Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

14-1 Cottingham

-Sorry I'm just now getting this up! I was already pulling an all nighter for my theatre history project so I didn't get a chance.

So for our last podcast topic, we had John Cottingham's views on the meaning of life and what that is. We got to have a nice, short little discussion outside about what life means to different people. Cottingham's answer to the meaning of life is a complicated one.  He believes that the problem with human exsistence is our fragilty, that we feel constantly in danger of death, illness and old age. He dicussed how as humans we are supposed to be in charge of our lives in some way, but that there are so many conditions in life that we cannot control. While it is a good intention to talk and plan about what is the best way to live life, those conditions make it impossible to really know what is the best possible way. He believes that a meaningful life varies in enriching and valuable activities, while realizing that life is fragile and things are often out of our control. He also believes that morality plays a big role in the meaning of life, that we must perform moral activities to feel successful. He, like Camus compares life to the story of Sisyphus, but does not believe that all human beings can live that way, knowing there is no hope for a different outcome but pushing on anyway. He believes that we must have hope to be human, to go on pursuing whatever it is our objective is in life. He also believes that it is extremely important that we find that objective, the thing that you are supposed to strive for and we need to develop a deeper spritiual self understanding.


  1. I Think People Spend Their Entirr Life Trying To discover the meaning of life when in reality it was something simple all along. or perhaps there is no meaning to life....I tend to side with the view that there is no absolute meaning outside of our basic biolgical uses for the environment.

  2. The meaning of life is different for eveybody to me the meaning of life is to keep moving forward with my family and friends and take care of those who take care of you. The spirtuality of man is a variable that's part of a happy person equation that varies from person to person. The best way to know the meaning of life is to give your life meaning.

  3. I wasn't able to join the discussion on Tuesday, but I do think that even the most meaningful life can be rendered meaningless by the person who lives it. That being said, our lives are composed of many different—and sometimes even conflicting—notes, and without any meaning to keep us grounded we risk losing to the elements of fate. I think many of us strive to define our lives because we are aware of what might happen if we don't. What remains of the world if we don't at least try to understand it? More importantly, what remains of us? But I don't think that humans hold on to just one string. I think what ultimately makes us who we are transcends the arrow of time and physicality. We are also human precisely because we are fragile, and we seem to be broken more often than not. But the way we are able to hold on just proves the strength of humanity and its fluidity.

  4. My summary was pretty bare minimum too but it's one of those weeks where everything is due so oh well. I think the meaning of life is something that everyone is always going to see differently and that's okay. Having something that gives your life meaning is what really matters in my opinion, and I think for me it comes down to the people in my life. Most of what I do is because I want to make myself a better person for them, and maybe that isn't normal because a lot of people say we are all self centered, and maybe it is, because making someone important to me happy does make me feel good too, but that is what keeps me going, my family and friends. I used to think that to have a meaningful life I would have to do all kinda of things but now I really move forward because to the relationships I have and the time I spend with people. Performing is another thing that is really meaningful for me, and I'm not sure if that goes along with the self serving side or with wanting to make people happy, but that's the other thing that I get through all the mundane every day stuff for. I feel like that it definitely all means something. Life has too much going on, I don't think there is any way we're just going through life, feeling all these emotions and interpreting what they mean, without there being any true meaning.