cannot reasonably ask why we should seek to be happy. It is not a means to something else, as money or power generally are. It is more like wanting to be respected. Desiring it just seems to be part of our nature. Here, then, is a foundational term of sorts. The problem is that it is so desperately indeterminate. The idea of happiness seems both vital and vacuous. What counts as happiness? What if you find it in terrorizing old ladies? Someone who is determined to become an actor may spend fruitless hours auditioning while living on a pittance. For much of the time she is anxious, dispirited, and mildly hungry. She is not what we usually call happy. Her life is not pleasant or enjoyable. Yet she is, so to speak, prepared to sacrifice her happiness to her happiness." (p. 140-141)

Το Αλεξανδρινό μου, ενώ έθαλλε από τα Χριστούγεννα που το είχα αγοράσει, κάποιες ΠΟΛΥ ζεστές μέρες που έλειπα, πριν λίγο καιρό, έριξε όλα του τα φύλλα, ξεραμένα... Του άλλαξα γλάστρα και θέση και, μετά από μια μικρή πάλι απουσία μου, επέστρεψα και είδα την ελπίδα στα φυλλαράκια που πάλι είχε πετάξει...

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