Wednesday, December 8, 2010

S2:E10 Life is Meaningless

Recap: So we give it meaning!
Last night's show revolved around a rather controversial topic that purposely lends itself to misinterpretation. When someone says life is meaningless, almost automatically everyone thinks that person is suicidal. That is only too obvious of a reaction. If life is meaningless, then there is really not any reason why the person in question would choose to live it as opposed to taking their own life. But that is not the kind of meaninglessness in which the show was based.
In the show, we talked about the sort of meaninglessness that translates into emptiness that leaves the space for us to fill. So the controversy began! Meaning is subjective. Everyone's life is different and everyone gives it their own meaning. Everyone fills that empty with different things, actions, people. Life and its meaning are then customizable, so to speak. We do what we want and we make it valuable. We have our passions that are used to define or justify our existence. In other words, we are free to choose the meaning of our lives. But... are you ready for this? If we are to fill the space because we are not allowed to leave it empty, then what happens to those people for whom having the empty space is more meaningful than filling it? There is a paradox: emptiness cannot be filled with meaningless things, yet it cannot stay empty. So how do we then choose what to fill the space with? That is when the idea of subjectivity comes in handy. We all choose different when it comes to filling the space. Sometimes our choices are similar to those other people make, but at the end there is always something that makes our life different than that of someone else with whom we could perhaps have a lot in common.
The devil's advocate also made an appearance last night, and it came exactly at this point. So we seemed to be agreeing with the idea that we are free to customize our life however we chose, and someone came and argue the complete opposite. In other words, the new argument proposed that life already has meaning and we make life meaningless. The controversy then exploited! If we are given everything at the moment we are born, then how is it that we come to destroy everything? What does that make us? Are we that horrible? Are we that useless? Are we that incapable? So what is it then: a blank canvas or a marvelous painting? I hope you kids see the problem here. We cannot just assume that we are so bad and incapable to create our own masterpiece that we just destroy the painting we are gifted with, namely take away the meaning of life. Yet, even then destroying that meaning is perhaps what gives our life meaning.
Eventually the devil's advocate came around, however. On this note, there was someone else who mentioned that we have to stay strong despite how difficult life might be sometimes. We sometimes fight against and others we just flow with it. But it is always a matter of giving it meaning by valuing what we have. Also, at the end we talked about existentialism and determinism their differences and similarities and the important role they both play when it comes to deciding whether life is meaningful or not and how. We also danced around Nietzsche's idea of the eternal recurrence of the same and the effect that could have on finding/creating the meaning of our lives. I would like to leave you with a comment one of the viewers made over this idea because it seems as a great season closing: You have to accept there aren't any timeless truths. There isn't anything that exists outside of the individual.
Here is what you missed.

Thanks for a great second season! Your comments, questions, and suggestions are what makes this show possible keep them coming for season three!


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