The Power of Meaning: The Quest for an Existential Roadmap

“The will to meaning” — a term coined by the influential Viennese psychiatrist Viktor Frankl — has long been recognized as a basic motivating drive of human behavior. Indeed, some 4,000 years ago the first great work of human literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh, chronicled its hero’s quest to discover how he should live knowing that he will inevitably die. And though our lives have been transformed in countless ways since that epic, the basic question still remains: Where can we turn to find the story of our lives, an existential roadmap that explains where we have come from, why we are here, and where we are headed? Must each of us discover meaning within the context of our individual lives, or are there universal sources of meaning that we can all access? Is there any relationship between living a meaningful life, and the quality of our health and well-being? And how can we find meaning in the face of adversity and suffering? Author Emily Esfahani Smith, neurologist Jay Lombard, and philosopher Michael Ruse join forces to shed light on these perennial questions from their respective disciplines.

This event is part of the The Will to Meaning: Seeking the “Why” of Our Existence series.

Moderated by journalist Steve Paulson, Executive Producer of Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge, this three-part series at the New York Academy of Sciences brings together leading scientists and scholars to explore meaning through the lens of scientific inquiry.

*Reception to follow

Presented by:











When: Tue., Oct. 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Where: New York Academy of Sciences
250 Greenwich St., 40th Floor
212-298-8600
Price: $15
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“The will to meaning” — a term coined by the influential Viennese psychiatrist Viktor Frankl — has long been recognized as a basic motivating drive of human behavior. Indeed, some 4,000 years ago the first great work of human literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh, chronicled its hero’s quest to discover how he should live knowing that he will inevitably die. And though our lives have been transformed in countless ways since that epic, the basic question still remains: Where can we turn to find the story of our lives, an existential roadmap that explains where we have come from, why we are here, and where we are headed? Must each of us discover meaning within the context of our individual lives, or are there universal sources of meaning that we can all access? Is there any relationship between living a meaningful life, and the quality of our health and well-being? And how can we find meaning in the face of adversity and suffering? Author Emily Esfahani Smith, neurologist Jay Lombard, and philosopher Michael Ruse join forces to shed light on these perennial questions from their respective disciplines.

This event is part of the The Will to Meaning: Seeking the “Why” of Our Existence series.

Moderated by journalist Steve Paulson, Executive Producer of Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge, this three-part series at the New York Academy of Sciences brings together leading scientists and scholars to explore meaning through the lens of scientific inquiry.

*Reception to follow

Presented by: