Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Reading Tillich 8: Destiny and Meaning

To lose one's destiny is to lose the meaning of one's being. Destiny is not a meaningless fate. It is necessity united with meaning. The threat of possible meaninglessness is a social as well as an individual reality. There are periods in social life, as well as in personal life, during which this threat is especially acute. Our present situation is characterized by a profound and desperate feeling of meaninglessness. Individuals and groups have lost any faith they may have had in the destiny as well as any love of it.
Systematic Theology I, 201.
Meaning of life, for the individual as well as society, is found in context. As Tillich wrote in yesterday's quote, destiny is "the indefinitely broad basis of our centered selfhood". Life loses meaning when one is separated from one's environment, from one's "world". Meaning is found in communion. As I suggested in the beginning of this series, the meaninglessness is maybe not as acutely felt today as a few decades ago, but this is only because we have numbed ourselves with entertainment to a much deeper degree. At the same time the estrangement has just increased.

What does Tillich mean by "to love one's destiny"? It is to be united with one's personality, to be at home an responsible for oneself. There is a desperate need in our world for activities that help people to find such a love.

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