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Publication Details

The Meaning of the Question of the Sense of Life

(Original title: Význam otázky o zmysle ľudského života)
Filozofia, 23 (1968), 5, 470-480.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
If people take thing for the starting point and aim of their endeavor, they set the sense of life outside life and they tehmselves become a thing among things. Therefore, to get out of this position, they have to turn things as well as themselves into their object. In other words, they have to interrupt the ucontrolled natural course of social life, to get out of the circle of the external determination and blind inevitableness in which they have been kept, and then, on this basis, the must turn towards themselves and have themselves as their own point of departure and aim. The way out of this captivity is practice. That is to say, the world of total determination of man by non-man is, in fact, an absolutization of the existing (world) against man and of the given against the future possible. Practice removes the absoluteness of these contradictions, sets their limits in motion and becomes the dividing line between them and, at the same time, their connection. It represents both the existing and the possibility of something else than it is; it is the measure of what exists and, therefore, also of what is to be; it is an active life which determines and realizes its sense. Thus, sense is a moment of practice and a dimension of practice and a revolutionary principle of real human life. As an inner element of life, it cannot be separated from life in an outer way, it cannot be transferred and conferred. Life which does not give itself sense and which does not have it in itself, does not have it at all. (The teleological concept of sense —e. g. Leibniz — or the sense following from natural inevitableness ' e. g. Voltaire — start from the same metaphysical basis and exclude the human sense.) Man is what he makes out of himself. The space of his self-realization is represented by possibility and the future (the real possibility of the future) in which he is certain of himself and has the sense of himself for himself.

(Summary compiled by the Editor)

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