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The problem of death and immortality in the context of the meaning of life
The topic of the meaning of life is currently one of the traditional for most humanitarian theories and practices, since it means identifying the underlying premises of the formation and development of the individual. Extensive acmeological experience has been accumulated by psychology, pedagogy, sociology, philosophy and other sciences in order to again and again confront a person with the problem of personal self-determination. As far back as the 18th century, the German philosopher I. Kant, in his anthropological theory, argued that each person must ask himself three questions, from the answers to which the meaning of his life is formed: “what can I know?”, “What can I hope for?” and "what should I do?" Until the 20th century, such a life-affirming position encouraged a person to be a Human being, with maximum responsibility to relate to the fate of his own being. However, the 20th century brought to European culture, along with the scientific and technological revolution, a state of anxiety, insecurity about tomorrow, fear for life and, ultimately, a sense of absurdity. The topic of the meaninglessness of human life was picked up and strengthened by existential philosophers J.-P. Sartre, M. Heidegger, A. Camus and others. First of all, they tried to “inspire” the idea that life is meaningless if it is finite. Then they debunked the myth of the appropriateness of “being a Man” in a volatile and unstable world that aspires to non-existence. And at present, existential philosophy appears as a doctrine of the “borderline states” of the personality in which the sensation of life is exacerbated and personal comprehension arises. Thus, existentialism reduced the problem of the meaning of life to one of the moments of our being, in which we can only understand that we exist.
In this study, I would like to criticize such a philosophical position and point out the possibility of another solution to the question of the meaning of finite human life. Firstly, it should be said that a person lives in several dimensions - natural, as a biological individual, and sociocultural, as a person. Accordingly, death must be considered in light of these two vectors of our lives. For an individual, death is a natural end to the life of an organism, the continuation of which - very conditionally - is possible in descendants (at the genetic level). For a person, death means a "transition" from one form of real existence to another form of social memory. In general, not a single person stops his life immediately after physical death; for some time he “remains” in the memory of his loved ones, in his work, in his teachings, etc.
Thus, sociality allows a person to become immortal for a while. The duration of this type of social immortality depends entirely on the person himself, who, with his whole life, should strive to overcome oblivion. Examples of social immortality are the many people who have made a personal contribution to the development of culture and society: historians, politicians, musicians, scientists, artists - all those whom we call “great”; they could become immortal, because they could become personalities with such a meaning of life that exceeded their individual life.
Secondly, continuing to criticize the position of existential philosophers who deny the existence of meaning in mortal human life, I would like to note the need for the boundaries of being. Human life has its natural limits from birth to death, and because of this, it has the dynamics of development. A man "walks" through life - from the past to the present and the future. Oddly enough, the end of the path not only determines the direction of the movement, it also determines the goal and integrity. In the most general sense, the end of any business is the achievement of a goal, the fulfillment of the meaning set at the beginning of the path. And what would happen if this goal were absent? Suppose a person has started a business, but he does not realize why he is doing this, what his ultimate goal is. Can such a person achieve a result? Probably not. It is impossible to achieve what was not in your forecasts and plans. But what about our personal life? Is she not the greatest Work for which we were born? Will she, devoid of a known and exact goal, still have meaning? Probably not. We cannot live aimlessly and at the same time have the meaning of life - this is absurdity. On the contrary, there is no absurdity if life "twists" around its core - the semantic center of personal existence.
Thus, the question of “what is the meaning of existence?” Is not idle or purely theoretical, philosophical. The presence of this question (and - preferably - the answer to it) indicates that your life is moving towards achieving a specific goal, which, under all other conditions, can ultimately lead to social immortality.
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The problem of death and immortality in the context of the meaning of life
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