Owen C. Middleton (convict 79206) and the Meaning of Life

In 1930 the historian and philosopher Will Durant—who was at that time a famous public intellectual—received a number of letters from persons declaring their intent to commit suicide. The letters asked him for reasons to go on living. In response Durant asked a number of luminaries for their views on the meaning of life, publishing … Continue reading Owen C. Middleton (convict 79206) and the Meaning of Life

Tolstoy: “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”

Leo Tolstoy’s short novel, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, provides a great introduction to understanding the connection between death and the meaning of life. It tells the story of a forty-five-year-old lawyer who is self-interested, opportunistic, and busy with mundane affairs. He has never considered his own death until disease strikes.