I exist. (Prelude to the meaning of life)

Those who actually count such things would tell you that there are a mere 7 days of classes left in the school year.  This is a time of decidedly mixed emotions for me.  I reflect back on the past 10 months and recreate in my memory everything that went right and everything that went wrong, and I also look ahead to the next school year with new ideas and inspirations about what I want to do in my classes.  I’m picking up two new courses next year that I haven’t taught in a long time: English 9 and Comparative Civilizations 12.

I suspect it’s for this reason that I’ve been thinking a lot about no less a topic than the meaning of life.  Consider this a mere prelude post to a larger treatment on the topic that I’m working on to be released over the next few weeks.  For now, I think the following poem by Stephen Crane is well worth the price of admission.  It’s one of my all-time favorites and it’s a wonderful way to start the conversation with next year’s English 9 students about our place in the universe:

Crane 2
Intriguing.  Let me leave you with a few questions to think about:
1. When people use the phrase “the meaning of life”, what is it they are referring to?
2. If life were meaningless, what would that mean? Would it be a horrible thing?
3. Is there a difference between saying “the meaning of life” and saying “a meaning of life”? Is the difference an important one?