This evening our Socrates Cafe group chose to discuss, “What is the question we should be asking about our life?” It was such a general question that it took a while before it began coming into focus for each of us, but after two hours we all departed having clarified what our individual life trajectory was all about. Or not.
We hit solidly on the concepts “Is the unexamined life worth living?”, and “Is there any meaning of our physical existence within the vastness of the Universe, both in time and space?”, “Where did we come from, and where do we go after we die?”, “Is what we do as important as who we are?”, “Does what we do define who we are?”, “Is our ultimate concern our objective reality, or our subjective relationship with it?”, “Isn’t the ultimate question simply, Why?”, “Isn’t it okay if we don’t get an answer, but participate in the journey through the questions?”, “Is our proper career making money or our avocation of discovering our true self?”, “Is our life just the filling in of our personal confirmation biases?”, “Should we shy away from truth, because we can’t handle the truth?”, “Is our life dominated by terror management of our coming death?”, “Are we seeking to replace why with reason, what with purpose and how with being kind to others?”, “Is our life just being attracted to the most magnetic question of the present moment?”, “Is our action dominated by our subjective self, and inaction forced upon us by our objective reasoning?”, “Does serious philosophy degenerate into meaningless statements of X = X?”, “Is a life well lived one that ends with pleasant thoughts of no regrets?”, “Do I want to live forever in a computer?”, “Is the best we can hope for to live the Serenity Prayer of simply doing what we can?”, “Is it enough to be one’s authentic self?”, “Should we follow the philosopher Nietzsche and strive for power, or Sartre and admit the meaninglessness of everything, or Kierkegaard and leap into faith, or Heidegger, or Steiner, or … who?”.
“Must we admit our question was unanswerable?”, “Was our question only a distraction from living our lives?”, “Did the question go deeper than rational thought can explore?”, “Does my life ultimately depend on asking the right question?”, “Can’t I simply live for personal pleasure, free of these worries?”, “Can’t we just live as the classic Roman stoics?”
I wasn’t, I am, I won’t be, and I am content with all of those?