Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fulfilling Life

So, some people say that what is fulfilling or meaningful to one person isn't necessarily going to be fulfilling or meaningful to another and that, basically, whatever someone thinks is fulfilling or meaningful is fulfilling or meaningful. That is, we can't be mistaken in our beliefs about what is going to give our lives meaning or fulfillment.

Now, let me was philosophical for a bit. When we talk about life being "meaningful" or "fulfilling" we are talking about life in a particular way. That is, the way that we experience life and we experience life with our minds. So, a life is meaningful or fulfilling insofar as it is experienced so by the mind.

The experience of the body is positive or negative depending upon the health of the body, correct? People with healthier bodies have a more positive experience of their bodies than do those who have less healthy bodies (particularly as they grow older). Now, clearly, people's beliefs about what is going to lead to a healthy body is irrelevant to the question of what really is going to lead to a healthy body. That is, our beliefs about health can be correct or incorrect.

So, if this is true with regard to our bodies (because all human bodies are, essentially, the same) why wouldn't the same be true of our minds (since all human minds are, essentially, the same)? Why would we think that Brittany Spears view of what is going to make her life fulfilling is, in fact, going to make her life fulfilling? It seems pretty clear that people who think that their lives will be made fulfilling and meaningful by acquiring lots of things, having meaningless sex, taking lots of drugs are, in fact, mistaken about what is going to make their life fulfilling or meaningful and no matter how deeply they believe this is irrelevant to the truth of the matter.

I'm also fairly clear that serial rapists and child molesters are not, in fact, wise regardless of what anyone might think or the fact that they may unintentionally say something insightful. I don't think that this is simply my opinion but a judgment that is defensible and if one disagrees and says that all rapists and child molesters are wise they are simply mistaken insofar as it is inconceivable to me that they could produce an argument that uses the relevant words correctly and reaches their conclusion without making some sort of serious error.

Thoughts? Questions? Obvious errors in my thinking?

1 comment:

Stephen said...

I agree with your line of reasoning, provided that human minds are indeed as similar to each other as are human bodies. I think that people who would disagree with you would probably attempt to argue that human minds are not similar enough to validate your analogy, but they would seem to be arguing against the bulk of the psychological analysis that I have read. I would be interested to hear how your argument applies to the treatment of the mentally ill, specifically to minors whose parents must decide how to treat their illnesses.