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Exploring the Meaning of Life: A Look at the Themes and Personages of Philosophy and Religion - Essay Example

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Exploring the Meaning of Life: A Look at the Themes and Personages of Philosophy and Religion

Ambrosio in his discussions on the meaning of life (n.p.). Indeed, a monk’s definition of the meaning of life may be different from that of a farmer struggling to live through each day. Even I have a meaning for life that can be considered as rather different (although in some aspects similar) from the meanings of other authors, including Dr. Ambrosio. I believe that a meaningful life is one that is spent in attaining one’s innermost potential, only achieved through continuous learning. However, to be truly meaningful, this learning must be centered on a spiritual (not necessarily religious) core. Thus, in relation, this paper will attempt to expound on the aforementioned belief, in relation to the works of different authors who explored the various meanings of life. The work of Dr. Ambrosio will first be presented, followed by a discussion on the heroic citizen, and other accounts of Saul, Michelangelo, Marx, Frankl, and Simone Weil, in relation to my own meaning of life. The Hero and the Saint Dr. Ambrosio’s discussion of the meaning of life is among those that confirm the idea that one definition for the meaning of life cannot be applied to each and every individual in this earth. Still, in his discussions, one concept that most struck me was his metaphor of the hero and the saint. After listening to the lectures, I came to understand the difference between the two terms. This difference will be further expounded on in the following paragraphs of the paper. The characters of the hero and the saints were used as metaphors for the depictions of some of man’s historical wisdom traditions: the concept of the hero can be traced from the Greco-Roman culture of secular humanism, while the idea of the saint came from the philosophies of the theistic religions including Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. In their simplest meanings, heroes refer to the human capability to question, and the desire for adventure, which reflect humanity’s love for the question itself. On the other hand, the saint represents the contentment for life in its own, emphasizing the need to enjoy life as a gift, rather than question it, and waste time searching for a possibly non-existent answer (Ambrosio “Hero and Saint” n.p.). However, I do not believe that these metaphors are the ideal types of living meaningfully. Still, in some ways, Ambrosio’s hero closely represents my definition of a meaningful life – to continuously question and search for answers guarantees that I can continuously learn and develop as well. Although the concept of the saint has valid arguments, to be content with life and question the process of questioning (which can also be translated to the yearning for learning) can be rather absurd and almost goes against the purpose of humanity. Indeed, what separates man from animals and plants is his rationality – his ability to think and question. Nevertheless, a discussion of the heroic citizen, to be presented below, may help shed light to another connotation for a meaningful life. Heroic Citizen In relation to the concept of the hero, the Greek views on the heroic citizen differ a little from that of Ambrosio’s. In fact, the concept of the heroic citizen underwent such a diverse transition from that of the Greek Myth-o-poetic traditions, through the emergence of Greek tragic drama, to the late stoicism of the Roman imperialism (Ambrosio “Philosophy” n.p.). Indeed, in the days of the Greek civilization, heroic citizenship ...Show more


Several authors and artists have attempted to provide a universal description of the meaning of life. However, a person’s definition of a truly meaningful life can very well vary from the definitions of others around him/her…
Author : sluettgen
Exploring the Meaning of Life: A Look at the Themes and Personages of Philosophy and Religion essay example
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