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33

The problem of meaning

5
terms
3
notes

Eagleton, T. (2007). The problem of meaning. In Eagleton, T. The Meaning of Life. Oxford University Press, USA, pp. 33-55

(noun) pretentious inflated speech or writing

41

Like a bombastic speech, life appears to be meaningful but is actually vapid.

—p.41 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

Like a bombastic speech, life appears to be meaningful but is actually vapid.

—p.41 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

(noun) a literary term coined by Alexander Pope to describe to describe amusingly failed attempts at sublimity (an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous); adj is "bathetic"

42

What is amusing about Deep Thought’s ‘42’ is not just the bathos of it

—p.42 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

What is amusing about Deep Thought’s ‘42’ is not just the bathos of it

—p.42 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

relating to or denoting the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (noun or adj)

43

Marxists, for instance, are usually atheists, but they believe that human life, or what they would prefer to call ‘history’, has a meaning in the sense of displaying a significant pattern.

—p.43 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

Marxists, for instance, are usually atheists, but they believe that human life, or what they would prefer to call ‘history’, has a meaning in the sense of displaying a significant pattern.

—p.43 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago
45

Religious fundamentalism is the neurotic anxiety that without a Meaning of meanings, there is no meaning at all. It is simply the flip side of nihilism. Underlying this assumption is the house-of-cards view of life: flick away the one at the bottom, and the whole fragile structure comes fluttering down. Someone who thinks this way is simply the prisoner of a metaphor. In fact, a great many believers reject this view. No sensitive, intelligent religious believer imagines that non-believers are bound to be mired in total absurdity. Nor are they bound to believe that because there is a God, the meaning of life becomes luminously clear. On the contrary, some of those with religious faith believe that God’s presence makes the world more mysteriously unfathomable, not less. If he does have a purpose, it is remarkably impenetrable. God is not in that sense the answer to a problem. He tends to thicken things rather than render them self-evident.

—p.45 by Terry Eagleton 2 years, 2 months ago

Religious fundamentalism is the neurotic anxiety that without a Meaning of meanings, there is no meaning at all. It is simply the flip side of nihilism. Underlying this assumption is the house-of-cards view of life: flick away the one at the bottom, and the whole fragile structure comes fluttering down. Someone who thinks this way is simply the prisoner of a metaphor. In fact, a great many believers reject this view. No sensitive, intelligent religious believer imagines that non-believers are bound to be mired in total absurdity. Nor are they bound to believe that because there is a God, the meaning of life becomes luminously clear. On the contrary, some of those with religious faith believe that God’s presence makes the world more mysteriously unfathomable, not less. If he does have a purpose, it is remarkably impenetrable. God is not in that sense the answer to a problem. He tends to thicken things rather than render them self-evident.

—p.45 by Terry Eagleton 2 years, 2 months ago
47

We speak of the complex network of meanings of a Shakespeare play without always supposing that Shakespeare was holding these meanings in his head at the exact moment of writing the words down. How could any poet of such prodigal imaginative fertility keep in mind all the possible connotations of his meanings? To say ‘This is a possible meaning of the work’ is sometimes to say that this is what the work can be plausibly interpreted to mean. What the author actually ‘had in mind’ may be completely beyond recovery, even for himself. Many writers have had the experience of being shown patterns of meaning in their work which they did not mean to put there. And what of unconscious meanings, which are by definition not deliberately intended? ‘I really do think with my pen’, Wittgenstein observes, ‘because my head often knows nothing about what my hand is writing.

—p.47 by Terry Eagleton 2 years, 2 months ago

We speak of the complex network of meanings of a Shakespeare play without always supposing that Shakespeare was holding these meanings in his head at the exact moment of writing the words down. How could any poet of such prodigal imaginative fertility keep in mind all the possible connotations of his meanings? To say ‘This is a possible meaning of the work’ is sometimes to say that this is what the work can be plausibly interpreted to mean. What the author actually ‘had in mind’ may be completely beyond recovery, even for himself. Many writers have had the experience of being shown patterns of meaning in their work which they did not mean to put there. And what of unconscious meanings, which are by definition not deliberately intended? ‘I really do think with my pen’, Wittgenstein observes, ‘because my head often knows nothing about what my hand is writing.

—p.47 by Terry Eagleton 2 years, 2 months ago
53

To dig strenuously with its enormous shovel-paws is the business of its whole life; permanent night surrounds it … what does it attain by this course of life that is full of trouble and devoid of pleasure? Nourishment and procreation, that is, only the means for continuing and beginning again in the new individual the same melancholy course.

from _ The World as Will and Representation_. the shovel-pawed mole as an emblem for human enterprise

pretty metal

—p.53 by Arthur Schopenhauer 2 years, 2 months ago

To dig strenuously with its enormous shovel-paws is the business of its whole life; permanent night surrounds it … what does it attain by this course of life that is full of trouble and devoid of pleasure? Nourishment and procreation, that is, only the means for continuing and beginning again in the new individual the same melancholy course.

from _ The World as Will and Representation_. the shovel-pawed mole as an emblem for human enterprise

pretty metal

—p.53 by Arthur Schopenhauer 2 years, 2 months ago

(noun) a building or chamber in which bodies or bones are deposited

54

Only the obtusely self-deluded, confronted with the charnel house of history, could imagine otherwise.

—p.54 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

Only the obtusely self-deluded, confronted with the charnel house of history, could imagine otherwise.

—p.54 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

(noun) the act of renouncing or rejecting something; self-denial

55

Only the selflessness of aesthetic contemplation, along with a kind of Buddhist self-abnegation, can purge us of the astigmatism of wanting, and allow us to see the world for what it is.

—p.55 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

Only the selflessness of aesthetic contemplation, along with a kind of Buddhist self-abnegation, can purge us of the astigmatism of wanting, and allow us to see the world for what it is.

—p.55 by Terry Eagleton
notable
2 years, 2 months ago