The Meaning of Life

In his poem Ars Poetica, Archibald MacLeish famously wrote that a poem should not mean but be. And much as we value the idea of finding meaning in life as opposed to living controlled by our less admirable instincts and emotions, perhaps the same thing could be said about life in general, that the purpose of life is being alive, is life itself and the living of it. The idea of meaning seems somehow too cognitive and intellectual unless it also connects with the heart. For we don’t live an abstractifed life or an exclusively intellectual one, but an actual one, one in which we don’t need to find the capacity to love “people” so much as to love the individual, flawed people in our own lives

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