Posts Tagged purpose
Rachel Mulvey’s post last week on the existential nature of continuing professional development has turned my thoughts once again to the concept of meaningfulness.
Partly inspired by Rachel’s idea, I have been writing an article for the Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling on the use of narrative techniques in reflective practice for guidance practitioners (I know, exciting stuff, huh?). As part of my research for this piece I came across an article by W.D. Joske on ‘Philosophy and the meaning of life’. Unlike many of the philosophy articles I’ve tried (and failed) to get to grips with, this was actually quite readable because Joske demonstrates a subtle, dry sense of humour in his writing.
…many people are afraid of philosophy precisely because they dread being forced to the horrifying conclusion that life is meaningless, so that human activities are ultimately insignificant, absurd and inconsequential
The world is neutral and cannot give meaning to men, If someone wants life to be meaningful he cannot discover that meaning but must provide it himself. How we go about giving meaning to life seems to depend upon the society we accept as our own; a Frenchman might leap into the dark, an American go to a psycho-analyst, and an Englishman cease asking embarrassing questions.
As well as being amusing, Joske is quite analytical and, in his attempt to explore meaning, he breaks down the meaninglessness of activities into four essential elements: worthlessness, pointlessness, triviality and futility.
Tristram Hooley who writes the blog Adventures in career development (and who also happens to be the Head of the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby) recently posted about a symposium that he was hosting. He wanted to develop a number of questions to get the discussion going. I liked his questions about guidance so much that I’m just quoting them here: