Steinbecks Nonteleological Perspective

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There is no meaning to life. Life has no inherent meaning. The meanings of our lives are chosen by what we feel and experience or are assigned to us by others. The ends of our existence cannot be foreseen and will not be limited by such things as destiny. These are the ideas and philosophies of those who believe life to be non-teleological. A famous literary example of a non-teleologist is a man named John Steinbeck. Throughout his life Steinbeck experimented with Darwinism, transcendentalism, realism, socialism, naturalism, and Taoism (Endnotes 1). Each of these ways of thinking show up in Steinbeck’s philosophy and therefore his work cannot be classified specifically. All that may be said is that he had a non-teleological way of thinking. As nature played such a major role in his life, Steinbeck’s characters are shaped by nature and their surroundings give purpose to their lives. These characters’ fates are not pre-determined. Instead every event in the natural world gives new meaning to a life. As a result of Steinbeck’s non-teleological beliefs, his characters’ lives contain no inherent meaning and their ever-changing paths are influenced by occurrences and over the passage of time.
A surprisingly few number people know what the meaning of teleology is but a large majority of the population have very strong feelings towards its basic principle. Teleology is the philosophical study of evidences of design in nature. It is the fact or the character of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose. Teleology may be used to describe natural processes or nature as a whole, conceived as determined by final causes or by the design of a divine providence. The philosophy allows that for any “natural phenomenon,” design or purpose may be used as an explanation (Webster’s 2350). A more familiar way of questioning if one believes the principle idea of teleology or not, is whether one believes in the idea of destiny or choice.
Teleology and non-teleology are interesting philosophies in that believers of either idea are not necessarily categorized as non-believers of the opposing philosophy. In fact, both teleological and non-teleological thinkers use ideas and theories from each other to strengthen their own beliefs. For example an object or a behavior is said to be teleo...

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