How can life possibly have meaning when we’re just an accident of chemistry + physics + who-knows-what? Dawkins gave his answer, and it’s fascinating.
Maybe it’s been a long week at a job that isn’t your favourite, a job you had to take to pay your ridiculous London rent. Maybe you’re desperately hoping you’re in a temporary situation, waiting for that perfect opportunity to come along. Or maybe you landed your ideal job, thought you’d finally made it, but soon realised it wasn’t all you thought it would be. What do you do when the dream job is just that?
Embarrassment begets embarrassment, and because embarrassment is infectious, it pulls a veil over the important conversations in life.
On a near daily basis, we find ourselves confronted with news of violence, conflict, suffering and death on a global scale. We’ve seen bombings in Brussels, shootings in Paris, car bombs in Ankara and countless atrocities across the Middle East and Africa. I find myself only half-digesting the facts of one horrific act, when, before long, news emerges of some other tragic loss of life in another part of the world....and so, we are faced with the great unsaid question: ‘What will fix it?
What is that phenomenon we call ‘beauty’ and why does it lie at the core of both collective civilisation and individual desire, even as we value it precisely for existing outside of practicality?
For some of us, success has become part of our identity. We have constructed a narrative about ourselves—which others have reinforced to us—that says: ‘You must be successful. You must be an achiever’. We feel a pressure to conform or live up to this identity...But if we don’t want to base our identity on what we do, what are the alternatives?
While Cobain and Augustine both end up famous and well-regarded in their respective fields of philosophical musing—one in music and the other in writing—somewhere along the way one experiences a tragic hopelessness leading to despair and suicide, while the other encounters life-changing hope and a new start. And what made the difference?
Sometimes religious people have given answers to the ‘Why?’ (God is testing you, you’ve done something bad in a previous life, or you’ve done something bad in this life & this is Karma.) At best, these answers are unsatisfying and at worst, dangerous and highly offensive.
I didn’t choose most of the circumstances in which my life has been shaped: my parents, my culture, my influences. How can it be truly said that ‘I am the captain of my soul’ when, in reality, I didn’t even choose to get in this boat?