Friday, February 19, 2010

The Creation of Value or The Meaning of Life or 42

In a previous post, I was commenting that I had been thinking of the concept of value recently. Then, the other day, I picked up a book entitled The Creation of Value by Irving Singer, who is a professor at MIT. The book is quite good and I thought I'd copy some of it down so that I can look back at it. I usually do this in a journal, but now that I have a blog, it will be so much easier to find where I write down these random things. I can find most of it again in google books.

There are some pages not included in this preview however, so here are some quotes/notes from those pages:

1. Throughout history educated people generally assumed that philosophy, like religion, is capable of elucidating the meaning of life. In the past, philosophers often made this attempt. But the twentieth century has been quite different. Questions about the meaning of life have been dismissed or neglected by many of the greatest thinkers in the last hundred years. Even if they were right to do so, we must nevertheless wonder why it is that human beings are both attracted to such matters and constantly baffled by them.

2. A healthy person does not brood about the meaning of life. He gets up in the morning and throws himself into activities that involve his energies and provide personal gratifications.

9/10. Peasants - Without much schooling and without systematic thought, they had learned how to live in manner that eluded him. They acted out of faith rather than reason, and he concluded that only faith comparable to theirs could make life meaningful. This helped him toward religious feelings he thought he had outgrown.

14/15. Above all, we must ask ourselves whether we understand what the original problem was. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Once you know what the question is, you'll know what the answer is.

21/22. Nietzche - amor fati (love of destiny, or things as they really are). This attitude entails a heroic and healthy-minded acceptance of reality even though it is horrible and wholly destructive to everything that participates in it. The worst parts of existence also belong to reality, and he has determined to love and therefore accept it all completely.

I just realized the google book ends on page 34, so there is far too much to fill in here and probably not right to do with regard to copyright. Here's one last quote though from page 103:

John Stuart Mills: People can be happy only if they "have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness: on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end".

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