By Ali Tabari

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Book of Religion & Empire

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It may be true that life will only have meaning for them if these conditions are met, but this does not establish that life will thus lack meaning unless these conditions are met. That is to say, it may be found significant by the vast majority of people, including most non-evasive and reflective people, when such conditions are met and it may be the case that everyone should find life meaningful under such conditions. It is not the case that there is some general formula in virtue of which we can say what the meaning of life is, but it still remains true that men can through their purposive activity give their lives meaning and indeed find meaning in life in the living of it.

In attempting to make such an articulation, the most crucial thing is not to wrestle with theological considerations about the contingency of the world or eternal life, but to articulate a comprehensive normative social and political philosophy in accordance with which we could set forth at least some of the conditions of a non-alienated life not simply for a privileged few but for mankind generally. We need to show in some general manner what such a life would look like and we need to attempt again, and with a reference to contemporary conditions, what Marx so profoundly attempted, namely, to set out the conditions that could transform our inegalitarian, unjust, vulgar and - as in countries such as South Africa and the United States - brutal capitalist societies into truly human societies.

46. , 'Paul Ricoeur's Phenomenology of Evil', International Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 4, December 1969, 572-589. 45 religious symbolism by its function, not by its intention. Phenomenology entertains the question of the truth of symbols in so far as the intention calls for fulfillment. For psycho-analysis the symbolism is an illusion and nothing more than it. Phenomenology of religion looks upon the symbols as expressing man's relation to the Sacred, for Freud they express the 'return of the repressed'.

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