Tolstoy's Response To The Problem Of Death

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It’s what we all strive for in life; a meaningful existence. One question rings true while thinking about our meaning in life; does our eventual death negate our meaning of life? In an excerpt of Tolstoy’s, A Confession, he states “I could give no reasonable meaning to any single action, or to my whole life. I was only surprised that I could have avoided understanding this from the very beginning- it has been so long known to all. Today or tomorrow sickness and death will come (they had come already) to those I love or to me; nothing will remain but stench and worms. Sooner or later my affairs, whatever they may be, will be forgotten, and I shall not exist.” Tolstoy makes it clear that he personally believes that we are fogged by life itself …show more content…
These 4 responses further my belief that, assuming the annihilation thesis to be true, life is meaningless if absolute death is to follow. First, there is the response of Ignorance. According to the ignorance response, some people simply do not understand that life is meaningless. In Tolstoy’s A Confession, he states that “It consists in not knowing, not understanding, that life is an evil and an absurdity. People of this sort-chiefly women, or very young or very dull people- have not yet understood that question of life which presented itself to Schopenhauer, Solomon, and Buddha. They see neither the dragon that awaits them nor the mice gnawing the shrub by which they are hanging, and they lick the drops of honey. But they lick those drops of honey only for a while: something will turn their attention to the dragon and the mice, and there will be an end to their licking. From them I had nothing to learn-one cannot cease to know what one does know.” In this quote, Tolstoy is basically saying that some people do not see death, the dragon in this case, or the time leading up to death, the mice, and instead lick the sweet honey of life until their time of death comes. I personally think this response makes up the mindset of the majority of individuals today. Some people may argue that individuals may not understand that life is meaningless because life is actually quite meaningful. These same people may think that our purpose in life is to do good deeds, help those in need, and follow in the image and likeness of god. I personally believe that in the case that there is an afterlife, these people are justified in their beliefs, as I also believe the same things. In contrast, assuming the annihilation thesis to be true, there seems to be no point in doing good deeds in our lives. There would be no reward or eventual heaven to cherish for the rest of our existence, whether it be on earth or in

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