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The Eternal Question


Book One of The Meaning of Life Trilogy

The Eternal Question

The Eternal Question analyzes ideas about the meaning of life:
•  Life is about the pursuit of pleasure,
•  Life is about the pursuit of success
•  Life is about preparation for the hereafter
•  Life has meaning because it is self-created.
The book concludes that there are only two intellectually coherent answers to the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’
One of these is that life is meaningless.
The second answer is that human life can potentially have meaning but to understand if it actually does, we would need to understand what it means to be human and what happened at the point of our origin.

Extract from

The Eternal Question: What is the meaning of life?

Introduction: Life as we know it

What is the meaning of life?

This is The Eternal Question.

It is a question which concerns each and every one of us in the most piercing and dramatic way possible - for in the answer to the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’ lies the path to a truly meaningful life for each one of us.

Does my life have any meaning?

Is there any point to my existence?

Would it really matter if I died tomorrow?

How can I forge a life that is truly meaningful?

These questions are far more critical than enquiries into the shape of the universe or the nature of black holes. If we have a wrong idea about black holes, it doesn’t truly affect our everyday lives. But, if we have a wrong idea about the meaning of life, it can cripple not only our own lives but the lives of those whom we touch.

To ultimately answer The Eternal Question, we will have to span the fields of philosophy, psychology and spirituality. We will have to reach a very deep understanding of the human condition and how human life can be richly meaningful – and how it can also be abysmally lacking in meaning.

In this book, The Eternal Question, we will be concentrating on ideas and the analysis of ideas - ie, philosophy.

Our lives are shaped not just by economic forces and political decisions but by ideas. Indeed, in a real sense, economic forces and political structures are manifestations of ideas. Communism started as an idea. Democracy started as an idea.

No ideas have more strongly shaped the history of the world - and your life - than ideas about the meaning of life. Consider the Christian view is that life is a preparation for the hereafter: Do what thou shouldst and shun the ‘shalt nots’ in order to get into heaven. How massively has that idea impacted on billions of lives over the last two millennia?

Such is the power of an idea.

In this book we will be analyzing ideas about the meaning of life to see if the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’ makes sense and can have a satisfactory answer.

Let’s find out…

The Eternal Question: Table of Contents

Life as we know


Part I: Does meaninglessness in life mean that life is meaningless?

Spectres of Meaninglessness


Part II: Can meaning IN life become the meaning OF life?

Eat, drink and be successful for tomorrow you die

Life as the Pursuit of Pleasure

Life as the pursuit of successful goal-directed actions

The Diceman problem: Are all aims equal?


Part III: ‘What is the meaning of life?’Try these answers on for size

The Great Theories of Life

The Selfish Gene Meaning of Life

Life is Meaningless

Life is Self-created

Life is Preparation for the Hereafter


Part IV: ‘What is the meaning of life?’Can this question have a satisfactory answer?

Is there a viable alternative to nihilism?

What is the meaning of this particular human life?

Intention and the meaning of human existence

The problem of arbitrariness

And where the hell did I come from?


Appendix: Life as a Game

Select Bibliography

Permanent link to this article: http://renlexander.com/forthcoming-3/meaning-life/the-eternal-question/

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