Mortiz Schlick: the Meaning of Life in Play

Topics: Meaning of life, Life, Intrinsic value Pages: 5 (1765 words) Published: April 10, 2011
Final Essay
Schlick and the meaning of life in play

Philosophy: The Meaning of Life

I do not agree with Schlick's contention that the meaning of life is grounded in the act of play and not work. I disagree for three main reasons. First, I find Schlicks account of forgetting the purpose of activities to be somewhat flawed. He demonstrates how the purpose of an activity does not yield meaning and that work is a means to a goal. I find a discrepancy in this in regards to his acceptance of Goethe's rule. Schlick also holds that in order for us to understand how to lead a meaningful life through creative-play, that we do it by emulating children or youth. I disagree with Schlicks supposed template for meaningfulness due to the feelings associated with creative-play and what it is to feel meaning in something. I argue that he is appealing to emotions rather than the quality of meaning. Finally, I discuss Schlicks understanding of youth and what it means to attempt to emulate it. I believe that he is too presumptuous and assumes that all youth is experienced in a similar manner; this is not the case each individual possesses a different aspect of what youthful living is and was.

Schlick holds that creative play may produce valuable goods in the same way that unpleasurable activity or work can. He then goes on to say that the more activities become play, the more work would be accomplished and value would arise from it. He finishes by saying that work is human action because we think of the outcomes or benefits, and not because we arrive at them. He uses examples such as the artist using the act of creation as a means of forgetting the rewards of the project he toils away at. I disagree with Schlick, or his understanding of forgetting the fruits beared from the act of creative play. In this sense, Schlick is assuming that we cannot have a goal in mind in order to derive meaning from the moment. He stresses that purposeless activities are the key to deriving meaning but what gives rise to the initiation of these activities? If there is no reason for the artist to pick up a paint brush then why bother do it? Schlick may argue that the artist finds meaning through painting because the entire process of creation is a joyful moment, even the tasks that are required to prepare to make art. I question what made the person become an artist then. There will be a precursor to each individuals decision that will be a reason as to why they decided to pursue something. I believe that Schlicks idea that the artist may lose himself in the moment of creation and derive meaning from it holds true to his theory, but I argue that it was necessary for a goal or purpose to be understood prior to seeking it. The goal provides a means to deriving meaning out of the appreciation of the activity. Unfortunately, not all goals or purposes can necessarily be thought of as a moment in which one could be enthusiastic about. I find it hard to believe that life threatening situations could be regarded as moments in which someone became enthusiastic or finds bliss to derive meaning. Certain goals, such as survival, provide stressors necessary for we as humans to complete a goal. It is in these moments of high stress that I would argue the meaningful moment be derived from the outcome or completion of the goal. Schlick may argue that life loses the power of creation when focused on distant goals but prior to that he mentions Goethe's rule of working hard to play hard. It seems Schlick is willing to accept the possibility of individuals working towards goals so long as they never forget the value of joy and festivities. I believe this to be a flaw because he is considering work as a means to the meaning life, if the outcome of work is to be joyous and playful. This potentially contradicts his previous contention that the meaning of life is grounded in play. It does not specifically depict work as a meaning to life, but describes how it can be a necessary...
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