The Meanings of Life

I remember being a child, wondering where I would be—wondering who I would be—when the year 2000 arrived. I hoped I would live that long. I hoped I would be in reasonable health. I would not have guessed I would have a white collar job, or that I would live in the United States. I would have laughed if you had told me the new millennium would find me giving a public lecture on the meaning of life. But that is life, unfolding as it does, meaning whatever it means. I am grateful to be here. I also am simply amazed.


Brenda Almond's essay, link below, is an exercise in wisdom, not only a study of it.  (One typo needs mentioning under the circumstances.  Footnote 10 says, "ibid, 264" which appears to refer back to p. 264 of Putnam's "Reason, Truth, and History" referenced in the previous footnote but is in fact a quotation from p. 264 of Rational Choice and Moral Agency, which Almond goes on to cite in footnote 11.)

Brenda Almond, "Seeking Wisdom"

For an excerpt from David Foster Wallace's 2005 commencement speech "This Is Water."  FWIW, Wallace was a student at U of A in the late 1980's, as was I, although I never met him.  He was tormented by depression and side effects of depression medication and committed suicide a few years after this address.  I do not presume to know anything about cause and effect here, but the affect of his depression was a sense of lack of authenticity that in the end, it seems, really did eat him alive.

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Published in: Robert Nozick


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