A serious and original philosopher explores the purpose of your life.
'It is always lucid, and is at its heart remarkably simple. You could extract its essence and offer it to thirsty young atheists.' - New Yorker
Would Heaven be boring? Do you want to live forever? If this is all there is, what should we do with it? Join the Swedish philosopher Martin Hagglund on an original inquiry into the deepest questions of existence.
To truly embrace the freedom that life grants us, Hagglund argues, we must rid ourselves of two delusions. On the one hand, all the great religions try to persuade us that immortality is just around the corner. This is a not only a lie: it couldn't help us if it was true. In reality our time in this world is the only thing of value we can ever possess, and its value depends on the fact that we must fight to keep it. Yet capitalism, our other spiritual enemy, constantly beguiles us to steal it.
Via profound engagements with some of the greatest philosophers and theologians in history, including Aristotle, St Augustine, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Hegel and Marx, Hagglund takes aim at these two great adversaries, religion and capitalism, stripping away their many subtle illusions to return us to life itself in all its fragility.
The final lesson is this: existence is a collective project. Everything is at stake in what we do together, and nothing outside it matters. In illuminating this profound truth, This Life announces itself as the first great work of existentialist philosophy of the 21st century.
Martin Hagglund is Professor of Comparative Literature and Humanities at Yale University, and a member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. His first book in English, Radical Atheism (2008), was the subject of a conference at Cornell, a colloquium at Oxford, and a 250-page special issue of The New Centennial Review titled Living On: Of Martin Hagglund. His most recent book, Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov (2012), was hailed by the Los Angeles Review of Books as a 'revolutionary' achievement. In 2018, he received a Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in New York City.
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