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This review is from: What's it All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (Hardcover)
So what's it all about? Think you know the answer? Well if you do or if you fancy a philosophical approach to this intriguing question this is the book for you.
Baggini begins by trying to make sense of this very thought provoking question - a sort of what's the meaning of the question itself before going anywhere near an attempt to look for answers. This ensures that the question itself is probably understood and it is a clear, logical approach to take. There's never any point trying to answer a question you don't understand or doesn't make sense.
He then looks at some popular answers: belief in God, altruism, the greater good, happiness, success, loosing yourself through transcedence, carpe diem. In each case he shows that after some close examination that each respective answer is flawed. He does this by working his way through the respective answers in detail and then poking holes thus showing that things that seem to make sense just don't add up when examined. His writing is clear and succint. No philosophical creditials are required from ther reader. Just an open mind and a willingness to question.
What becomes apparent is that maybe our brains are just incapable of answering the 'meaning of life' question. Maybe it's just part of human nature to seek meaning and purpose when in fact there might just be none. Many answers, each with their own unique appeal, wow factor and catchy jargon, may have popular appeal but after some logical anaylsis, they come across as no more than visceral notions, which don't really make much sense and seem to have only manifested to appease a question that we long to answer but simply cannot answer. So our we fools for thinking about life so simply? Well that's perhaps a bit harsh but what's clear is that answers which may seem appropriate aren't. Is that such a bad thing? No. There's no great tradegy in discovering flaws in our beliefs for it just means we have to reflect, mature and try to face reality for what it really is rather than what we wish it to be. By then adjusting our lofty notions, presumptions and expectations we can seek and find real meaning through an honest and objective views of ourselves and our lives.