The Meaning of Life

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The Meaning of Life

“The Meaning of Life” is an excerpt from Richard Taylor’s book Good and Evil: A New Direction, with this book Mr. Taylor was thought to have adopted a radical subjectivist view of ethics. In this excerpt he explains why existence and life is meaningless and he sheds light into the meaning of life. Throughout his explanations Richard uses an example from an ancient Greek myth. The myth is about Sisyphus a Greek man who offended the gods and was sentenced to roll a large stone up a hill for all of eternity.

Richard starts his explanation of the “Meaningless of Existence” with the toils of Sisyphus. Sisyphus is forced to roll a stone up a hill, when it is near the top the stone will roll back down and he is forced to roll it up again, only to have it fall once more to be rolled up again and again for all of eternity. It is Sisyphus’ punishment that we will focus on. Sisyphus is the picture of a “meaningless, pointless toil of a meaningless existence that is absolutely never redeemed”(Taylor, Richard). He has lost all purpose in life except to roll a stone; it is a never ending nightmare that he will never awaken from. Taylor gives other examples of meaningless tasks, a relay styles race with a precious gem transported back and forth in a never ending cycle, and a digging hole only to be refilled with the same earth. The points to all this is that all these tasks are pointless and without meaning.

The story could be different and Sisyphus can have meaning if he circumstance were different, if Sisyphus rolled stone to the top and all the stone accumulated into a wonderful and enduring temple, he would have some meaning to his labors. If the gods as an after thought made it so that Sisyphus’ only will and desire was to roll stone, then Sisyphus would perhaps take enjoyment in his task. This change in his perception does not change his task at hand; it only changes his perspective. His is still condemned to an eternity of meaningless and...
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