You know how some people choose to do a unit study, exploring one topic from various disciplines instead of studying multiple subjects at once? Sometimes this happens accidentally and serendipitously outside of school. Over the past few weeks I’ve unintentionally done a unit study on the meaning of life and how it relates to disease, imprisonment, and death.
First, I read This Blinding Absence of Light.
Then, The Fault in Our Stars.
Last, a chapter on the meaning of life from Wisdom Without Answers: A Brief Introduction to Philosophy.
Maybe that makes me sound impressive, but in reality the first book was on display at my library, the second was handed to me by my sister, and the last was an assignment in a college course. All meshing together at once, miraculously, and loading my mind with both beautiful imagery and gaping questions on why we’re here and why we suffer.
A Blinding Absence of Light was a gut-wrenching novel based on a true account of a prisoner-of-war who was imprisoned in Morocco in the 1970s for 18 years in complete darkness.
Considerably more humorous but no less emotional, The Fault in Our Stars is a story about a terminal teenage cancer patient who falls in love with a boy she meets at her cancer support group.
I plan on reading the entire book of Wisdom Without Answers, because the brief chapter I read on the meaning of life (and how it is enjoying the process, and not the result) was lovely.
I haven’t come to any conclusions yet and I don’t think my study is over. However, I would strongly strongly strongly recommend the books I’ve mentioned. They have both provided a transcendent escape from everyday life and given me new perspectives in wrestling with the everyday. My iPhone and laptop tend to take over my reading time but I’m taking it back and it is worth it.