The Meaning Of Life In Leo Tolstoy's My Confession

728 Words3 Pages
When one asks the question: what is a meaningful life? one is looking for an answer that can adequately satisfy a set of desiderata, and a good answer will be one that if the characteristics of a meaningful life are taken away, then it will no longer be considered a meaningful life. I maintain that a moral life makes a meaningful life. Before diving into the questions that arise with meaningfulness of life, it is helpful to examine two extreme views on the meaning of life, namely, the religious view and the pessimistic view. The religious view holds that life is meaningful because it is related to some transcendent purpose, which varies depending on religious affiliations. Take theistic religions for example, life is created by deity for…show more content…
It acknowledges the existence of pleasures in life in the amount no less than that of pains. However, the pleasures are meant to achieve some further end, without which, life is meaningless. Leo Tolstoy expresses his confusion about the meaning of life in this regard. Tolstoy possessed pleasures derived from writing, success, fame, wealth, and interpersonal relationships. His life seems desirable and enjoyable judging by social standards held by most people, but he was still puzzled by the meaning in life as expressed in his writing of My Confession. Tolstoy seeks a further end for all that he has achieved to make life meaningful, considering the fact that all men must die in the end. Without some further end, it appears that not any life can be said to be more meaningful than another when life vanishes from the world, along with all the pleasures and…show more content…
One important feature of a meaningful life is that a certain value of interest makes one lifestyle better than another, and better than not living a life, too. This desideratum can be confirmed by applying it to the views above. The religious view holds that life is meaningful because for those with religious beliefs, behaving in the way the deity intends people to behave is better than going against the deity’s will. Because of the transcendent purpose of human life, it matters what kind of life one chooses to live. After all, not every lifestyle carries out the deity’s will successfully. For a religious agent, death does not invalidate whatever the agent has gone through in life. Rather, death makes possible the complete fulfillment of the purpose, for redemption happens after death. For a pessimist, life is meaningless because of the inevitable overload of sufferings. There is no way to eliminate human desires and hence alleviate pains. Thus, the pessimist concludes that life is better not lived. The in-between view does not hold life as completely undesirable in itself. Yet, it seeks some further end like a religious agent holds the transcendent purpose as a final end. This further end would make a certain way of life preferable to

More about The Meaning Of Life In Leo Tolstoy's My Confession

Open Document