Accepting Meaninglessness

In The Courage to Be, Paul Tillich writes (after page 148):

The act of accepting meaninglessness is in itself a meaningful act. It is an act of faith. We have seen that he who has the courage to affirm his being in spite of fate and guilt has not removed them. He remains threatened and hit by them. But he accepts his acceptance by the power of being-itself in which he participates and gives him the courage to take the anxieties of fate and guilt upon himself. The same is true of doubt and meaninglessness.

In other words, as Tillich points out earlier in the book, the three types of ontological anxiety—fate and death, guilt and condemnation, emptiness and meaninglessness—within man cannot be eliminated. It is part of being human. Courage faces anxiety by taking it upon itself. Tillich uses the words “by affirming ones being in spite of”. The courage to face fate takes it upon itself, but does not eliminate it. The courage to face guilt is the same; guilt is not eliminated. And same with the courage to face meaninglessness; it must take it upon itself but it does not eliminate it. “The act of accepting meaninglessness is in itself a meaningful act.” That is, “the negative lives from the positive it negates.”

There is more but it needs awhile to percolate.

None of this does not answer my original question directly, “What is the meaning?” I was afraid (Existential fear and despair?) that meaning did not even exist let alone have an answer. The direct answer does not seem so important now. I now have a way to connect it to the source of my courage to face meaninglessness.

Thank YOU! Kinda ironic that this is the feast day for Doubting Thomas…

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