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Does life have meaning? Is it possible for life to be meaningful when the world is filled with suffering and when so much depends merely upon chance? Even if there is meaning, is there enough to justify living?
These questions are impossible to resolve. After all, few of us devote our lives fully to pursuits that are indisputably meaningful. Even if we are teachers, doctors, or social justice advocates, and the positive effects of our labor are daily evident, there are moments in which we face the mundane, the illogically cruel, and the tragic, which leave us to question the value of our lives. But even still, Iddo Landu argues, our lives are in fact meaningful- we've just been setting the bar too high for evaluating what meaning there is.
When it comes to meaning in life, Landau explains, we have let perfect become the enemy of the good. We have failed to find perfectly meaningful lives, and therefore have despaired of living lives devoid of meaning. We must attune ourselves to discovering and appreciating the meaning that abounds in our lives, and Landau shows us how to do that.
In this warmly written book, rich with examples from the author's life, film, literature, and history, Landau offers uplifting new theories and practical advice that awaken us to the meaning already present. He fearlessly confronts prevailing nihilist and religious ideas that undermine our existence, and the questions that dog us no matter what we believe. While exposing the weaknesses of ideas that lead many to despair, he builds a strong case for why it is imperative we have more hope. Along the way, he faces provocative questions: Would we choose to live forever if we could? Does death render life meaningless? If we examine it in the context of the whole universe, can we consider life meaningful? If we feel empty once we achieve our goals, and the pursuit of these goals is what gives us a sense of meaning, then what can we do? Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World will alter forever the way you understand your life.
Iddo Landau is Professor of Philosophy at Haifa University, Israel. He has published extensively on the meaning of life, and is the author of Is Philosophy Androcentric? (Penn State University Press, 2006).