National Book Award Finalist. How did humanity originate and why does a species like ours exist on this planet? Do we have a special place, even a destiny in the universe? Where are we going, and perhaps, the most difficult question of all, "Why?" In The Meaning of Human Existence, his most philosophical work to date, Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson grapples with these and other existential questions, examining what makes human beings supremely different from all other species. Searching for meaning in what Nietzsche once called "the rainbow colors" around the outer edges of knowledge and imagination, Wilson takes his readers on a journey, in the process bridging science and philosophy to create a twenty-first-century treatise on human existence—from our earliest inception to a provocative look at what the future of mankind portends. Continuing his groundbreaking examination of our "Anthropocene Epoch," which he began with The Social Conquest of Earth, described by the New York Times as "a sweeping account of the human rise to domination of the biosphere," here Wilson posits that we, as a species, now know enough about the universe and ourselves that we can begin to approach questions about our place in the cosmos and the meaning of intelligent life in a systematic, indeed, in a testable way. Once criticized for a purely mechanistic view of human life and an overreliance on genetic predetermination, Wilson presents in The Meaning of Human Existence his most expansive and advanced theories on the sovereignty of human life, recognizing that, even though the human and the spider evolved similarly, the poet's sonnet is wholly different from the spider's web. Whether attempting to explicate "The Riddle of the Human Species," "Free Will," or "Religion"; warning of "The Collapse of Biodiversity"; or even creating a plausible "Portrait of E.T.," Wilson does indeed believe that humanity holds a special position in the known universe. The human epoch that began in biological evolution and passed into pre-, then recorded, history is now more than ever before in our hands. Yet alarmed that we are about to abandon natural selection by redesigning biology and human nature as we wish them, Wilson soberly concludes that advances in science and technology bring us our greatest moral dilemma since God stayed the hand of Abraham.
An Interpretation of Human Existence from the Viewpoint of Time
Author: Adrian C. Moulyn
Publisher: Praeger Pub Text
Suffering is a fact of human existence. In his interdisciplinary investigation of the causes, types, value, and outcome of human suffering, Adrian C. Moulyn has discovered a purpose in it. In The Meaning of Suffering Moulyn presents his thesis, (Suffering) heals the blemishes and the fractures in our problem ridden existence, in light of the binary nature of human temporo-spacial structure. Moulyn analyzes the source of suffering as a combination of the arbitrary nature of life itself (no one actually chooses to be born), and the dichotomy of the world as we see it (objectively) and the world as we want it (subjectively). While the melancholy of being thrown-into the world lays the groundwork, the discrepancy between desires and wants and the degree to which they are satisfied becomes a source of suffering. The value of suffering is in its healing powers. Suffering helps close the gap between what we desire and what we obtain. The outcome of constructive suffering is an increased ability to deal with the inherent contradictions of life, an enhanced awareness of the truly necessary and desirable, and a stronger, more secure conquest of happiness when it is achieved. Moulyn's thesis is an intriguing and optimistic analysis of human experience, and will be an asset to philosophy collections.
Inspired by the role Mother Nature plays in governing and placing everything in the universe in order, author Lafontant Clervil wrote The Cycle of Human Existence. The book is his attempt to answer questions he has grappled with for years with about man, mans nature and mans destiny. Clervils extraordinary narrative embraces and explains his persuasive theory that each human beings life is an endless cycle. In the process of birth, growth, aging and death, man goes through three natural reigns -- animal, mineral, and vegetable. During his time on earth, man is in the animal reign. After life, decomposition changes the body into the mineral reign. The chemicals and minerals from the body are used by plants, which produce foods rich in the same chemicals and minerals to rebuild, repair the body and sustain life. In this respect, mans existence is an endless cycle. Clervil believes that man is built by, with and in the power of God, the donor of life. Man is a sum of energy and has the power to do marvels. The essence of man is eternity because man cannot be destroyed according to the natural law of conservation of energy -- just transformed.
We live spiritually when we live in the presence of God. The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard is often read for his contributions to Christian theology, but he also has much to offer about spirituality--both Christian and more generally human. C. Stephen Evans assesses Kierkegaard's belief that true spirituality should be seen as accountability: the grateful recognition of our existence as gift. Spirituality takes on a Christian flavor when one recognizes in Jesus Christ the human incarnation of the God who gives us being. In this clearly written and substantive book a leading scholar on Kierkegaard's thought makes Kierkegaard's contributions to spirituality accessible not only to philosophers and theologians but to pastors, spiritual directors, and lay Christians. The Kierkegaard and Christian Thought series, coedited by C. Stephen Evans and Paul Martens, aims to promote an enriched understanding of nineteenth-century philosopher-theologian Søren Kierkegaard in relation to other key figures in theology and key theological concepts.
Literature reveals that the hidden strings of the human `passional soul' are the creative source of the specifically human existence. Continuing the inquiry into the `elemental passions of the soul' and the Human Creative Soul pursued in several previous volumes of this series, the present volume focuses on the `passions of the earth', bringing to light some of the primogenital existential threads of the innermost bonds of the Human Condition and mother earth. In Tymieniecka's words, the studies purpose to unravel the essential bond between the living human being and the earth - a bond that lies at the heart of our existence. A heightened awareness of this bond should enlighten our situation and help us find our existential bearings.
This book examines core concerns of human life. What is the relationship between a meaningful life and theism? Why are some human beings radically adrift, without radical foundations, and struggling with hopelessness? Is the cosmos meaningless? Is human life akin to the ancient Myth of Sisyphus? What is the role of struggle and suffering in creating meaning? How do we discover or create value? Is happiness overrated as a goal of life? How, if at all, can we learn to die meaningfully?
What is the meaning of life? It is a question that has intrigued the great philosophers--and has been hilariously lampooned by Monty Python. Indeed, the whole idea strikes many of us as vaguely pompous, a little absurd. Is there one profound and mysterious meaning to life, a single ultimate purpose behind human existence? In What's It All About?, Julian Baggini says no, there is no single meaning. Instead, Baggini argues meaning can be found in a variety of ways, in this life. He succinctly breaks down six answers people commonly suggest when considering what life is all about--helping others, serving humanity, being happy, becoming successful, enjoying each day as if it were your last, and "freeing your mind." By reducing the vague, mysterious question of meaning to a series of more specific (if thoroughly unmysterious) questions about what gives life purpose and value, he shows that the quest for meaning can be personal, empowering, and uplifting. If the meaning of life is not a mystery, if leading meaningful lives is within the power of us all, then we can look around us and see the many ways in which life can have purpose. We can see the value of happiness while accepting it is not everything. We can see the value of success, without interpreting that too narrowly. We can see the value of seizing the day as well as helping others lead meaningful lives. We can recognize the value of love, as perhaps the most powerful motivator of all. Illustrating his argument with the thoughts of many of the great philosophers and examples drawn from everyday life, Baggini convincingly shows that the search for meaning is personal and within the power of each of us to find.
Following a critical review of previous theological scholarship on Heidegger and a survey of North American philosophy of religion, the book examines Heidegger’s philosophy of religion and its influence on the North American variety of the same.
The long tradition of pessimism in philosophy and poetry notoriously laments suffering caused by vulnerabilities of the human body. The most familiar and contemporary version is antinatalism, the view that it is wrong to bring sentient life into existence because birth inevitably produces suffering. Technotopianism, which stems from a similarly negative view of embodied limitations, claims that we should escape sickness and death through radical human-enhancement technologies. In Embodiment and the Meaning of Life Jeff Noonan presents pessimism and technotopianism as two sides of the same coin, as both begin from the premise that the limitations of embodied life are inherently negative. He argues that rather than rendering life pointless, the tragic failures that mark life are fundamental to the good of human existence. The necessary limitations of embodied being are challenges for each person to live well, not only for their own sake, but for the sake of the future of the human project. Meaning is not a given, Noonan suggests, but rather the product of labour upon ourselves, others, and the world. Meaningful labour is threatened equally by unjust social systems and runaway technological development that aims to replace human action, rather than liberate it. Calling on us to draw conceptual connections between finitude, embodiment, and the meaning of life, this book shows that seeking the common good is our most viable and materially realistic source of optimism about the future.