we asked 42 post- editors what the meaning of life is

their responses will shock you!

Much like that guy in the back of your philosophy class, we here at Post- have a lot of opinions on the questions that really matter. This week, we discuss the meaning of life. Here’s to a meaningful semester–look out for us every Thursday!–Monica Chin, Managing Editor of Features

CY: As part of an art project last year, a friend of mine installed a public phone in the Ratty. You were meant to pick up the phone and talk to a stranger. The phone on the other end would ring in a retirement home so college students could ask their most pressing questions about aging: “Do people get less irritating?”, “Which decade had the best music?”, “Do you still have sex?” When I tried the phone, nobody picked up. But if someone had, I would have asked those little questions. They have answers, and they might help me live my life.

YW: The Brown Daily Herald pays for two pizzas every week for the Post- Wednesday Production Night meeting. We, the Post- staff, typically choose two delicious pizzas: one vegetarian and one with meat for the sake of variety and for the sake of vegetables and for the sake of vegetarians. In past years, Post- ordered Cranberry Picnic (spinach, almonds, dried cranberries, feta, $19) and Fusiform Gyrus™ (signature inside out one-half & ½one-half BBQ-BUFFALO, $19) every week. But this year, we’ve started to branch out. We’ve tried La Strada. We’ve tried Margherita. We’ve tried Space Echo. We’ve tried Depth Charge. We’re branching out. We’re trying new things. We’re brave and we’re young and we only have so many free pizzas left.

AM: I don’t know about the meaning of life, but I’ve been told the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42. But I think I remember also that there was a computation error involved in that somewhere, and that the actual question was a multiplication table, and to be honest I read “Hitchhiker’s Guide” after an algebra final in ninth grade, so who knows anyway. Maybe the meaning of life is forgetting everything you ever learned and making the rest up as you go along. That sounds deep, right? I feel good about that. Damn, solved the mysteries of the universe. … What was the question?

LSS: I’m reading “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” which seems like an impressive thing to do if it weren’t incredibly short and filled with speeches about just how strong Gilgamesh and his bff Enkidu are. Gilgamesh is trying to cross over a literal and metaphorical ocean of death when, as Siduri, this woman who owns a vineyard and is ambiguously immortal, gives him a speech: Because human life is short, “What is best for us to do is now to sing and dance. Relish warm food and cool drinks. Cherish children to whom your love gives life … play joyfully with your chosen wife.” Who can argue with that? The meaning of life is probably, as countless philosophers and stoned undergrads have argued, “To smile upon simple pleasure in the leisure time of your short days.”

LRS: You could ask me this tomorrow and I would have a completely different answer, but this is what I’m going with for now: Life isn’t meaningful. But that’s fine. The point isn’t for everything to fit neatly into some lovely little narrative. The point is that life is messy and it’s not all good, but it’s not all bad either. And sometimes the things that seem the most meaningless are the most worthwhile parts of life.

MF: I am on the second season of “Teen Wolf,” and I can totally see where Stiles and Derek shippers are coming from. Even beyond the perfection of the tol/smol pairing, I am always here for the older broody muscle-bound dummy falling for the skinny cutie with a heart of gold. The swimming pool scene where Stiles clings to Derek’s paralyzed body for two hours so he doesn’t drown is the most romantic thing I’ve seen all week. Any pairing with the possibility of knotting is solid gold anyway.

AA: My mom absolutely hates when she asks me a question and I respond, “I don’t know”—but I always ask, would she rather I lie and say I know the answer when I really don’t? Usually she’s asking me about my plans or some detail of my life, which are valid things I should know the answer to. But honestly every day I feel like the number of things I know for sure goes down instead of up, which seems like the opposite of what college should be doing for me. Maybe being more okay with uncertainty is one of the things I’m supposed to be learning. Maybe not knowing the meaning of life … is the meaning of life??

Alternately, the meaning of life is definitely “Teen Wolf.”

MC: Meaning? Can we truly imbue meaning onto any entity other than that which each individual beholder imbues herself? Is it not deeply hubristic to claim to aggregate utility in such a manner? I need to stop reading Kant late at night.