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What Is Life? Essay, Research Paper

What is life? This question perplexes even the most philosophical thinkers because the idea is incredibly difficult to grasp. The sheer number of different perspectives and the vagueness of the whole subject also contribute to this quandary. One of the more comprehensible ones is —_____ s idea; life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards . According to him, one can only reflect on his past experiences in order to progress in life, yet he is to disregard to some extent his past and live forwards. But this is only true to a certain degree. The belief holds true until one becomes fixated on his past or disregards it completely which can actually be insidious.

Should one live his life forwards and try to understand it backwards? The critics of this idea don t think so. They argue that if one becomes fixated on his past experiences and understanding his life backwards , it will actually becomes insidious to him. On the other hand, if one completely disregards his past by only living his life forwards, he s destined for failure also.

Take the characters in the novel Ordinary People for instance; Calvin, father of Conrad who attempted suicide was very much trying to understand life backwards. His fixation on the past literally cost him his marriage to Beth. Calvin was so obsessed with past experiences that he constantly talked about it without even noticing it. He was trying to figure out why things turned out the way it did and understand life backwards. Eventually, Beth could no longer take this and left the family. In this case, Calvin was so fixated on understanding life backwards that it interfered with living life forwards. But Beth on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Calvin. She tried to fully neglect the past, and solely concentrating on living her life forwards. She refuses to talk and analyze about the past and only wants to concentrate on the present and the future. In this case, she has very much disregarded her past by trying to live and understand life forwards.

_______ believes that life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards. This idea is logical because in order to progress as an individual, one must look back on his past and learn from previous experiences. After all, it s what is in the past that makes up who one is. If one does not view his life in retrospect, analyze his previous experiences and learn from it, he will not ever develop in the right direction. Yet he must live forwards and not let his past hinder his progression.

Perhaps one should live his life forwards and attempt to understand it backwards. But there is a very delicate balance between the two.


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