Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Meaning and Immortality

Scientific American blogger and academic psychologist Clay Routledge writes that "To Feel Meaningful Is to Feel Immortal".

My comment: It's nice to know that empirical research confirms what religion and philosophy have been saying for a couple of millennia. 

But is this "feeling" of immortality rationally justifiable or is it merely a useful illusion? When Dr Routledge describes us as "meaning-making animals," he seems to encourage the latter view: that there is no meaning apart from what we "make." 

I find it difficult to imagine being satisfied by a "meaning" that I am conscious of having "made" myself. 

By contrast, the Platonic tradition in philosophy (and similar traditions in Asian thought) give reasons for regarding meaning as a feature of reality--a reality that the feeling of immortality, then, reflects. 

To take this thought seriously, we must of course consider systematically what we mean by "reality"; and this may involve reconsidering the nature of "empirical" investigation. I look forward to the day when "empirical" psychology will have the nerve to consider these questions with an open mind.


  1. The mind is a great philosopher. And life is not a philosophy, life is a reality. And philosophy is an escape from reality; philosophy means thinking. Life is, there is no question of thought. You can simply jump into it. You can simply experience it. Visit my site for more information.Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Sandra. If philosophy and thinking are escapes from reality, I wonder why you have a blog. Why don't you just "experience"?

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