Excellence Reporter: Dr. Tavris, what is the meaning of life?
Carol Tavris: The meaning of life is that we humans can ask what the meaning of life is, and get the charming assortment of witty, smart, entertaining, silly, creative, and provocative answers assembled here.
Evolution has given us our large, preposterous brain and the consciousness to ask questions about everything from “what’s for dinner?” to “what is consciousness, anyway?” Asking questions is what humans do for a living—and we do it because we live.
From the standpoint of human consciousness, we seek the meaning of life because we die, just as we find special meaning in poetry because of prose. But from evolution’s standpoint, the meaning of life is grandly, simply, assuring that life itself is reproduced.
~Carol Tavris is a social psychologist, writer, and lecturer. Her notable books include Anger: The misunderstood emotion; The Mismeasure of Woman; Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) (with Elliot Aronson); and Estrogen Matters (with Avrum Bluming). Carol has written hundreds of articles and reviews on a wide array of topics in psychological science, and contributes a column, “The Gadfly,” for Skeptic magazine. A Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, she has received numerous awards for her efforts to promote science and skepticism, critical thinking and gender equity.
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