Giving meaning life is an attempt to justify the existence of human beings by looking answering the question why we are here and our purpose. However, different scholars have come up with varying meaning to life based on different parameters they look at while formulating the answers. Additionally, different disciplines have varying similar definition to life since they have alternating perspective. For instance, the definitions by science, theology, philosophy or even metaphysics are all different. The definitions also vary from one culture to another due to the different believes and practices.
Richard Taylor, one of the renowned American philosophers due to his contrasting positions and immense contribution in metaphysics, argues that life does not become meaningful by the fact that a person is able to live. He holds the view that life only becomes meaningful when a person invests on the serving specific purpose on earth. Taylor put his argument into perspective by making a comparison between the life of human and that of other animals like housefly. Human beings must live a purposeful life that is different from the normal routines like other animals that do not any other thing other what is defined by nature. For example, fish only eat and swim laying eggs and finally dying.
There is no doubt human beings are parts of the ecosystem just like other non-human animals. If one fails to set apart from the expected routine then he or she is no different from other animals thus making his or her life meaningless. In fact, Taylor makes a controversial proposal that such people should not be allowed to live and the resources spend on attempting to extend their lives during sickness or other natural events are wasted. Therefore, everyone must define their goals, steps of achieving them and personal achievements. However, the achievements are often transitory and one has to develop new ones.
On the other hand, Albert Camus uses the theological approach to define the meaning of life. In his argument, Camus argues that no one can claim to give a precise definition to the life since “there isn’t one and we can’t make one either” (Perry, 2015). He further make san outrageous argument that any attempt to give meaning to life will result in a disaster as the meaning cannot last for long and would certainly be set up in the near future.
Albert’s position is very interesting since he downplays the role of science, theology, philosophy and society in giving meaning to life as such definitions can results in absurdity. His philosophy on giving a meaning to life is entirely based on the idea of absurdity and believes that it unnecessary for human beings to strive finding a meaning to the things that does not matter. In fact according to him “Our lives are meaningless and will remain so” (Perry, 2015). However, Albert does not believe that it is bad for life to be meaningless but instead it provides us with an opportunity to do whatever pleases us and give us enjoy. He seems to support the idea of leaving one day at a time to the fullest by doing whatever one wishes. No one should put unnecessary pressure on themselves trying to pursue trying to give meaning to the life that gives them satisfaction.
Richard Taylor’s argument on life is sensible compared to the Albert’s proposal on several grounds. Human beings were created to serve particular purpose in this world which we have to do so as to bring the difference between us and other animals. Human beings do not have higher IQ than other animals for no apparent reason thus doing the routine things like playing football and swimming- as proposed by Albert, do not make us any different from other animals. After all any other living creature have their lives predetermined by the ecosystem. For example, fish has to swim and look for food or escape the predators.
Similarly, the ecosystem also defines the primary roles of human beings which include searching for food, procreation and finally dying. However, we must live a mark on our lives by doing extraordinary things that are not predetermined by the system. These activities out of the normal schedule are what bring the meaning to life as they not only improve our personal capacities but also the environment where we live. For example, suppose everyone was living within their comfort zone as proposed by Albert then there would be no scientific discoveries that positively impact our lives. In fact, the future generation would find the world unsustainable due to the depletion of resources.
In conclusion, Richard Taylor’s description on the meaning of life makes more compared to Albert’s proposal. Life only becomes meaningful if we strive to serve our purpose and meet the objectives otherwise the will be no difference between human beings and other animals. However, the proposal by Richard that people who do not have meaning of their lives should not be allowed to live is illogical since our purpose is not defined by visible attributes.
PERRY, J. (2015). INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY. [S.l.]: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS.