Sunday, December 8, 2019

What is the meaning of life?

Grand Valley State University brought in a "Philosopher for Hire" to give the commencement speech.

Anthony Clifford Grayling: Philosopher for Hire
He was straight out of central casting and had an uncanny resemblance to Robin Williams in The Dead Poets Society. I suspect the resemblance was intentional.

The institution gives him the parameters of the speech and he assembles and delivers it.

He touched briefly on "The meaning of Life". He assured the audience and new graduates that history had already answered this question had already been answered. Simply, "It is whatever you wish to make of it."

From there, he eased into the necessity of being a good conversationalist. His commencement speech was light, airy, upbeat and short.

But, but, but....
Suppose 10% of the audience wished to make their life's purpose the extinction of some other race or religion?

To unequivocably state that the purpose of human life is "Whatever you wish to make of it." is to simultaneously buy into Rousseau's "Noble Savage", Adam Smith's "Invisible Guiding Hand" and that all truth and goodness is relative.

Ironically, Anthony Clifford Grayling grew up in what is now know in Zambia which is immediately north of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was site of some of the most ferocious genocide against Caucasians. Murdering a family being  the most efficient way to steal their property.

My gut feel is that Anthony Clifford Grayling knows all about that history and decided the purpose of his life is to be a different kind of mercenary: A Philosopher for Hire.


  1. The purpose of our existence in this world is to find our way back to God. That journey is what gives our lives true meaning. Ultimately, all else is vanity.

    1. I was leaning toward “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27


Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.