Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

Suffering without purpose is unbearable

September 9, 2009

Until the advent of the ascetic ideal, man, the animal man, had no meaning at all on this earth. His existence was aimless; the question, ‘Why is there such a thing as man?’ could not have been answered….behind every great human destiny there sounded as a refrain a yet greater “in vain!” This is precisely what the ascetic ideal means: that something was lacking, that man was surrounded by a fearful void—he did not know how to justify, to account for, to affirm himself; he suffered from the problem of his meaning…

He also suffered otherwise, he was in the main a sickly animal: but his problem was not suffering itself, but that there was no answer to the crying question, “why do I suffer?”

Man, the bravest of animals and the one most accustomed to suffering, does not repudiate suffering as such; he desires it, he even seeks it out, provided he is shown a meaning for it, a purpose of suffering. The meaninglessness of suffering, not suffering itself, was the curse that lay over mankind so far…man would rather will nothingness than not will.

Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, Third Essay, 28

The faith of the Enlightenment

August 28, 2009

The essential articles of the religion of the Enlightenment may be stated thus: (1) man is not natively depraved; (2) the end of life is life itself, the good life on earth instead of the beatific life after death; (3) man is capable, guided solely by the light of reason and experience, of perfecting the good life on earth; and (4) the first and essential condition of the good life on earth is the freeing of men’s minds from the bonds of ignorance and superstition, and of their bodies from the arbitrary oppression of the constituted social authorities. With this creed the “constant and universal principles of human nature,” which Hume tells us are to be discovered by a study of history, must be in accord, and “man in general” must be a creature who would conveniently illustrate these principles. What these “universal principles” were the Philosophers, therefore, understood before they went in search of them, and with “man in general” they were well acquainted, having created him in their own image. They knew instinctively that “man in general” is natively good, easily enlightened, disposed to follow reason and common sense; generous and humane and tolerant, more easily led by persuasion than compelled by force; above all a good citizen and a man of virtue, being well aware that, since the rights claimed by himself are only the natural and imprescriptible rights of all men, it is necessary for him voluntarily to assume the obligations and to submit to the restraints imposed by a just government for the commonweal.


History – Is it leading anywhere?

August 26, 2009

History is little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.

Edward Gibbon

Which would mean life is meaningless in any ultimate sense.

History is linear means that the actions of p e o p l e – as confusing and chaotic as they appear-are nonetheless part of a meaningful sequence that has a beginning, a middle and an end. History is not reversible, not repeatable, not cyclic; history is not meaningless. Rather, history is teleological, going somewhere, directed toward a known end. The God who
knows the end from the beginning is aware of and sovereign over the progress actions of mankind.

James Sire, Universe Next Door, p.41

The Story of the Taoist Farmer

August 23, 2009

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”

A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”

The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.

As told by Executive editor, Elise Hancock, in the Johns Hopkins Magazine, November 1993, page 2, in section entitled Editor’s Note. Source
But for the Christian: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8.32). We don’t know why suffering has come, but we know who has brought it about and that he has done it for our ultimate good (conformity to Christ).

Atheism defined

October 8, 2008

Atheism: The ironic and self-defeating orderly appeal to reason for the existence of a reasonless universe without order, whose purpose is to evidence that there is no purpose, and whose morality is to argue that we should teach that there are no morals except that which they have reasoned for their purpose, which, in turn, produces the ultimate emotional articulation of self-centredness which is fearfully bent towards the cover up and suppression of belief in an ultimately personal cause who brings order, purpose and judgment to all things.

source unknown