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The category of the meaning of life in Russian philosophy of the late XIX - early XX centuries

When you reflect on the problem of the meaning of life, it turns out, according to apt remark by L.N. Tolstoy, that this is not about exact knowledge at all, but about some kind of faith "some believe that life has no meaning, while others do not believe in it and, on the contrary, consider it to be full of meaning." It is supposed to be possible to trace how these alternative points of view develop in philosophical literature. The first category of representatives of philosophical knowledge, claiming that life is meaningless, and these are mainly Western philosophers, can be attributed, for example, to the German thinker of the mid-19th century A. Schopenhauer (1788-1860), the author of the work “Peace as Will and performance ", which calls life" the pendulum between boredom and suffering. " Another representative of philosophical thought, N. Hartmann, who wrote a work on pessimism, considered all happiness self-deception. There are only illusions of happiness, there are three of them: in the present, in the afterlife, and in progress. And therefore - "a dream without dreams is a relatively happy state, for this is the only case of a complete absence of suffering." The so-called earthly goods — health, youth, freedom, wealth — are only conditions of the zero point of sensation. Hartmann sees in life the madness of desire and the misery of being. The serenity of nothingness is the highest bliss.

One of the few atheists who dared to bring their denial of God truly to their logical end was another philosopher who lived in the 19th century, F. Nietzsche. He claimed that man came out of nothingness and went there along with his miserable civilization and planet. Naturally, Nietzsche rejected all the moral principles of Christianity, for the law of nature is the triumph of the fittest.

In the 20th century, the discord between the atheistic worldview and the thirst for ideal was especially pronounced among the French existentialist philosopher A. Camus. Insisting on the absurdity of being, he nonetheless sought to rely even on the moral will of man. Other atheistic existentialists argued that the “absurdity” of the world comes to light when it collides with the human “I”, which, like a lonely exile, searches in vain for meaning and longs for higher harmony. But where does this quest and this thirst come from? “God is created by people” - this is their usual statement.

Such a prominent representative of Christian existentialism as N. A. Berdyaev, however, like other representatives of the Russian philosophical school of the late XIX - early XX centuries: E.N. Trubetskoy, S.L. Frank, S. Bulgakov, B.P. Vysheslavtseva, L.N. Tolstoy. Let us dwell on the analysis of their views.

ON THE. Berdyaev argued that philosophy is the search for the meaning of life, and religion is its realization. What does Russian philosophy tell us about the meaning of life?

I. It is pointless to seek the meaning of life only within the framework of biological existence. The first thing that manifests itself in man’s search for meaning - the purpose of life, is “cruel suffering from the nonsense surrounding us,” argued E.N. Trubetskoy. The meaning that we seek in everyday experience is not given to us and is not revealed to us; all this everyday experience testifies to the opposite - to meaninglessness.

II. Each person in one way or another determines his attitude to the question of the search for and the existence of a meaning in life. Everyone, in one way or another, seeks the meaning of the beautiful, vital, eternal, accessible to everyone. And it is not surprising that we will soon be disappointed in the answers to the question about the meaning of life offered to us by various philosophical movements:

. Proponents of hedonism (Greek “hedone” - “pleasure”) declare: “We will eat and drink, because we will die tomorrow!” But are not all the pleasures and pleasures of this world already and now causing feelings of satiety, boredom, loss of the very desire to live?

. Supporters of eudaimonism tell us that the meaning of life is good (Greek “eudemony” - “happiness, prosperity”). But what is it? Where is the good that would satisfy every person?

. Preachers of Utilitarianism (Greek
“Utilities” - “benefits”) see the meaning of life in achieving benefits. But what is this benefit - absolute, eternal, accessible to everyone?

. The followers of materialism, recognizing only visible, tangible matter, denying the nature of spirit, eternity, lead us to a dead end, to a dull wall of despair, hopelessness, aimlessness.

In relation to life orientations, the Russian religious thinker of the beginning of the 20th century, Professor V.F. Marcinkowski identified 4 groups of people:

1) This group of people tries not to think about the “damned question” of the meaning of life. Their only desire is to get away from a boring insoluble thought, to be forgotten by one means or another (drugs, alcohol, etc.). In the drama by Londreev, “Days of Our Lives,” Moscow students are depicted, who belong to a group of “intoxicated” people. They stupefy themselves with alcohol and materialistic ideology, which is expressed in the words of their song: "You die, you will bury, as you did not live in the world." But here comes the hour of awakening in their life. At the end of the drama, student Olya, looking back at her broken, frivolously spent life, exclaims: “I feel sorry for my youth, my beauty!” And the hero of the drama, student Glukhovtsev, dropped his head on the table, sobbing silently.

2) People from the second group - those who remake life in external ways - either through reforms or violent measures, coups, through evolution and revolutions. They do not see the meaning in life as it is, and they strive to prescribe, give and even impose on it their fictitious, contrived, and sometimes rational, meaning. “In Moscow, during the years of the revolution,” writes Martsinkovsky, “I asked her fighters:“ Why does a person live? ” “To fight!” - answered me. “Why fight?” - "For life!"".

3) The third group includes people who, desperate in search of the true meaning of life, die.

4) The fourth group is people who have found the meaning of life. “They started by stopping looking for it in themselves, in the dark, meaningless life of everyday experience, for it is the same as looking for light in a dark cellar. They found meaningful life, or, what’s the same, found Living Sense, accepted Him and followed Him. ”

According to Marcinkowski, people belonging to the first three categories are those who are trying to look for the meaning of life in the field of everyday psychological, and despair pushes them to certain actions, directs this or that behavior.

III. What conclusion do the representatives of Russian philosophy of the late XIX - early XX centuries draw, pointing to the pointlessness of the search for life goals within the framework of only biological or only psychophysiological human life? What can be opposed to this?

In one of his works ON. Berdyaev answers this question: “I opposed the search for truth and meaning in the ordinary, senseless reality. It was a turn to the spirit and an appeal to spirituality. " The living life of the spirit is that integral that illuminates the life of the soul and body, fills being with meaning.

Russian religious philosophy argues with a materialistic understanding of the meaning of life, which is expressed in the following postulates:

. the meaning of life lies in the very fact of life, a person lives in order to live;

. the meaning of life is somewhere in life itself, lies in something earthly;

. the meaning of life is realized in the process of life, but not as the highest goal, which it is desirable to achieve, but as the path that should be followed.

Russian religious philosophy has identified several criteria by which we can judge whether a person has a meaning in life. These are: 1) attitude to time and consideration of the dichotomy “life is death”; 2) the hierarchy of goals and values; 3) the fullness, integrity of the life of a person who has found and realizes the meaning of life.

Thinking about life and its sought-after meaning, a person must inevitably be aware of life as a whole. He seeks what can be called satisfaction, the filling of our spiritual emptiness; man strives precisely for a meaningful, objectively complete, self-sufficient valuable life.
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The category of the meaning of life in Russian philosophy of the late XIX - early XX centuries

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