Henry Woolf

What is the meaning of life?

Religious Affiliation: Jewish

Date Submitted: January 31, 2018

Date of Birth: January 20, 1930

The amazing advances of technology and scientific discovery in the modern era has enabled man to prolong life, to banish poverty (frequently a half-hearted exercise) and support the dogma that materialism, the Ascent of Man in material terms, is a sufficient demonstration of the meaning of life.  Nonsense.  The dull and stupid notion that we can discover meaning by getting richer and richer forever and ever gets us nowhere.  The precise descriptions of the meaning of life offered by the great religions have lost authority to-day probably because of their inability to deal with the new barbarism of modern man.  Auschwitz has reduced religion to a trembling old nanny telling us not to be naughty.

The human mind is not large enough to comprehend the totality of life in one formula but what it can do is accept the flashes of insight provided by the treasure house of the unconscious as expressed by the imagination in art and in dreams for example.  The unconscious mind has been largely set aside by the rationalists of to-day but its power to provide many layered insights which resonate in a way that has meaning not an enable to rational explanation is our best hope for achieving a perception of the meaning of life.