New Philosopher - N19 - 2018

An envelope is opened at the end of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, its contents promising an answer to the eternal question: What is the meaning of life? The answer: “Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”

Pondering the meaning of life is not just the domain of Pythons and philosophers. Curious eight-year-olds, heartbroken teens, and expiring octogenarians alike reflect on life’s meaning, if only in difficult or dull moments. And, much like the legions of thinkers before them, they can’t agree on an answer. Some say it’s ‘love’; others ‘learning how to die’; or ‘flourishing’; or, one that’s particularly popular among teens and philosophers, ‘there is no meaning’.

Whether you’ve found meaning or you’re still searching, try to remember Seneca’s counsel: “The life we receive is not short, but we make it so; nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it.” In essence: don’t squander the time you’ve been granted.

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