Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Maverick Philosopher argues that we cannot be the source of our own existential meaning. He explains it with great clarity. His argument is that if my life has no meaning apart from the meaning that I create for myself, then before I create meaning for myself, I and my acts exist meaninglessly. This further implies that my very act of meaning-bestowal exists meaninglessly. If the very act of meaning-bestowal is meaningless, how can it give my life a meaning? As far as I can see, it's a pretty devastating argument.
My own view on the matter is that meaning exists as a set of open-ended possibilities determined by the facticity of an individual; the personal, social, political, historical and material circumstances, and the inherent capabilities, which all limit and shape the spectrum of possibilities. One of these possibilities is actualized over the lifetime by the interaction of the individual will and the facticity. We are not the source of our existential meaning. We are the actualizers of possibilities; it is part-creation, part-discovery. Among the possibilities is also the possibility of lack of actualization of any meaning at all. This may be the result of a failure of an attempted actualization, through our unwise choices or through tragic circumstances. This may be intentional, such as a life of willful nihilism, and it may be unintentional, for instance, through thoughtless, inauthentic modes of existence in which the question of meaning never arises as a serious question.