Friday, April 16, 2010

The stranger

On my 45 minute commute to work each way, I've taken to listening to courses on tape. I like the teaching company. I did their American History course, Great ideas in psychology and now I'm doing Existentialism and the meaning of life.

The first couple lectures about existentialism are talking about Camus' The Stranger. In it, there's the phrase "I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe". (sometimes benign is translated as gentle). I think it's a delightful phrase and it ties into my philosophy on forecasting nature. At the end of the day, you just have to know to not take life too personally. I don't think it's a cynical quote, it's quite empowering actually.

A lot of the course so far talks about how the meaning of life is life itself. I'm not sure I understand this. Just try and substitute another word... The meaning of "shoe" is "shoe" itself?

There's also a lot of talking about being in the moment and how reflection and "meta-thought" can ruin an experience. Last night I saw a number of people experience a concert while making a movie of it on their iphones, just looking through the equivalent of a viewfinder the whole time. If you weren't "there" to begin with, I'm not sure what's the benefit of having a record of it later? Tom

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