This I Believe

Robert - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on July 31, 2007

We have so much we can believe such as regarding ourselves, other people and God. I myself have believed for a long time that we ought to believe the best based on evidence. But what is that?

Then one freezing holiday it hit me while I was somewhat depressed over another matter as I was gazing at my newborn son: above all, I believed I wanted my life to have meaning. Everyone’s life ought to have maximum meaning, I soon realized.

I cannot over-emphasize how important it is for our lives to matter to other people and to society. Each person should have significant effects or at least good ones with our lives as a whole. As Chicago writer Studs Terkel declared, the purpose of our lives is “to make a dent.”

By helping other people and bettering the world, no matter how little, you can make life more meaningful for more people than yourself.

Upon researching the idea of the meaning of life, I discovered that very little has been written explicitly about it.

This is the only great idea that we have not yet full developed. I soon decided that I would write and publish a quarterly journal on the meaning of life to try to eke out a living rather than being financi- ally and professionally in every way except legally by teaching philosophy as an adjunct at various colleges in the Chicago area.

I would sell affordable suscriptions to my journal mostly to professors of philo- sophy and college libraries, but I soon learned that these two groups could care less about anything that was not strictly an academic fashion.

I muddled around with my journal on the meaning of life with a few subscrip- tions from acquaintances. Then a letter I sent to the “Chicago Tribune” miraculously found its way to a sypathetic editor. He assigned it to a senior writer. This writer injected much ironic humor into his feature article which was reprinted in over 30 newspapers.

The net result of my good luck was that I received over 3,400 subsscriptions to

my journal. Each of the 54 issues contained

a feature essay giving the meaning of life more of its needed development, ap- plying it to God, interpreting it in master- pieces of art works and dozens of aphorisms on the meaning of life and how to live a more meaningful life.

Most subscribers did not renew presum- mably when they did not get instant answers about the meaning of their lives rather than the continuing dialogue I had envisioned.

In summary, I am most perplexed by the reaction to the idea of the meaning of life. Most people regard it as a con- founding an tricky idea–which it is fully.

They think they can well do without it–

which they and everyone else cannot do

at least on the implicit level. Very few people appreciate the idea of the meaning of life for its unique worth.

Nevertheless, I continue to believe fer- vently in my view on the meaning of life

because it has enabled me to live my life most fully in every area: relationships. search for the spiritual, aesthetic experi- ences, civic engagement and many others.

I believe the fact that so many people miss so much meaning life has is utterly pathetic. I will stay on my course of pursuing more meaning in life for all people even if I am now almost alone in explicitly doing so.

I will continue to publish my journal. I will also continue to teach, think and live philosophy as meaningfully as I can. As I have stated, I most strongly believe in the meaning of life.