Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Life of Meaning vs. Life of Happiness

On NBC's Heroes last night (an awesome show) one of the characters gave a speech about how it is impossible to live both a life of meaning and a life of happiness. His argument was that in order to live a life of happiness, you must be totally focused on the moment, but to live a life of meaning, you must obsess about the future and are forced to fret about the past. He then asked the aspiring politician who he was giving the speech to whether he wanted a life of meaning or one of happiness.

His answer? He wanted both, much like I do, and much like most people probably do. The Buddhist argument is that in order to achieve enlightenment, you must rid yourself of worldly desires. That would seem to exclude the possibility of living a life of meaning. I don't know what the answer to this quandary is, but I do know that Heroes is a stimulating experience and that that speech is an example of why watching select TV shows isn't as bad as many "intellectuals" stereotype it to be.