A.C. Grayling’s The Meaning of Things is the first major book to explore the question of what it means to be human in a world that has just seen its most momentous revolution since the invention of agriculture. It reveals how humans have sought for thousands of years to understand what it means to be human, but many have been prevented from doing so because they lacked access to the key ideas that enable us to make sense of our lives.
In this thoughtful and thought-provoking book, A C Grayling turns his gaze back to ancient Athens, where Socrates asked his contemporaries to question the meaning of their existence. Socrates famously said that the unconsidered life is not worth living. As the phrase suggests, the “considered life” is a life enriched by thinking about important things – values, aims, society, the enemies of human flourishing, and the meanings of life. To give thought to these matters is, as A C Grayling says, “like inspecting a map before a journey.”
In this rich and deeply engaging volume, renowned philosopher AC Grayling considers the meaning of life. He draws on his wide knowledge of philosophy and history to show us what we owe to one another, how we might be well governed, and why hope is an important part of living well. He also provides a powerful argument for why we should think about death – that is, about how we want to die.
The Meaning of Things presents fifty great books and the ideas within them, including The Republic by Plato, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Each book is carefully chosen to capture a moment in time representing a particular thought or argument, or to shed light on a defining period of history.
About The Meaning of Things Book
Socrates famously said that the unconsidered life is not worth living. As the phrase suggests, the “considered life” is a life enriched by thinking about important things – values, aims, society, the enemies of human flourishing, and the meanings of life. As A C Grayling says, giving thought to these matters is “like inspecting a map before a journey.”
This wise and illuminating book aims to give us “sketch maps” to life. In a series of linked commentaries on topics such as courage, sorrow, love, death, hope, betrayal, blame, religion, poverty and depression, A C Grayling give us not a continuous treatise but reflections on the daily life of the human condition He shows us through the rich history of philosophical thought that seeking to understand what life means and what it holds in store can be enlightening and uplifting.
This is a wonderfully stimulating book and an invaluable guide to what is truly important in living life, whether facing success, failure, passion, intolerance, love, loss or any other of life’s profound experiences.