Freud, Tolstoy, And The Meaning Of Life Essay

1224 Words Nov 28th, 2016 5 Pages
Freud, Tolstoy, and the Meaning of Life The idea of the self becomes more and more popular in the 20th century. With this idea comes the question of whether or not life has a meaning, and if so, what is the meaning? This question is attempted by many great thinkers of the time including Leo Tolstoy, Sigmund Freud, and C.S. Lewis. Each of these thinkers aim to understand the nature of the question and hopefully answer it. In particular, Freud and Tolstoy are very convincing in their arguments, but Tolstoy is able to take a step back and see the value of life in the mundane. Tolstoy and Lewis agree that there is meaning in life, while Freud claims there is no such thing. Throughout A Confession, Tolstoy recounts his journey to understanding. The first part consists of him attempting to find a meaning to life through reason alone, and he comes to the conclusion: “It is only possible to go on living while you are intoxicated with life; once sober it is impossible to not see that it is all a mere trick, and a stupid trick” (Tolstoy, 21). He reaches this point after his life comes to what he calls a standstill. During this point of his life Tolstoy has nearly everything one could want including money, family, and fame, but he is still unhappy when he considers that none of this will matter one day after he has passed away. He eventually manages to realize he has only been looking at life through the eyes of reason, and that one can only find meaning through faith and…

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