Friday, June 2, 2017

On Meaning Needing to be Knowable


For Albert Camus’ claim of life being “absurd” to be true, two premises must be the case.  First, that human beings (or some beings that exist) are born with an innate desire to have a known meaning in life.  Secondly, no such meaning existing.  The absurdity coming from the clear discrepancy of being created wanting something which does not exist.  The skeptic could claim that Camus is positing knowledge we lack and can never have.  Claiming that we cannot know if life has meaning or not, and what this potential meaning is that we have no way of knowing.  If whether or not life has meaning was not dependent on our knowing it (or are capable of knowing it) then the skeptics would be correct.  However, it seems to me that for life to have meaning it must be one that can be known, for a meaning that is unknowable is like a solution that is incomprehensible to the beings the solution applies to.
Imagine if you will faster than light travel, reversing time or teleportation, things that are theoretically possible but may never be accomplished by Man.  Though it may never be discovered because of other factors, the same way that a professional athlete does not break a record not from lack of athletic abilities but from other factors which prevented him (his mother’s illness for example) it is also possible that we will never discover these things because of a lacking in human intellect.  If this is the case, then the solution is non-existent.  There is an answer, but not a solution for humans just as there is not a solution to three chimpanzees in a room with all the instruments necessary to perform a open-heart transplant but the knowledge and skill of hand is not.  There is no solution for them because there is no possibility of accomplishing what is needed despite the fact that all the raw materials are present.

If a meaning to exist, it must be one that is knowable by the beings that it applies to.  The question then is, assuming an objective meaning hasn’t been discovered yet, is whether or not it is knowable but has yet to been discovered (like the vaccine of polio was yet to be discovered a hundred years ago) or is incapable of being grasped or conceived regardless of whether or not it exists (like time travel or faster than light travel may be).

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