-

The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

archive

The meaning of life

Joey Kuhn | Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Taking up the torch from my illustrious forebears, I will now endeavor to set forth a theory of the meaning of life. Unlike them, however, I will reach my conclusion in only four hundred words, proving my superior intellect and defying the strictures of this column.

First hypothesis: life is for yourself. Model: a single, free-floating point. Epicurus and his follower Lucretius were proponents of the doctrine that the goal of life is to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. Seeking pleasure does not necessarily mean binge drinking, stuffing your face with McDonald’s, and smackin’ hoes every night; Lucretius admirably held knowledge to be the highest pleasure. Nevertheless, theory fails because it makes for a very cold, lonesome life.

Second hypothesis: life is for you and your soul mate. Model: two points attached by a line. Belief currently in vogue in certain circles of Hollywood and among writers of books about teenage vampires. Respectable and much cozier than the first theory, but many brains (Ovid, Augustine, Dante, Shakespeare, among others) have pointed out the fallacy of this path. Theory fails because two hopeless lovers become cut off from everyone and everything else, leading to disaster.

Third hypothesis: life is for everyone. Model: triangle. Belief that love must extend to all humans as well as God. Christian writers such as St. Bonaventure and St. Anselm reasoned that three is the smallest number of persons possible for a God who loves us. A one-person God would be wrapped up in Itself. A two-person God would be wrapped up in Its love between the two. When a third person is added, the love is opened up to extend outward, overflowing into everything. Evidence: a three-sided figure is the simplest polygon that can contain any area, i.e. that can encompass anything else. Furthermore, the number pi is built fundamentally into the fabric of the universe by means of circles, historically considered the most perfect and divine of shapes. Pi equals three (the three persons of God) plus an infinite decimal tail (the endless overflow of love from those three persons). Pi also sounds like pie (pizza or otherwise), a circular and arguably perfect food that can contain any other food as a topping and still taste amazing.

And so without further ado, here is the answer for which you have been seeking your entire life. The meaning of life is: pi.

Q.E.D.