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Modern Understanding


The aim of manypeople is to live a meaningful life here on earth. The distinctionarises in the definition of a meaningful life. The meaning of thisphrase changes depending on the person who is defining it. Religiouspeople believe unshakable faith like that one demonstrated by Abrahamis a highway to living a meaningful life. The common understandingamong many believers is that God’s blessings and eternity areachieved only after performing acts of faith. God only provides toonly those who work, rain falls only to those who please Him, and thesun does not shine among the believers and non believers alike is thebelieve among many religious people. Kierkegaard, however, disagreeswith this and argues that the world is full of imperfections and thatsometimes rewards go to those who least deserve them. Nietzsche et alargue that, in order for a person to live a meaningful life, theremust be a balance between pleasures and displeasures of life (6). Thevirtuous man is the happiest man,` he agrees with this great Stoicsaying. The reality is there is no any particular formula of living ameaningful life. Many theories have been developed trying to explainhow to live a fulfilling life, but none can be proved. Theoutside world is full of imperfections where everything belongs towho have it. The one who sleeps sometimes gets bread when the one whoworks goes hungry. In this planet, it is not a surprise to see awicked man receive the reward of a righteous person and the righteousreceiving the punishment of the wicked. Being good or righteous asthey call it is not an assurance of living a meaningful life. Evilthings happen to both the righteous and the wicked alike. The beliefamong many believers that good things happen to the righteous andevil things face the wicked is a misconception. Perhaps this happensbut only in the world of spirit. In the real world things aredifferent toiling is never an assurance of a happy life and sleepingdo not necessary mean going without bread. Bad things and fortuneshappen to all alike. The righteous, the wicked, the wise and thefoolish all face challenges and misfortunes in this outward world.Kierkegaard argues “In the outward world, everything belongs towhoever has it….”(Kierkegaard et al 57). Abraham is knownby many as the father of faith because of his different acts writtenin the bible that demonstrate this. Many believers and non believersalike have a notion that Abraham lived a meaningful life. ‘Hisgreatness was that he so loved God that he was ready to offer Him thebest he had. The meaning of the best here is his only son Isaac.According to the world of spirits, Abraham was willing to sacrificehis only son but according to the outward world. Abraham was willingto murder his only son. Even if we take it in the spiritual world,and we call it sacrifice, if one person attempts to sacrifice his sonto please God, he will be called a murderer by the same people whopreach about Abraham. The irony is, one man attempts to sacrifice hisonly son and he is termed as great but another man attempts to do thesame thing and is termed a murderer. This implies that what used tobe good in the old days may not be good today and there is noparticular path of living a meaningful life (Kierkegaard et al65). Although having faith and obeying God’s commandments isseen by many to be an assurance of a meaningful life, in reality thisis not true. Abraham is said to have obeyed God’s will from a youngage. He had immense faith in God and did whatever he was commandedwithout questioning. Sacrificing of his only son is seen as hisbiggest act of faith. One would expect Abraham to have lived a veryfulfilling life because of his faith and obedience to God’s will.However, this was not the case. Abraham’s wife was barren and helived for 99 years without having a child. He even had a child withhis slave because his wife could not bear children. If the believersof spiritual worlds were true, Abraham would not have gone throughthis. Being a man who had faith in God, he was expected to live avery happy life without such misfortunes. Although it is not written,there is a possibility there were wicked people during Abraham’stime who had children despite their evil deeds. Humanity is noteternal as some people think, no substance is eternal. The wholeworld is full of chaos in the sense that it lacks arrangement, order,wisdom and any other name that may be used to describe this. Humanlife is characterized by unsuccessful attempts. We all go to thegrave still trying to achieve something that looks so close yet sofar. There are no coincidences in life, everything happens at God’sset time and human beings will never understand what he is doing. Themaker is the giver of life and He take it at His own set time. Whatremains for human beings is to strive and be good for all during theshort time in this world. Nietzsche contends that a man made amistake by believing he has attributes such as eternity and thinkinghe is superior to other animals (Nietzsche et al 7). Nietzsche notes“Even the most harmful man may really be themost useful when it comes to the preservation of the species.”

Life is full of habits some endure while some are brief shorthabits are the best. Brief practices according to him gives anindividual a chance to meet new friends, change health, know manythings and states, create new ideas and experience new things inlife. Nietzsche is opposed to enduring practices which he arguesleads to association with the same people, routine work, constanthealth and a constant domicile. In short this philosopher believesthat brief habits can make an individual live a meaningful life whileenduring habits can make you live a mediocre life. However, there isno scientific proof to confirm his theory. There are people who havehad enduring habits and they have lived a more fulfilling life thanpeople who have had brief habits. The opposite is also true, somepeople who have had brief habits enjoy life more. Borgmannthinks differently about how to live a meaningful life. He believesthat time dictates the best way to live. Every generation revolvesaround a certain focal point. The pre technological era used firewoodto prepare their meals. Food would be prepared and the family wouldset apart time for taking a meal together. To them, sitting around atable and eating a meal together was living meaningfully. In thetechnological era, people are too busy with many tasks to solve,technology has simplified work and people rarely split firewood.People are accustomed to buying readymade food and they rarely sittogether as a family to take their meal. In most cases, individualstake their meal while still working, this is a contemporary world andstill people live meaningful lives. A meaningful life depends on theprevailing circumstances at a given time. He contends that no matterthe time, there are people who live meaningful life and they fulfilltheir goals in life. The pre-technological era had its owndisadvantages, but still people survived and enjoyed life. Technologycame with its limitations but still people take advantage of it andlive meaningfully (Borgmann 44). Borgmann argues “Technology, as wehave seen, promises to bring the forces of nature and culture undercontrol, to liberate us from misery and toil, and to enrich ourlives” (41).Conclusion Many scholars havedeveloped theories trying to explain how to live a meaningful, but noagreement has been reached yet. In the spiritual world, peoplebelieve that having faith in God is a pathway to a meaningful life.There are those others who believe that hard work is not an assuranceof a meaningful life and there are still others who believe that ameaningful life is a balance of pleasures and displeasures of life.Borgmann contends that a meaningful life depends on the prevailingconditions and that, in every generation, there are people who livemeaningful lives regardless of the challenges facing the society. Allthese are theories that are not scientifically proven. Living ameaningful life is a product of several factors and it also dependson the personality of an individual.


Borgmann, Albert. Technology and the character of contemporarylife : a philosophical inquiry. Chicago: University of ChicagoPress, 1987. Print.

Kierkegaard, Søren, Simon Evans, and Sylvia Walsh. Fear andtrembling. Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.Print.

Nietzsche, Friedrich W., et al. The gay science : with a preludein German rhymes and an appendix of songs. Cambridge, U.K. NewYork: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.