Futility of Life
Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow
creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, Out, brief candle
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
and then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury
Shakespeare, Macbeth V., v., 17.
If this century is remembered for anything, it will perhaps be for the speed with which we embrace things and then
let them go.
David Konigsberg in Us.
The central neurosis of our time is emptiness.
Clinics are crowded with people suffering from a new kind of neurosis, a sense of total and ultimate meaninglessness of life.
Bertrand Russell was born into a Christian home and taught to believe in God, but he rejected his training and became an
outspoken atheist. His daughter, Katherine Tait, said of him, "Somewhere at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul,
there was an empty space that once had been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it."
Cartoonist Ralph Barton, although successful and in demand, took his own life, leaving a note nearby that included these words, "I
am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day."
Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of
To give life meaning, one must have a purpose larger than one's self.
That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes
and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no
intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the
devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the
solar system, and the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a
universe in ruins-- all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly
certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.
Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation
henceforth be safely built...Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and
dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned
today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow
falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day;. . . proudly defiant of the
irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his knowledge . . . and his condemnation, to sustain
alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious
Mysticism and Logic, 1929.
Mark Twain expressed similar thoughts about the meaningless of life in view of man's inevitable death. Shortly before his
death, he wrote, "A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle;...they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble
for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; ...those they love are taken from them, and
the joy of life is turned to aching grief. It (the release) comes at last--the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them--
and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence,...a world which will lament them a day and forget