Thursday, December 8, 2011

The "Meaning of life" and Tolstoy

       Comments and annotations on my academic stuff in square brackets.   
        Tolstoy looks at the problem [of the meaning of life] as a  question, “Why should I live?” And what was Tolstoy’s answer? It should be noted that Tolstoy deeply thought about this and came up to a limit to what he refers to as “rational knowledge.” In a more straightforward fashion Tolstoy (2000, 16-7) explains his previous reflections and makes a realization:
In verifying the train of thoughts of my rational knowledge, I found that it was quite correct. The deduction that life was nothing was inevitable; but I saw a mistake. The mistake was that I had not reasoned in conformity with the question put by me. The question was, “Why should I live?” that is, “What real, indestructible essence will come from my phantasmal, destructible life? What meaning has my finite existence in this infinite world?” And in order to answer this question, I studied life.

“…I studied life”, Tolstoy reflected on his own situation that some would find enviable. Yet, enviable as Tolstoy might have been to others his plight can be seen as shared by people who reflect on the significance and value of their lives. Such reflections are sometimes caused by traumatic experiences [Can we say that this is now a stereotype?], but the case of Tolstoy is different, more akin to a mystical experience combined with a philosophical searching of oneself. [What happened to the spacing?]

Here's my reference to Tolstoy: 

The new (3rd) edition  also looks good. I wonder how Klemke is.

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